Apollo & Dionysus
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Schaubühne – found in Mitte

「完訳 東方見聞録 2」 マルコ・ポーロ 平凡社 読了。

Vito Acconci, Seedbed, 1972
Renaud jerez

Simon Denny


Simon Denny’s new body of work for Portikus ranks among the most ambitious the artist has developed to date. Over the period of one year, the artist researched and developed an intricate project that has grown to considerable dimensions – both physically and in terms of its critical content. For two months, the monumental gallery space is turned into an homage to technology, communication, and the relentless need for innovation. Simon Denny has produced an embracing and multi-faceted installation that functions as a documentary of the South Korean technology giant Samsung and its global success story. The exhibition’s title, “New Management”, refers to the legendary management philosophy that Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of the Samsung Group, infamously introduced in the early nineties. “The New Management” principle was first proclaimed in 1993 at a high-level executive meeting at the Kempinski Hotel Frankfurt Gravenbruch near Frankfurt am Main International Airport. Lee flew in his entire top management from around the world for a three-day conference, emphasizing the need to globalize and preparing his employees for a new philosophy of change he was going to introduce in order to turn Samsung into a global market leader in all its sectors. This seminal meeting became known within the company as the “Frankfurt Declaration”. 

While the market success of Samsung that Simon Denny retells is well-known, recontextualizing it in this way highlights its currency and raises questions about globalization, economic dominance, nationalistic aspiration, and expansion. “Change everything but your spouse and kids” and “Change begins with me”, slogans coined by Lee Kun-hee that can be found on Denny’s sculptural elements, have become directly associated with the idea of success in South Korean corporate culture.
“New Management”, refers to a meeting of executives and investors that Samsung held in Frankfurt in 1993. What was it about this event that made it a subject for your exhibition?
The “Frankfurt Declaration” as it is referred to within Samsung, is in a way the origin story of their mobile and TV production dominance of today. Samsung are the “biggest electronics company by sales” [FT] on the planet. Their hardware is inside many of the most used devices we all rely on, including other brands such as Apple. Samsung products are everywhere today—most present in our mobile devices. These objects clearly have a huge cultural impact and to know the philosophy that they developed from is some way to start figuring out what these objects are.
You lived in Frankfurt for two years as a student at the Städelschule. Does the city also have a bearing within this story?
The “Declaration” and the “New Management” philosophy was the moment when Samsung entirely changed its strategy and the internal culture of the company pivoted away from one that was dominant in many markets in South Korea but much less significant globally. Lee Kun Hee, the chairman of Samsung, introduced a complex cultural ethos that paved the way for this total global takeover. There are many significant things that come into focus when you look at this event. There’s the symbolic use of a “foreign” city like Frankfurt to indicate a more “international” orientation, and a signal for a huge territorial expansion—in a way the “Declaration” acts as a declaration of economic war, and the material that came out of the three day presentation is rich with imagery that suggests just this. It’s a South Korean giant coming to a city that could be seen as a gateway to the west—with the European Central Bank, and the massive airport, and declaring a beautiful, euphoric dream of expansion that is also a dream for political and economic assertion that is ruthlessly competitive and strongly nationalist.
The Portikus presentation is the outcome of me imagining this space without having seen it. I have had the painting repainted, I have made an interpretation of the table—complete with a printed swivel chair, but I have also tried to augment this with other imagined items. The major centrepiece that holds the painting and the table is sandwiched between two plexiglass walls that have decorated Samsung air conditioning units mounted on them. These units will be running, pulling in the air from the room and distributing it out again, generating condensation that gathers in pipes as water. The boxy air conditioning units will have excerpts from the philosophy on them—famous pull quotes, less famous excerpts and drawings from the comics with be printed on them. There will also be key hardware triumphs from the last 20 years of Samsung on display and a number of timelines relating to the company taken from different sources. All of these will follow a logic of “international” corporate display: the language will be English, the physicality clean and clear.
Apart from the world’s business media, the Samsung employees were obviously the primary audience for the Frankfurt address which leads me to thinking about the way in which this event and its legacy operates within a workforce… Did the corporate philosophy also inspire a methodology or approach?
Yes. I have tried to follow a “global” process for production also—employing several translators, illustrators and producers to help research, visualise and fabricate my imagined “Frankfurt Room”—a loose work- force that spanned continents,—Europe (Halle), Africa (Egypt & Tunisia), Asia (India, China and Korea). In so much as these global practices mirror the production networks of a truly global company, this process stays in the foreground of the exhibition.
- Simon Denny “New Management” at Portikus, Frankfurt (Interview by Michelle Cotton)

Mies van der Rohe, Tugendhat House, 1928-1930
Permit city