OK (Untitled Action)

Stefan Bruggemann
Surface Tensions 2020  – Part 2: ‘Contra Culture’
26 May 2020
Site-specific façade Installation
#surfacetensions2020 #sitespecificinstallation #artunderlockdown #ST20
‘OK’ (untitled action) is a public-facing, monumental façade installation produced under the first national COVID19 lockdown in 2020. At a time when galleries and museums alike faced unprecedented challenges in presenting arts and culture to the public, forced by COVID19 and rules of social distancing to retreat indoors and turn to the digital, CT20 felt ever more urgent to turn these extraordinary times into a bold and defiant physical gesture.

The entire frontage of CT20 has been turned into a monolith – its shutters drawn and windows blocked, completely and painstakingly gilded in gold-leaf, on top of which is inscribed with – in a gesture wielding a fire extinguisher, thick lashings of black paint and with excess dripping down in black lines from the bold calligraphic strokes – the word ‘OK’ scrawled over the gold surface, gleaming and staring back at the on-lookers.

‘’OK’ (Untitled Action)’ deliberately provokes by juxtaposing elements that convey meaning through a heightened sense of drama and tension. Gold leaf, historically reserved for those artworks intended to convey spiritual or indeed economic power, is here a canvas for an unceremonious and immediate form of expression. Bruggëmann, in an unapologetically punk-esque manner – simply spells out ‘OK’ over the top; the precise and minimalist abstraction of the adjective – is it a sigh of resignation, an ironic text message, a telegram of hope, a signal of universal feeling of helplessness?

Simply walk past the building exterior at 73 Tontine St, Folkestone, CT20 1JR to experience the power of Bruggëmann’s ‘OK’ Untitled Action.

Gallery Image Credits:
[1, 3-5]: Nina Shen-Poblete
[2]: Theirry Bal

Born in Mexico City, Stefan Bruggëmann’s work associates a conceptual practice with a raw attitude and criticism that simultaneously calls into question his own approach while it reflects on the present societal context. The artist works principally with text, using the materials of vinyl and neon lights, he explores a wide array of mediums, ranging from video, to painting and drawing. His work draws their meaning from a strange combination of philosophical concepts and popular imagery, often inspired by punk ideals and attitudes (nonconformism, provocation, and cynicism), which emerge from tautological expressions. They rely on a certain self-contained logic, but also point to the context in which they were conceived and the goal of eventually inserting a pop sensibility into certain conceptual practices.
Surface Tensions 2020 presents art that is deeply immersed in the traumas, struggles and violence of our time, from the perspectives of those on the margins, subverting established powers and narratives in a collective act of creative resistance, and questioning our relationships to Western identity and nationalism.

ST20 Part II: ‘Contra Culture’ – Site-specific Installation – Emerging from the plight of involuntary isolation, ST20 Part 2 presents a series of ambitious site-specific installations by international artists: Bobbi Cameron, Ned Pooler, Stefan Bruggëmann and Jaša. Together they subvert established powers & narratives by deliberately imitating, appropriating and mirroring existing conditions, juxtaposing them through a kaleidoscope of lived experiences.

Constructing a locus of instability and finding fortitude in the perpetual struggle between the inner and outer worlds, ’Contra Culture’ goes against the grain and defies the reactionary logic that exploits uncertainty and anxiety. Navigating the darker recesses of the human psyche against the bifurcating psychosis that permeates the global brain, when art is turning digital, it celebrates physical and material expressions as counterintuitive forms of resistance.

Surface Tensions 2020 is curated by Nina Shen-Poblete and Tomas Poblete, produced by CT20.

The project is kindly supported by Arts Council England, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone.

Will it be OK? Mexican artist spray paints giant message on gilded building in southeast England’ by Louisa Buck for The Art Newspaper.

Artist Stefan Brüggemann unveils a new public artwork: OK (Untitled Action)‘ by Mark Westall for FAD Magazine

New public artwork, titled ‘OK’ (Untitled Action), appears in Tontine Street, Folkestone’ – Stefan Bruggëmann’s installation featured by local news outlet Kent Online.