BERLIN — Fifteen years of music, fashion and art from multi-disciplinary provocateurs Chicks on Speed are making a splash at Berlin’s Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien.
The exhibit “Cultural Workship Now!” combines videos, prints, objects and installations from the playful yet pointed feminist collective. A series of events running Sept. 14-19, with titles including “The Naked Performers Go Bollywood” and “Venus Goddess Inventor,” will feature performances, lectures, music and parties from the Chicks and their cohort.
Chicks on Speed was founded by three Munich art students in the late Nineties, and gained attention with its electro-clash music, has morphed into a fluid collective that pushes against the system without becoming distanced entirely. “They really behave on the border, and are really ironic,” remarked show curator Stéphane Bauer. “In some ways it’s very aggressive, but it’s also very charming.”
The group, which has collaborated with Jeremy Scott and Karl Lagerfeld, also has a vested interest in fashion. The Chicks on Speed E-shoe, created with Max Kibardin, was worn by Kate Moss for a Mario Testino shoot, and is currently on display in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
An installation in the Chicks’ current show is devoted to Voodoo Chanel – a project of founder Melissa Logan and contributor Nadine Jessen sparked by graffiti spotted in an Abidjan market of the linked ‘CC’ logo of Chanel made of bones.
Included are a Voodoofesto that draws attention to the talismanic nature of logos and encourages manipulating the power balance by playing with the brand. Chicks on Speed in fact sell shirts and bags with the Voodoo Chanel logo, and also give the image away for open use. There’s been no comment from the big house yet, according to Logan.
“I actually wanted to offer them to do a youth line – that Voodoo Chanel becomes super hip, because we’re making Chanel cool by making Voodoo Chanel!” she joked. “It’s commodified backwards,” added contributing Chick Krõõt Juurak, “but we’re not moralizing about it.” Instead, they’ll open a pop-up shop. The Chicks on Speed exhibition runs until Oct. 23.