The Archaeological Horror

Jonathan Meese and Daniel Richter collaborate in Hamburg.

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In 2006, Daniel Richter, artist and owner of the Music Label Buback in Hamburg, asked Jonathan Meese if he'd like to work with him for an exhibition inspired by the grave of Archbishop Gottfried von Arnsberg, which was discovered in Stade, Germany, in 1992. Meese said yes: his favorite term is "ARCH" (ERZ), which he draws and writes on almost every piece of art he works with, and on paintings, walls, floors and ceilings. "As a young boy I was around in the Ahrensburg Woods to find the Golden Ark," he says. "I wanted to do something similar with Daniel Richter."

These superstars of German Art, who met more than a decade ago at the Hamburg Academy of Visual Arts and became friends, are now showing over 100 paintings at the Helms-Museum in Hamburg-Harburg. The exhibition is called "The Archaeological Horror", and goes on until the 25th May.

It deals with "archaeology, death and memory", but Meese insists the collaboration was ridden with fun, laughter and "anarchic sillyness". Their use of the macabre isn't meant as a provocation, but as a huge playful experiment. "We all forget to play," says Meese. "In ancient times the artist has always been the clown in our society and he should be the clown again. We are two golden skeletons as well."

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