The personality of Dieter Hoeness was and is in many ways opposite to that of NUL.|
Prior to the huge success of the 2005 NEU exhibition, he was less known for his actual work than for the extreme radicality of his views. His various pronouncements, and the regular production of Pamphlet-Manifestos such as The Moral Improvement of Foodstuffs by means of Genetic Engineering, The Rectification of Poetry through Waveform Compression, and especially Cruel to be Kind: On the Punishment of Water led to his being branded by left- and right-wing press alike as "unstable" and "a dangerous lunatic".
|In particular, his obsession with asserting the solidity of apparently fluid substances prompted an inquiry on German national television. During the course of his interview for the program, he railed incessantly against (among other things) "the old [unspecified] lies", "those who deny the rigidity of nitrogen", "those colours whose wavelengths are mathematically flaccid", "the acoustic guitar", "things which appear to grow", "things which appear to change position or to quiver", the "ambivalence" of foodstuffs, and the hated presence of "hiatuses or openings in the Functional-Isolator" (a term coined by himself - "to replace completely a discredited concept" - and seeming to translate most precisely as 'apartment').|
(After "many years of struggle" Hoeness abandoned all attempts to clean or tidy his own house, and in particular the bedroom, since "the possibilities for order in the sleeping-space are insuperably finite." Instead, insisting that "no work of merit may be accomplished within a physically flaccid space" he took to writing seated in the sink, and obtained, in order to justify this stance to the casual observer, computer representations of the chromium ion.)|
Never forgetful of the German art tradition, he completed in 2006 an installation work inspired by Joseph Beuys' fur-covered piano - featuring simply what appeared to be a digital tape machine almost entirely coated in velcro. Unlike the "indulgent" conceptual artists whom he despised, Hoeness refused outright to speak about the work, stating merely that he had "avoided the pitfalls [into which Beuys had] fallen".
(It seems to have been a constant source of annoyance to Hoeness that his work was "continually and wilfully misrepresented as Conceptual or Abstract", when he had intended it to be "both Aesthetic and Representational".)
When praised fulsomely by a certain interviewer for the sublimity of the velcro recorder, Hoeness displayed an uncharacteristic diffidence. Piece K128, he said, "was as nothing": it was merely a promotional tool for an imminent masterwork, the "Functional Exhibition". Three weeks later Hoeness distributed among the press thick and lavish programs for this event, stating that the programs themselves were the "visible component" of the work: the Exhibition, he added, "may or may not already be underway." In either case, the location would "not be explicit".
This of course occasioned much speculation on the part of critics and commentators. The "programs", while impeccably produced, contained little meaningful information on the nature of the Exhibition itself. Given Hoeness' obsessive temperament, it was widely believed that the work would exclusively address his then-current interest in the "rectification of fluids" - one writer, in a memorable phrase, envisioned a sort of "boot camp for water". As the weeks went by, however, interest began to wane: until, that is, the intervention of the influential Danish intellectual Morten Lynge.
Lynge - best known for his post-feminist leviathan "Existential, Existentiel, Existentielle" - weighed in unexpectedly with an extensive monograph on the piece, entitled "The Future of Art: The Future of Of". The Functional Exhibition, he stated baldly, did not exist. He then proceeded, however, to praise it in the most unrestrained terms for that very characteristic: it represented, he urged, the beginning of a new age of Libertarian Art, in which the individual was boundlessly free to speculate on the nature of the work, rather than being constrained by the "authoritarian presence of the object". The piece, he further contended, surpassed all previous (now-redundant) forms of art, even under traditional criteria of quality, in that it enabled the critic to imagine a work which excelled in all respects, rather than one which "might prove merely pedestrian".
Lynge's stance was generally taken up by the critical community. Further colour, however, was then added to the affair by the claim of a Frankfurt journalist, Heinz Baumann, that he had in fact located the event, in an industrial estate on the outskirts of that city. The "exhibition" consisted, by his account, of a single man in an extensive warehouse space, engaged in a performance work to the accompaniment of "classical music". The man was wearing a wig and affecting an English accent, in a manner seemingly intended - judging by a title-plaque on the floor - to represent the prominent British art critic Brian Sewell. "Sewell" was naked, and engaged in a lewd act while regarding a facsimile of the Carl Andre work "Lever".
When questioned regarding the incident, Sewell would subsequently claim that he had, at the time, been "in Clapham" - a testimony which clearly strains credulity.
Hoeness himself, when asked on German television for a definitive explanation of the whole affair, produced a roll of masking tape from a satchel, and proceeded to wind it around his mouth and eyes.
"Sewell," translated DJ NUL after a protracted silence, "showed balls."