Freitag ad absurdum
Carte blanche to the Freitag brothers feat. Frank & Patrik Riklin
28.10.2015 – 28.02.2016
Having been given carte blanche by mudac, Markus and Daniel Freitag have joined forces with conceptual artists Frank & Patrik Riklin, known for their offbeat practice outside of ordinary artistic circles. The four brothers share a mindset and similar fundamental principles underlie their work: actions centred on resources, the enjoyment of social interaction, and a cyclical way of thinking and acting. Their project is not confined to the museum and largely takes place in public space. The Freitag and Riklin brothers set off in early summer to meet users of FREITAG bags, which are made from used truck tarpaulins. They invited them to take part in an action which pushes the manufacturing process for their products to the edge of absurdity: to give up their bags and let them return to being a lorry tarp. The four brothers took up banners and headed for locations including Zurich station and the cathedral square outside mudac, where they succeeded in convincing
complete strangers to hand over their bags. All the FREITAG stores joined in with the campaign and asked customers to bring back their shabby totes. In this way, a hundred or so bags were garnered from around the world.
In the Zurich factory where every FREITAG bag is cut, the four brothers unpicked the bags they had gathered in, pieced and soldered them together. The lorry tarp was transformed… into a lorry tarp, pushing the FREITAG upcycling principle ad absurdum. The new multicoloured patchwork tarpaulin was mounted on a truck and the Freitag and Riklin brothers set off in August on a road trip around Switzerland, and engaged in dialogue with people in every region.
The four brothers were not afraid to invite themselves into strangers’ homes if it would get a conversation started, and they were confronted by reactions to their manifesto on consumption and production in the 21st century. They put their convictions to the test, and measured their ability to change reactions and attitudes. They counted it a success when they were able to sleep in a total stranger’s garden, spontaneously get people to make soup from the leftovers found on the various floors of an apartment building, or plant a placard questioning the fidelity of lawnmowers…
These experiences and encounters gave birth to objects that are both surprising and original, made, in turn, from the re-re-recycled lorry tarp: these include a free-rider seat, a shopping bag prosthesis and even a compost catapult. In September, the four brothers went to test these objects on the people of Lausanne. Could unfamiliar objects shake up familiar habits? Could unexpected encounters create new consumer behaviours? This ironic take on recycling, extended to infinity, frees up the very serious position on consumption and our contemporary use of resources taken by the Freitag and Riklin brothers.
Every stage in this adventure will be retraced in the exhibition, which will enable visitors to join in and play an active part by borrowing objects which were themselves created as part of this extreme recycling project, with its stated aim of altering consumer behaviour.