The Blumes have been collaborating since 1980 on a “lifelong photo-novel” that involves staging themselves in scenes of German middle-class life gone frantically out of control. As artists who studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in the 1960s when Joseph Beuys began teaching there, the Blumes are of a generation steeped in the tradition of performance art, which was often documented by photography.
Kitchen Frenzy, starring Anna Blume in the guise of a stereotypical housewife, is marked by an ironic sense of humor that is part surreal and part burlesque. The sequence shows a domestic interior run amok, with potatoes flying of their own volition at all angles. The title, which is a pun on the condition known as “prison frenzy”—the insanity that sets in when inmates are imprisoned for long periods of time—wryly plays with the daily rituals of traditional suburban life. The absurd and humorous quality of the Blumes’ work stems largely from their original staging of scenarios that, rendered with the blur of motion, slyly undermine certainties about human reason and social order.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 65.