ANNA BANANA PPGGB 2020
Opening: 1.11.2020, from 12:00 to 21:00
The exhibition runs until 14.11.2020
Opening times: Wednesday to Saturday, 13:00 to 18:00
An exhibition organised in collaboration with the
Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt and Salon am Moritzplatz
The exhibition includes original material from the historical performance Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas, together with mail art sent by Anna Banana to Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Refehldt (from the Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt), works from the Mail Art collections of Lutz Wohlrab and Karla Sachse Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas was a parodic research project that toured seven cities in Germany: Stuttgart, Berlin, Hamburg, Uelsen, Minden, Cologne and Mannheim, as well as in Budapest, Hungary, between July and October 1993. In each city, Banana presented an installation of more than a hundred enlargements of banana-related newspaper and magazine articles from German sources, sent to her mostly by artist-friends part of the Banana’s mail art network that were living in Germany. At each exhibition opening, she appeared in character as Doktor Anna Freud Banana, holding a clipboard and wearing a lab coat embroidered with the insignia of ‘the Specific Research Institute of Canada’. She would introduce herself – in German – to visitors, explaining that she was investigating the new German banana consciousness, and she would make appointments for them to come back and take two tests: the Roar Shack Banana Peel Test and the Personality Inventory for Banana Syndrome.
The new enactment of this performance for this exhibition and its adjoining presentation coincide with the 30th anniversary of Germany’s reunification, commemorating the anniversary of the coalition of the West’s Federal Republic of Germany and the East’s German Democratic Republic. In fact, the whole project Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas was originally developed by Anna Banana consequent to the fall of the Berlin wall, during which a trend emerged of West Germans greeting the newly-opened East by offering bananas, a fruit prior to unification rarely available in the GDR. The artist subsequently began to receive an immense quantity of banana related articles and items from her German contacts, inspiring her theory that Germany was going bananas, a theory that she intended to prove with her research and performances.
Besides the historical significance of this exhibition in the year of the re-unification’s 30th anniversary, another component proves contemporaneously involved. The exhibition’s exploration of a public psychological state inevitably points to the current COVID crisis that exploded this year as a catalyst to global socio-political uprisings and natural disasters, resulting in a radical change of lifestyle and our ways of thinking and being within our society. This brings to mind the notion of a collective wound, brought on by a sudden and unpredictable change in our daily lives, and the consequences of which are still not clear and yet to be fully seen.
With special thanks to Lutz Wohlrab, Karla Sachse, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and the Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt, Charlotte MacAskill, Julia Heunemann and the team of Salon am Moritzplatz.
Part of the exhibition will also be dedicated to books from the Mail Art Archive of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt in which Anna Banana’s work or contributions are included. The monographic catalogues: ‘45 Years of Fooling Around With A. Banana’ and ‘The Art of Anna Banana Unpeeled’ will be available to purchase at the show.
Anna Banana explores the historical and contemporary implications of mail art and highlights a unique approach to humour, disguise, and the democratic potential of print media and critique. Born in 1940 as Anne Lee Long in Victoria (British Columbia), Banana is a Canadian artist known for her performance art, writing, and work as a small press publisher. She has been described as an entrepreneur and critic, and pioneered the artistamp, a postage-stamp-sized medium. She has been prominent in the mail art movement since the early 1970s, acting as a bridge between the movement’s early history and its second generation. As a publisher, Banana launched Vile magazine and the Banana Rag newsletter; the latter became Artistamp News in 1996. Banana lives in British Columbia and operates Banana Productions, calling herself the Top Banana.
DIGITAL CONTENT / DOWNLOAD RESOURCES
The exhibition is accompanied by a digital library collection, intended as a source to shed light on the prolific publishing and correspondence activity of Anna Banana, and to further establish her position as a significant figure of the Mail Art correspondence network.
Access here digital content related to the past presentation of Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas:
In November 2017, the artists Anna Banana, Michael Morris, and Vincent Trasov convened together at Or Gallery, Vancouver, for the Mr. Peanut Summit, moderated by Zanna Gilbert and hosted by Jeff Khonsary.
Zanna Gilbert, Mr. Peanut Summit: Supplement n.5, published by Fillip, Canada