The "Assembly instructions" are essential to assemble items in the correct order into a complete object. The classical assembly instructions are usually a black-and-white schematic diagram printed on paper and showing individual steps of the assembly process.

Since 2008, Alexandre Singh (*1980 Bordeaux, F) is working on the series Assembly Instructions. With the presentation of five versions, including two newly created and shown for the first time, the Kunstverein Wiesbaden is organising the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. The Assembly instructions are initialized by topic searches and conversations with people from different fields of activity then processed by Singh to wall-filling diagrams. The modules for this are playfully detailed photocopied pictures and text collages which are connected to each other with dotted pencil lines on the wall to half-fictional stories.

Assembly Instructions (IKEA) consists of 37 inkjet Ultra Chrome Archival Prints, illustrating not only the principle of the assembly instructions, which helped the Swedish furniture manufacturer to international success, but also Singh's artistic strategy: His works are of modular structure, but can only be read by the viewer if they are hung in precise and a well defined order. Lines drawn with graphite point the way, as in all Assembly Instructions, through the narration.

The other four versions shown in the exhibition are additionally labeled with "The Pledge" and are each based on an interview of the artist with people from different disciplines, which he again interlaces to stories: with the critic and teacher at the Sorbonne University of Paris Donatien Grau (34 inkjet Ultra Chrome Archival Prints), with the maker and director of music videos and commercials Michel Gondry (37 inkjet Ultra Chrome archival prints), with Danny Rubin, the screenwriter and author of the Hollywood cult film "Groundhog Day" (35 inkjet Ultra Chrome archival prints) and the neurobiologist and researcher Leah Kelly (37 inkjet Ultra Chrome archival prints). Each interview was first transcribed by Alexandre Singh and then transformed to fictional dialogues, which take place in the future, in a dream or a vision. Singh, in the role of a clownish buffoon, hereby engages his dialogue partners in a discussion on the notion of a beginning, a promise, a premise, how the brain conceives the world and stories, developing them further, where the reference to the respective field of activity, as a characteristic of the dialog partners, remains recognizable. Each Assembly Instructions (The Pledge) is visualized with collages, illustrating the visual dimension of the conversation.

In the presentation in Wiesbaden each Assembly Instruction will fill the walls of one room in the exhibition area and - in dense hanging - will invite the viewer to pave his path through the ramified and detailed web of images and narrations.

Alexandre Singh studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art of at Oxford University, at the School of Visual Arts in New York and most recently at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, New York. His works, which encompass a wide expressive range, which move discursively through different disciplines such as art, literature, philosophy, performance, video and many others, are represented in major public and private collections and were presented in group and solo exhibitions around the world. Alexandre Singh lives and works in New York and Paris.

Curated by Sara Stehr & Elke Gruhn

With friendly support by Institut français


Alexandre Singh: Assembly Instructions (The Pledge - Michel Gondry), 2012 (Detail), © Alexandre Singh, Courtesy: Alexandre Singh & Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London.
Installation view, 2012, © Thorsten Jansen.
Installation view, 2012, © Thorsten Jansen.
Installation view, 2012, © Thorsten Jansen.
Installation view, 2012, © Thorsten Jansen.

Alexandre Singh / Assembly Instructions

04. November 2012 - 16. December 2012


Opening: Saturday, November 3rd, 2012, 5 to 8 Uhr