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German artist Amely Spoetzl: Thinking outside the 'white cube' in L.A.

May 7, 2009 | 11:32 am

Amely Spoetzl-Portrait10x15cmGerman artist Amely Spoetzl is thinking outside the "white cube." 

Spoetzl's new public art project, “Just a Moment, Please,” will happen far afield of the “white cube,”  a common expression used in the art world to describe the confining white walls of the traditional gallery or museum exhibition space.  Instead, “Just a Moment, Please," “an installation that plays with concepts of time, perception and possibility," will exist for more than a moment, but less than a day, in various Westside locations. 

On Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Spoetzl will place acrylic dispensers filled with fresh flowers for one-hour intervals at locations including Muscle Beach (between 17th and 18th streets in Venice),  the intersection of Ocean Park Boulevard and Main Street in Santa Monica, and the intersection of Washington and Lincoln boulevards in Marina Del Rey. 

The public’s reaction to the flowers, presented in receptacles that entice passersby to help themselves,  is part of the art.  The project will be recorded on video by German photographer and artist Bernd Zoellner.

“Just a Moment, Please” is presented in conjunction with artlab21’s May 9-June 6 exhibition “Beyond the Surface.” The gallery, at Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station, will show paintings and objects by three emerging German artists:  So Young Park, Michael Sistig and Spoetzl.  “Beyond the Surface” curator Bernhard Zuenkeler, who hails from E105 gallery in Bonn, Germany, says the artist plans to take the project to Paris, London and Berlin. 

In hearing of this floral experiment, Culture Monster is reminded of “Still Life in Memory,” an ever-changing 2006 installation  by L.A. artist Justin Stadel. Stadel's public art invention involved a bench along Glendale Boulevard that at various times over the course of a month could be seen sprouting fresh yellow daisies.

 A.Spötzl,Zierkürbis, 100 x 40 x 30 cmIn her less ephemeral work (at left), Spoetzl often incorporates dried flowers and plants.  For this installation, says the artist via e-mail and through a translator, the use of fresh flowers is “embedded in the theme of the project; the instant becomes meaningful because of the limited life of the flowers.”  

Says Spoetzl,  “My work often incorporates the theme of impermanence. Making a defined period of time the main theme, however, is something that I am doing for

 A.Spötzl, Konzentration, 30 x 30 x25 cm the first time with ‘Just a Moment, Please.’ "

Spoetzl  does not know what to expect of those who encounter the project on the streets but says, “I am hoping for a moment of irritation, an instant of surprise and a question of its meaning…. For me, the image of  blossoming is almost a life philosophy:  the uninhibited  and instant devotion to life in every form, a flowering in its own way."

Adds the artist, “The surprising and unexplained appearance of fresh flowers might inspire some to act spontaneously. Every reaction is possible.”

 A.Spötzl,Wunschbox(Detail), 40 x 70 x 20 cm

The complete schedule for “Just a Moment, Please”:

9-10 a.m.: “Muscle Beach” at Ocean Front Walk between 17th and 18th streets, Venice
12-1 p.m.:  Ocean Park Boulevard at Main Street, Santa Monica
2-3 p.m.:  Washington at Lincoln boulevards, Marina Del Rey
4-5 p.m.:  Muscle Beach 

-- Diane  Haithman

Photos: Amely Spoetzl. Various works by the artist. Credit: Bernd Zoellner.