Against People Against People

Rob Blake’s Against People Against People is the inaugural exhibition at East of Elsewhere. The show comprises five sculptures that are a call to action in the run up to Germany’s 2017 election. Using a combination of welded steel, bicycle wheels, spray cans, paint balloons and other found materials, there is a nod to the aesthetic languages of Minimalism and assemblage. However, the works are deeply politicised, having been created in response to the Alternative for Deutschland’s (AfD) posters plastered around Berlin in 2017. They are intended as functional objects of protest to express anger and opposition to right-wing politics.

Reminiscent of primitive Medieval weapons, with their angular lines and crude welding, the sculptures ask the viewer to seize a piece and take it to the streets. Blake fills spray cans and balloons with pink paint, which alludes to the colour and shade used by the Nazi Party to identify and mark homosexuals; these primitive attitudes are subverted in this instance to be used ‘against themselves’ as a means of defacing the alt-right’s communication techniques.

As the sculptures are borrowed and returned, marks of use accumulate. Blake asks whether art objects can also exists as functional tools of protest, questioning the status of these forms and their use value. Ultimately the exhibition insists that the viewer considers their own agency in how to respond to incipient nationalism, encouraging action rather than mere intellectual inquiry, or at worst, apathy.

Words by Camila McHugh from east of elsewhere
Feature in TAZ

Installation Images
East of Elsewhere, Berlin
Exhibition Poster
September 22 – October 15, 2017


Rob Blake
Wilhelminenhofstr. 92
Berlin, Germany

+49 (0) 15214051605