Rike Droescher
The Big Murmur
September 1 — October 16, 2022
curated by Alexander Puetz
at Moltkerei Werkstatt
DC Open 2022

Special thanks to
Jake Madel, Katerina Matsagkos, Julia Woll and all Volunteers

photos: Bernhard Adams
kindly supported by Kulturamt Köln


With The Big Murmur Rike Droescher dedicates herself to personal and collective narratives of isolation and control, of doubt and self-protection. A murmur is the concatenation of a fundamental and evolving noise. Noise in its figuration as murmur interrupts the uniqueness of being; its relationality allows multiplicity and difference to emerge. Rike Droescher translates this collectivity and difference of humanity as well as the individuality of the human being in the form of traces left behind, such as pieces of clothing— often so-called statement shirts — as well as semi-permeable border and wall constructions as signs of power and powerlessness. How does the individual position themself in social space? The artist constructs situations that oscillate between the human body as private space and public (architectural) space.

Droescher’s expansive demarcations are reminiscent of Venetian blinds (in German Jalousie) — those that allow the view outward while simultaneously closing off the view inward. The word, which comes from French, means jealousy. The emotion describes insecurity, fear and anxiety about a relative lack of possessions or security. One-third of the world’s countries now seal themselves off with fortified borders, half of which have emerged since 2000. Europe is not exempt. On the one hand, the continent faces war within its borders; on the other, the policies of individual EU states can be questioned within the idea of Europe as a fortress and its deadly borders like the Mediterranean. Borders shape not only the geographical but also the political landscape, affecting and inscribing themselves on individuals.

The individuality is hidden in statements on fabric. On an orange piece there is a heavy-hearted farewell that implies familiarity: Bye Bye, coming from God be with you. Within Indo-European religions and mythologies, weaving, spinning or knitting are interwoven with the idea of being able to determine or influence fate. For this purpose, people tried to protect certain vulnerable parts of the body, such as the head or the heart. The symbolism and accompanying powerlessness is shown in the garment with the lettering Aftermath.

Rike Droescher shows an image of future surroundings, a space that suggests unreality. The materiality of the murmur, however, loud and polyphonic, suggests a collective voice that is always emerging. To think through the murmur would be to move toward a conception of collectivity that allows for and cultivates difference. The artist generates questions and content in the field of tension between an unstable present and expectations of a (different) future. Rike Droescher constructs experimental arrangements — analyses of everyday life — these point to one’s own ability to act and thus to the potential for change.