- Fareed Armaly
In 1989 the American artist Fareed Armaly relocated from New York to Cologne to play a formative role in the early years of both the artists’ scene and Galerie Christian Nagel. The relationship between Galerie Nagel and the artists had a communal, eclectic spirit that quickly gained a media presence, often summed up by the term “family.” For his 1992 exhibition "Contact," Armaly performed a conversion of Galerie Nagel that began by exploring its intertwined constructs of “family” and “gallery.” Armaly’s space is conceived as scripted communication points between social rituals, media, and architecture. Contact redesigns Galerie Christian Nagel as a discursive assemblage of info- and behavioral design, and video-viewing/reading areas. These center on his Public Furniture with its publication featuring research material as a programming guide. “Family” is set in contact with, and as, the community, culture, and nation, through the collectivity of watching television. Armaly references seventies’ German TV that called the “family” into question. Focusing on Cologne WDR TV, Armaly reflects on a seventies’ new genre of Arbeiterfilme (proletarian movies) through one anomaly, R.W. Fassbinder’s (still) rarely shown "Eight Hours Are Not a Day." This 1972 family drama series about a Cologne working class family conveys a “synthetic” character and a stated intention to “occupy the bourgeois genre.” Armaly pairs this with the 1972 Eurovision family game show spectacle "Wünsch dir Was" (Make a Wish, 1969—72), in which three families, one from each coproducing German-language nation, compete against each other before the countries then vote a winner. The attraction was the games’ aim at “harmony” but may instead reveal (to those at home) transgressive desires and shifting societal values. "Contact’s" examples of televisual pasts inform Armaly’s 1992 section with contemporary TV courtroom artist Cony Theis. As both camera witness and artist, she embodies a threshold between courtroom and home-viewing audience, a nineties’ sense of critical mediation and a seventies’ critical ideal of transparency.