An a-typical night for art

Dead Darlings #3 at Mediamatic

21 Feb 2009
21 Feb 2009

In a room filled with art junkies and artists, death was the life of the party. A very “A-typical” kind of death. The cryptic Ik R.I.P. exhibition (previously inaugurated) still being displayed in the Mediamatic Bank, set the tone for the Dead Darlings anonymous art auction where the excitement of competing for an inspiring piece of art mixed with the bittersweet farewell for some artists who were “killing their darlings”.

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An artwork on offer in the Dead Darlings auction. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

With a loud clack of the hammer, 64 photographs, objects, paintings, videos and even an audio recording, crossed the line between being just a moment in an artist’s creative process to becoming an autonomous piece with precious value last Saturday evening.

For two hours before the bidding began, art lovers and fans got the opportunity to appreciate the pieces and spot the ones they were interested in. A number palette could be bought for €2, and a catalogue of the art to be auctioned could be bought for €5. The catalogue itself was worth buying, as it contained a story or small insight text to each auctioned piece.

“My only image containing an image”, read number 17 in the catalogue, entitled Old Flame. The name of the artists remains, of course, anonymous, as the purpose of the auction itself is partly to release the signature pressure and have the piece be worth simply for what it inspires for the buyer.

In this, the third edition of the Dead Darling auction, the theme was “A-typical”, and like Old Flame, the selection of the pieces by each creator was meant to question the formal or thematic elements of the identity of a work.

“I took this picture for a campaign I was supposed to do. Then my dad died the same day…” read number 34, one of the pieces whose price escalated the most during the 2 and a half hour long auction.

And even though it was an informal event, some classical auction images were seen: from the guy standing next to the bar and bidding over the phone with an uninterested look on his face to the tension-generating and forced indifference bidders played on one another when competing for the same piece.

“There are some nasty looks going across the room”, pointed out Tania Theodorou, who was ‘playing’ auctioneer for the evening and whose charisma the attendants were thankful for.

An artist herself, Theodorou managed to keep the bidders constantly bursting into relieving laughter.

“She can’t remember the prices, she buys things herself... I think this is the worst auctioneer I’ve ever seen in my life. And the best!”, chuckled one of the attendants.

With close to 100 people attending and in spite of having two pieces missing (one of them “disappeared under mysterious circumstances”, the auctioneer explained) the Dead Darlings anonymous art auction was a successful one. The highest price paid for a piece was €370, and the artists got to say a proper goodbye to their darlings, even if meant killing them.

Written by Isabella Cota.
Photographs by Nadja Kieft. The Dead Darlings are: Adam Etmanski, Jessica Gysel, Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, Lina Ozerkina (designer / Alfa60), Katja Mater, Carolin Reichert and Tania Theodorou.

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The Dead Darling artworks lined up for viewing. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

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Visitors are reviewing the artworks and deciding what to bid on. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Alice Bodanzky

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'Old Flame' (photographic print), by ? - Sold in the third Dead Darlings auction, at Mediamatic Bank.

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Dead Darlings auctioneer Tania Theodorou. - At the 3rd Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

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Dead Darling's veiling met veilingmeester Tania Theodorou - The third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. 21 februari 2009: In de kunstveiling van Dead Darlings werden 64 kunstwerken anoniem gepresenteerd. Veilingmeesteres Tania Theodorou gaf leiding aan het bieden en vertelde kort iets over ieder stuk. Onder de hamer gingen o.a. werken van Katja Mater, Harm van den Dorpel, Kinga Kielczynska, Anuschka Blommers en Florian Göttke. De verkoopprijzen varieërden van €2,- tot €370,-. Nadja Kieft

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There is extreme care in handling the artworks. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

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The Dead Darlings auction in full swing! - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. At Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

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Another anonymous artwork is offered to the crowd. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft

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The Mediamatic space filled up for the Dead Darlings auction. - At the third Dead Darlings auction at Mediamatic Bank. Nadja Kieft