Very Friendly

October 2023 – January 2024, at HOUSE, Berlin.

Pulsating rhythms, distorted soundscapes and provocative lyrics, a powerful exploration and questioning of the dark and obsessive sides of the human condition. With the “Very Friendly” exhibition, Agnes Gryczkowska invites us to venture into the murky corners of the human psyche. The dilapidated walls of this Wilhelmine building serve as the setting for this immersing investigation of violence, terror, and the intangible. The manic voice and distorted guitars of Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Very Friendly’  fill the space; a pivotal song by the pioneering British industrial band, speaking of the infamous Moors Murders committed by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in the 1960s. Acting as a historical anchor that prepares the audience for a deep dive into darkness in the exhibition’s narrative. Open to the public until January, 2024 at HOUSE, Berlin.

HOUSE, nestled in the heart of Berlin, stands as a fusion of history and innovation, under the artistic direction of Juliet Kothe and Georgina Pope; intended to be an environment that explores Berlin’s escapist realities while embracing the beauty of ruins. Former head of the Boros Foundation, Kothe collaborates with projects like STUDIO BERLIN and is currently working on a book on female body image and representation, while Pope is Founder of THE FAIREST. In its conceptual and artistic efforts, HOUSE is autonomously motivated, offering a journey through the history of turmoil and hopeful futures of the city. Housed in an unrenovated Wilhelmine building, its main exhibition space was once a 1930s shooting range, echoing the city’s former passion and entertainment with the motto “Berlin schießt!”(Berlin shoots). The space features a reception hall, a forgotten courtyard, and a king size bar that are all currently used for various events and interventions.

Currently on show the immersive art exhibition “Very Friendly,” curated by Agnes Gryczkowska, explores the world of violence, fear, and the unseen. The installation takes place in the raw, decaying space of a Manchester building, juxtaposed to Throbbing Gristle’s song ‘Very Friendly,’ drawing viewers into a disorienting narrative. The lyrics of the song hint at the infamous duo Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, marking a historical reference point for the exploration of darkness.

The guest, identified only as L, enters an eerie setting where the lines between fact and fiction are blurred. With layers of shields and protections, the physical space mirrors an experience akin to a Matryoshka doll and its psychological impression. The exhibition features installations like “Incarnation IV,” where violence is transformed into an act of revolt, and “Less Sauvage Than Others,” showcasing seven bronze-cast pistols as a puppetry of defense.

The story is told in a disjointed sequence, capturing the deranged world of serial killers, the True Crime obsession, and the unsettling dance with violence. The terrifying story of a murder, bodies unable to flee, and theatrical blood splatters, all serve as manifestations of the spectre of violence that permeates the experience.

“Very Friendly” goes beyond the bounds of conventional art,  through the use of the unseen and the unknown knowns, prompting a reflection on the societal norms. The exhibition masterfully captures the essence of the age of networked information insanity, where violence trickles sickly and sticky. L, caught in the infinite tragedy of a system reproducing itself through violence, questions his presence in a space that mirrors the collapse at the heart of order.

This curated experience takes the audience on an intense journey that challenges them to face ingrained rules that control our lives, invisible threats and the devastating effects of violence on human psychology. “Very Friendly” inspires introspection on the fragility of safety, the gravity of the unknown, and the echoes of real and imagined fears that linger behind steel walls.

There is nothing quite like a curator’s narrative. Each stroke, a song; every hue, a melody. Art breathes, and the soul listens. To follow we have the curators manifesto describing every emotion and its artefact in this exhibit.

The manic voice and distorted guitars of Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Very Friendly’ fill the space as L walks in.

It was just an ordinary day in Manchester
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley…
Drinking German wine

Myra Hindley put on a dark wig and drove Ian Brady to the mainline station.

L vaguely remembers that the song might have been about Ian Brady
and Myra Hindley’s last murder, committed on 06 October 1965.

Very friendly.
Violence spiralling.
Twisting and turning its invisible arms.
In and out they go, penetrating.
Spaces feel strange, crushed, unsafe.

LA LA LAND of rusty welfare state expectations, the fog of volatility
and loneliness.

There are things behind the steel walls. Where the long shadows fall.

And it was the police station, and the rather fat police sergeant who was trying
to finish checking his football pools heard the phone ring, and he said, “Oh, shit.”
And he put down his mug of tea which had a coronation picture of the queen on
it, and he picked up the phone, and when David Smith heard the policeman answer
and say, “Yes, what do you want?” he told him and said, “There’s been a m-m-m-m-m-m-
m-m-m-murder!”

Ian Brady and Myra Hindley…
Very friendly…

– Agnes Gryczkowska

Very Friendly / HOUSE, Berlin

Venue: HOUSE / @house.berlin
Curator: Agnes Gryczkowska / @agnesgryczkowska
Artists: Adam Gordon, Sibylle Ruppert, Rosemarie Trockel, Blackhaine, Anne Imhof,
Throbbing Gristle / @throbbinggristle Mauro Ventura / @salivasollidha  Davide Allieri / @davideallieristudio
Adam Alessi / @adam_alessi Minh Lan Tran / @minhlan.tran Maggie Dunlap / @maggidunlap
Angélique Aubrit & Ludovic Beillard / @i_saw_you_in_my_dreams @ludovicbeillard
Romeo Castellucci / @theromeocastellucci Jack Kennedy / @2020_jason
Darja Bajagic / @svladar Allen-Golder Carpenter / @allengolder
Words: Jyothsana Selvam / @jyothsanaaa

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