“Second Tableau: How a quarter of the Lodge was once able to get his ass in gear and took the subway to Kassel”

Nevertheless, in the midst of all this lived-out meaninglessness, something resembling a contrafact of classic lodges and male clubs evolved. These institutions’ reciprocal protectionism, for example, was ironically reflected by the Lodge motto “Keiner hilft keinem“ (“No one helps nobody”), which intimated a stylized celebration of inactivity and uneventfulness as well as the rejection of Lodge politics as the basis for building power networks. Set against the steely avatar of the regular Lodge world was the individual: a weak, lost and helpless little thing. The Lodge was designed as something that must not necessarily subscribe to world conquest (in contrast to The Coca Cola Company). (Hard sought) despair and (planned) dementia have an inborn right to lodgicity as well. It was precisely because of this productive contradiction that the Lord Jim Lodge could achieve a sort of mythical status. This myth derived its power from the indifferentiability of an institutional critique that had become conceptual and the seriousness that only the seriously inebriated can muster: was the exclusion of women a result of the four Lodge founders’ chauvinist manner, or was it a pointed criticism of lodges as male clubs? This is a question with only one thinkable answer: in case of doubt, both. Or let’s say: in a way yes and in a way no. Such aesthetic strategies were to a certain degree typical of the work of those involved, especially of Martin Kippenberger’s. And in the end it was he who most fervently endeavored, at least now and then, to integrate the Lord Jim Lodge into his “work as a form of life”. For example, he worked the Lodge logo into his paintings on a number of occasions. Kippenberger’s participation in the 1997 documenta X in Kassel marked a highpoint of this at least halfhearted propaganda effort and of the outward representation of the Lord Jim Lodge. The “Sun Breasts Hammer” logo was put in a prominent position in the subway entry that he erected in Kassel (within the framework of a worldwide system of subway entrances, one of Kippenberger‘s key late works). However, Kippenberger died before the documenta opening. Through his death and the logo’s central positioning at the documenta – which may well be the most important monster truck show of Europe’s educated bourgeoisie – the Lord Jim Lodge was inadvertently dumped into the very heart of the art world: it took on an almost mythical aura, which in its further life history it would never be able to shake off. Just as Falco had said: “Must I die that I may live?”