Annette Kelm and the purple overalls

Johann König
Apr 1, 2014 12:12PM

Alongside Kelm's still-life project is a newer research-based practice that departs from the confines of the studio, and likewise asks pointed questions that lead beyond the picture plane. The beginnings of this body of research appeared last fall in Kelm's exhibition at New York's Andrew Kreps Gallery in the photograph Vitrine for the History of Women's Movement in the Federal Republic of Germany, German Historical Museum, Berlin (2013), which shows a museum display case containing feminist posters, ephemera and protest placards, along with a pair of purple overalls (lila Latzhose, or "purple overalls," is German shorthand for second-wave feminists). The picture is one of three by Kelm that portray such vitrines in history museums in different German cities; her deadpan documentation of this evidence coolly suggests the absurdity of summing up feminism in collections of memorabilia, as if it were a subject done and dealt with, rather than a movement that engages issues still grappled with every day by countless women around the world. A new series of works focusing on the legacy of German feminist Hannelore Mabry will form the core of a solo exhibition that opens this month, to inaugurate the new Louis Vuitton exhibition space in Munich.

Kristy Bell: Analog Encounters. In: Art in America, March 2014, p. 102-105. URL:

Currently on view: Annette Kelm's solo exhibition at Johann König, Berlin, 15 March - 26 April 2014; Espace Louis Vuitton, Munich, 22 March - 8 August 2014.

Johann König