Superflex Brings Readymade Hospital Equipment to Syria via Switzerland

From Galerie von Bartha to the Salamieh Hospital, the collective's latest project can save lives.

SUPERFLEX, Hospital Equipment, 16 February – 18 March 2017, von Bartha, S-chanf, vonBartha.com. Photo courtesy the artists.
SUPERFLEX, Hospital Equipment, 16 February – 18 March 2017, von Bartha, S-chanf, vonBartha.com. Photo courtesy the artists.

Danish art collective Superflex is continuing its Hospital Equipment project, which sources and delivers necessary surgical equipment to hospitals in conflict areas, with a second edition that will go on display in an exhibition at Galerie von Bartha‘s space in S-chanf, in the east of Switzerland.

From February 17, a mobile lamp, surgeon‘s table, and a surgical bearing will be on display in the gallery, during which time, ideally, a collector or two will fall in love with the “readymade” apparatus.

Whoever decides to buy the piece will not receive a sculptural object, but photographic documentation of the work and a certificate of authenticity. The physical objects will be transported to the Salamieh Hospital in Syria, where they will be treated as functional objects, used by staff and patients, rather than works of art to be contemplated and preserved.

SUPERFLEX, <I>Hospital Equipment,</i> in use at a hospital in Gaza. The second version will be on display from 16 February – 18 March 2017 at von Bartha, S-chanf, vonBartha.com.

SUPERFLEX, Hospital Equipment, with surgeons at a hospital in Gaza. Courtesy the artists.

“With Hospital Equipment, SUPERFLEX insists on the possibility that an object can be both an artwork and a functional object at the same time, within different contexts and spheres of discourses,” wrote curator Nikolaj Stobbe, on the first iteration of the project, which was exhibited at the Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen in 2014-15, and then subsequently transferred to a hospital in Gaza, Palestine.

“Furthermore, the tool adds a philanthropic quality to the art collector that holds the certificate of authenticity as well as challenging the definition of a collector,” Stobbe’s text continues.

The price of the work is determined by the expenses of buying the equipment, plus shipping and logistics costs, and the production of the photograph for the “owner” of the work.

The first version of the Hospital Equipment sold to three collectors, whose collections each now contain one-third of the piece. But can one really put a price on saving lives?

Superflex: Hospital Equipment” will on view at Galerie von Bartha, S-chanf, from February 17 – March 18, 2017.


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