One evening, a few years ago, four individuals were drinking in a pub. The four were part of a larger group of people, who were all connected in some form, which was partly due to the fact that, by some random coincidence, they all shared their existence at the same time in the same place, and partly due to their sharing of certain, similar kinds of interests, thinking and ambitions. These overlaps of space, time and character traits resulted in a number and variety of shared, or common, activities. In the weeks preceding the evening, which had been a period of particular intensity, an unusually large amount of these activities had occurred.
A few years ago, one evening, four people were drinking. They were sitting around a table, in a pub. The four decided to form a band. Therefore, firstly, and most crucially, they had to come up with a name.
preface to the first edition iii
The Book – 150 pages, © by Rupert Jaeger 2007
‘The Book’ tells the whole story of Rentner, from its birth to its death, its strange disguises and hybrids, from the band that never happened, over an image retrieval project that spanned across six european cities, a company run by hard-nosed business men, and ultimately to its own total corporate and conceptual deconstruction…
The story starts at an undisclosed location in space and time, which serves as a framework from where the present is always the past, and then jumps to a very specific location in Barcelona, Spain, at precisely 15:17:28 hrs local time on the 22 of September 2001. From here onwards unfolds an experimental narrative in image and word that is at once a fictional account of a group of time travellers from the future , and at the same time a documentation of the real live story of a group of artists who called themselves Rentner.
The group was active from September 2001 until September 2004 with projects and exhibitions in Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt and London. The Book, which is largely made up of photos, sketches, writings and other documents from that time, was first published in 2007.
The preface (to the first edition) sets the framework of the story by presenting a collage of documents that piece together a fragmented concept of the world experienced by the characters of the narrative. The above document is of particular focus, with its text forming the main context of the overall narrative. A full transcript of this document can be found here.
A photograph of Barcelona, Spain, opening the chapter ‘Old Europe‘, with the precise location marked where a particular moment occurred, which was not only to be the defining moment of the book, but the initiating moment of a process that is still ongoing today.
Double page recalling what happened during the Rentner agents’ stay in Brussels, Belgium, in mid October 2001. It was here that they started to not only question their mission, but to deviate from their original plans, and ultimately disrespect the timetable and route across Old Europe.
Snapshots of a number of ‘durational moments‘ that were retrieved in Amsterdam, Netherlands, late October 2001.
After Amsterdam, the Rentner agents left a number of traces in Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany, in November 2001. After that, there was no trace of them…
…for just over one year, when a company by the name of ‘Rentner Collective Ltd’ was incorporated at Companies House, in London, United Kingdom, on the 27th of September 2002. Around the same time, a number of public interventions, events and exhibitions started to occur across London, organised by a group called ‘Rentner Collective‘. Whether the two entities consisted of the same people, and who those people actually were could never be verified.
These photos were taken around Oxford Street, central London, on the 12th of December 2002. No other details are available about the nature of this intervention, the person on the photos or who the photos were taken by.
The same location, a few months later, on the 15th of April 2003. This time, the cardboard has been replaced by a proper sign with a logo, evidently of Rentner Collective, which is accompanied by a web address. The domain, www.rentnercollective.com, is still available online, but has not been updated since September 2004.
The same sign, as one of the centre pieces of ‘This is Rentnercollective‘, an art exhibition that took place at the ‘Islington Arts Factory‘ from Friday the 13th of February to 5th of March 2004. The exhibition was a group show with 7 artists showing work, which were connected via red ropes, continuing a theme running through the work of Rentner Collective at that time, which was the colour red (C:0 M:99 Y:100 K:0), and in particular in the form of a red line.
Double page spread of ‘The Book‘, showing visitors seen from above at ‘This is Rentnercollective?‘, across the red ropes connecting the work.
‘The Red Line‘ was to find its most extreme prominence as a theme of Rentner Collective in the art exhibition ‘The Vault‘ that took place at ‘The Foundry‘, in London’s Old Street from the 24th of June to the 11th of July 2004. One of the centre pieces of this exhibition was a straight red line, that was painted along all four walls of one of the basement rooms, the vault of this former bank building. The Red Line was painted around every corner or other protrusion of the wall, creating unusual perspectives and distortions of the line.
Double page spread of The Book showing the take down of ‘The Red Line’, which had been painted directly onto the wall, and therefore was only existent for the duration of the exhibition. In order to keep physical objects that can represent the exhibition in retrospect, various techniques were employed to preserve pieces of the wall or of ‘The Red Line’ itself.
From the 11th to the 22nd of September 2004 ‘Credit History‘ took place in the ‘Pavilion‘, a gallery next to the river in the city of Frankfurt, Germany. Before the exhibition, a large number of business cards of some of the members of Rentner Collective were cut into random pieces, from which a selection of 6 pieces was made, which were to feature in the exhibition in Frankfurt.
The six selected pieces were then enlarged and painted on the main wall of the gallery space, which created an abstract combination of seemingly random shapes of red colour on the wall.
‘Credit History‘ was the last time that Rentner Collective ever presented an exhibition and since then there has been no trace of any of its members.
‘450 St Ann’s Road‘ in the North London Borough of Haringey, where some of the members of Rentner Collective purportedly lived from 2002 until they disappeared in September 2004. The property was bought in early 2005 by an unknown property developer, who demolished the building a few months after it was acquired. No development plans have since been presented to the local authorities and the plot remains derelict.
© by Rupert Jaeger 2007
The first edition of ‘The Book’ was a limited edition of 200 copies, which has since its publication sold out. Edition 2, a slightly updated version, is currently being produced. If you would like a copy or an electronic version, please contact:
+44 (0)751 233 1561