The term synergy [Greek synergismós: ‘working together’] is defined as the combined power of a collaborating or interacting group of people or things that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. Since the beginning of the global COVID-19-pandemic in early spring of 2020, values like solidarity, community, and social cohesion have significantly gained importance. Through synergy, cooperation becomes more efficient, as the involvement of several parties gives correspondingly more knowledge and more empirical values to draw from. The exhibition at BORCH Editions presents the two print portfolios Stützmappe (1995) and Bonobos (2003), both of which focus on the collaboration of a multitude of artists.
The project Stützmappe was originally conceived to support upcoming Berlin artists (hence the portfolio’s name Stützmappe, which translates as Support Portfolio). This series of thirteen works is a remarkable testimony to the vibrant atmosphere of the 1990s Berlin art scene. Between 1992 and 1995, Niels Borch Jensen and Berlin gallerist Bruno Brunett conceived the idea to create a portfolio of graphic works by young artists who were based in Berlin at the time. Berlin, albeit a melting pot of young international artists, was also a place of financial struggle for both artists and galleries. To keep the costs low, Niels Borch Jensen met collaborating artists of Brunett at big art world events. During these meetings, they discussed the projects but exchanged printing plates and tools as well. The idea was to give young artists an opportunity to experiment with the technical opportunities in graphic art, as well as to showcase the wide range of techniques and high artistic quality of Niels Borch Jensen’s Copenhagen print studio. The result is an impressive portfolio featuring graphic works by international artists who, since then, have moved on to become household names in contemporary art. The participating artists are Peter Doig, Joachim Grommek, Stefan Hirsig, Damien Hirst, Olav Christopher Jenssen, Hubert Kiecol, Walter Kranz, Elke Krystufek, Sean Landers, John Miller, Chris Ofili, Daniel Richter & Rachel Whiteread.
The Bonobos portfolio is a collection of prints by a group of artists who met in Berlin in the early 2000s and became friends: Anna Barriball, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Jeffrey Eugenides, Matthew Hale, Mark Wallinger, and Karen Yama. The project is a celebration of their friendship and of a very special time they spent together in Berlin. The proofing of all fourteen prints was completed during a busy week in November 2002, and the whole group came to BORCH Editions’ studio in Copenhagen to finish the prints while celebrating the publication of the Danish edition of Eugenides’ novel Middlesex.