In times of lockdown, contact restrictions and border closings, collectors Leo Kuelbs (NYC / Berlin) and Dirk Lehr (Berlin) decided to dedicate a 3D online exhibition to the topic of loneliness, isolation and social distancing. Under the title “Me, Myself and I” works by Kim Dreyer, Rowena Dring, Andreas Gefeller, Jan Holthoff, Birgit Jensen, Maria Naidyonova, Sean Smuda, Iva Vachlev, Tamas Veszi and Christopher Winter are shown.
Me, Myself & I refers to the same song by Hip-Hop band De La Soul. This is a typical, playful engagement of Dirk and Leo, who like to appropriate pop songs for exhibitions. Initially being introduced by an artist common to their collections, their joining of forces started in April 2019, when Leo invited Dirk for a collaborative exhibition at his Berlin space. They titled the show Frühling in Paris (Springtime in Paris) – a song by German Punk-Rock icon Nina Hagen. As a vice versa match, Dirk invited Leo for a joint show at his Berlin space in November 2019. It was called Our Darkness – a song by Anne Clark.
As separate entities, often on different continents, both have been involved with various activities in the art world, including presenting and curating shows, collecting and supporting artists for several years. In times of pandemic lockdown, they wanted to do an exhibition which anybody with a computer and internet could visit, no matter where they are locked in. Their collecting focuses are very different – Leo follows new media formats like film, digital art and moving pictures, whereas Dirk pursues contemporary painting. Despite this difference, they find it even more interesting and curious to collaborate in exhibitions.
Since 2015 in NYC, Leo is head curator of an impressive ongoing format, Light Year, which activates the Manhattan Bridge. Every first Thursday of the month as a group show, video artworks are selected and projected onto the bridge. The project connects viewers to a global selection of contemporary video and technology-based work. Leo has now invited Dirk to co-curate one of these nights.
As the Leo Kuelbs Collection is new on IC, Leo shared with us:
“For me, it is gratifying to discuss and develop a method of presenting work that isn’t so commercially-based. Instead we are presenting shows from the collectors’ perspectives and that brings an element of “fun” back into the mix. It’s been about recapturing the joy that powered my interest in art in the first place, instead of trying to sell a friend a painting done by another friend. When the sales element is lessened, the void is filled with something more positive—or that is the hope. So the goal is to approach the collecting passion in a fresh way, have enjoyable intellectual discussions with a peer coming from a totally different direction, and support creators we believe in.
I was not initially interested in the online idea. But once we looked into some more, I found it to be surprisingly practical. All the costs associated with a gallery show are removed and viewers from all over the world can interact with the work from our combined platforms. Of course, it is not a replacement for a gallery show, but it is a very useful tool with a lot of upside yet to be explored.”
This Online Exhibition of Me, Myself And I presents artwork images in the show hosted on Kunstmatrix, as well as this link which will take you to the 3D space. There you can navigate through upon your own exploration, or take a guided tour to be led through the space. We also suggest to listen to Me, Myself and I during your viewing!