Unbreakable: Lena Henke, Ben Schumacher, and More Make Locks for Paris Show

Artists (from left to right): Olga Balema Verena Dengler Lena Henke Benjamin Hirte Yngve Holen Lisa Holzer Chadwick Rantanen Ben SchumacherCOURTESY SAXPUBLISHERS</small

Padlocks by artists (from left): Olga Balema, Verena Dengler, Lena Henke, Benjamin Hirte, Yngve Holen, Lisa Holzer, 
Chadwick Rantanen, Ben Schumacher.


Securing an artwork against theft can require screwing a frame to a wall, installing a security system, or even hiring a guard. However, a new series of multiples from Vienna’s Saxpublishers publication group actually secure themselves: they’re classic brass padlocks, engraved with images by artists Olga Balema, Verena Dengler, Lena Henke, Benjamin Hirte, Yngve Holen, Lisa Holzer, Chadwick Rantanen, and Ben Schumacher.

“The locks are taken from the idea that some of the bouquinistes (or booksellers) sell cheap padlocks to tourists for them to hang on bridges to manifest love between them or the city or whatever,” Felix Gaudlitz and Alexander Nussbaumer, who run Saxpublishers, told me in an email.

Verena Dengler's padlock.COURTESY SAXPUBLISHERS

Verena Dengler’s padlock.


They have been released in conjunction with the exhibition “Take me (I’m Yours)” at Monnaie de Paris, the French national mint which has begun hosting art shows in recent years. Organized by Christian Boltanski, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Chiara Parisi, it features works that are meant to be touched, felt, and even taken by visitors. (This is the second iteration of “Take me (I’m Yours).” The exhibition was first realized at the Serpentine gallery in London 21 years ago.)

You can find the padlocks, each in an edition of ten, at a secondhand bookshop along the Seine River run by Pascal Corseaux that is conveniently located opposite the Monnaie de Paris museum between Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts. (Authorities recently removed 45 tons of locks from the latter bridge.)

The locks will be sold during the regular hours of the bookshop, which are not entirely regular. “Pascal only opens whenever he feels like,” the publishers said. “The museum is open every day, but we wanted him to follow his own schedule…Thursday to Sunday, only if the weather is nice.”

The locks are being sold for €100 (about $112) and can be purchased in Paris during the run of the show and then online after it comes down on November 8.

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