Archiv der Kategorie: exhibition

about exhibitions of artists



The warm summer days of 2023 are passing. Several exhibitions are running, several exhibitions are planned and in preparation. ARTSURPRISE is a constant companion, in the exhibitions, in everyday life.

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let’s everyone else decide, if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or they hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.

Andy Warhol, Artist

Whoever pulls one of the boxes out of a vending machine or buys them in a set from Saatchi does not automatically look behind the scenes. There are hours of preparation and follow-up that go well beyond the actual production of the art. Some colleagues shy away from this work. But they miss an important moment, the moment of contemplation in monotonous manual activity.


It not only relaxes, it also focuses. He creates a reality in which thoughts form, in a strong current, driven by the tactile sensation of folding this box, folding and readying the printed inserts, inserting the artwork, adding the business cards, locking the boxes and the affix labels.

There are days with 500 boxes.


What is noticed first is the mountain of work. Folding boxes is an easy, often very poorly paid, home job. Humans have often been, and still are, exploited in such menial activities. In some months there are around 1000 boxes, in others just a few. It’s probably averaged about 200 a month… for the past 12 years… every month.

The haptic experience in the work of wrapping is, so to speak, the creation of a commitment to the project, to the artist, to the work of art, to the circumstances of its creation. Something digs deep into the memory, often supported by the smell of fresh paint or the smell of olive wood.
It will certainly be a privilege to unpack these works of art later. It is certainly a joy when an expectation meets a real object, when art is discovered, when an accompanying text then creates a connection between the new owner and the maker of this work.


But it is also a privilege to pack these works of art. You’re the last person to see them all lying together as a series on a table, you’re the last person to pick them up, often for a long time. One is the bearer of the artist’s message. And it is only through this achievement that the magical moment of this art becomes possible.

In the assemblage, art celebrates the fact that the composition of the objects is often more than their sum. Sometimes that final moment before sealing is captured in a few photographs.
The Artsurprise boxes now go to over 100 locations: vending machine locations, museum shops, galleries. Some artists also sell their own art via the boxes directly at their exhibitions and fairs.


The box filled together on the packing table, so this is also the last moment of being together. How likely is it that a later collector will be able to put all the boxes in a series back together? What effort will this represent? How expensive will the last missing box be? At the moment at the packing table it’s all still speculation, but it’s also clear how the art market works. As always, it’s a matter of time.

The box has to be in the right place at the right time, in the hands of the person who temporarily holds one of the central positions in the art market. From then on there is no holding back. Now nothing is more difficult for many contemporary artists than to identify this person and then to reach them with their own message. Too many are in the way, too many have already worked out better positions. The path is rocky. And yet, those who work create reality. And reality is non-negotiable.


The ARTSURPRISE project brought together and distributed over 30,000 unique works of art in the first 12 years. It has reached every continent. It has captured art from all sorts of contemporary currents, bringing them all together under one simple, social, sustainable idea. Over 1000 boxes have been stolen over the years, from public museums, from galleries, from warehouses. Nobody knows what happened to this art. They are probably waiting for the right time to bring them back to the art market. Yet it is not so far. But the clock is ticking.


In August 2023, box number 31,000 will be packed and shipped. With this box, the scope of the site will grow and new features will be added, especially those that will make it easier for collectors to safely assemble their own collection. These art lovers will then very carefully open the boxes and bring the works of art back into the light of day. And that closes a circle that begins at a packing table in CASAdelDRAGON in eastern Spain. And a new circle begins that public life of the work of art as an expression of a way of life and an expression of an appreciation for contemporary art.

Portrait : Jo Pellenz – from farmer to gardener

Artsurprise - Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia - Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer
Artsurprise – Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia – Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer

Jo Pellenz is an exceptional artist. Pellenz is an artist, teacher, social worker, role model. He works internationally and is still deeply rooted in his city. In 2008 he worked nearly 2 month for his installation in the old Ermita de Sant Sebastia in Cervera del Maestre, Castellon, Spain.

Artsurprise - Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia - Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer
Artsurprise – Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia – Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer

As a donation to the village, the inhabitants and the CASAdelDRAGON he worked out one paper sculpture for each citizen of the village.

Artsurprise - Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia - Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer
Artsurprise – Jo Pellenz in the Ermita de Sant Sebastia – Cervera del Maestre | Photo Jochen Seelhammer

His friend Juan Petry was invited to give an introduction to his installation in the gallery 68 eleven in Cologne (2009).

Jo Pellenz – Düsseldorf – 2008 – installation – stilwerk | Photo Juan Petry

In the sense of the German artist Beuys, Pellenz is a social sculpture by himself. He strives to unite art and science and calls for creative participation in society through art. In my laudatory speech, I would like to go into precisely these social aspects of this artist’s art. That is why this speech is entitled „Jo Pellenz – from farmer to gardener“.

I’ll start with the farmer: Pellenz comes from a Moselan winegrowing family and in his youth learned the hard trade of winegrowing that shaped him. Instead of Moselle romance and wine bliss, the drudgery was in tune with nature.

artsurprise - Jo Pellenz - behind his studio in Cologne - 2007 | Photo Juan Petry
Jo Pellenz – Düsseldorf – 2008 – installation – stilwerk | Photo Juan Petry

Please ask yourself: what energy does a person have to muster to plant a new vine, who knows that he will experience the most productive time of this vine – if at all – as an old elderly person. What strength does a person need in this steep location to work most of the time for the next generation and the one after that. What will drives one to create something whose reward may be far in the future, if there is any at all. What kind of people are those who devote themselves to such a vision?
The imagination to do the right thing, to keep doing it – possibly with pain – the inner security to be on the right path, to set goals, to give things meaning. That drives these people.
Jo Pellenz certainly drew his strength from the yield of the vines that his ancestors planted and tended for him. He who is one with his vineyard has this power. „Creating a space for yourself and others in which a free, self-determined life is possible for yourself and those who follow…“ – I’ll come back to that later.

artsurprise - Jo Pellenz - behind his studio in Cologne - 2007 | Photo Juan Petry
artsurprise – Jo Pellenz – behind his studio in Cologne – 2007 | Photo Juan Petry

In Pellenz’s CV I can find various professions: acoustician – social worker – model builder … and others are not even listed, but they have influenced this artist in one way or another. I could have given this speech the title, from food to luxury food. And that applies here between the 200 figures of this installation in the Cologne gallery 68elf, just as it applies to all professions from winegrowers to artists: working on and for enjoyment.

At the beginning I was reminded of Beuys and his social sculpture. The social worker is not that far. But when I think of Pellenz, how he strides through the room in a small Spanish church, wide-eyed, walks through this room in big strides and understands and already creates his installation in his thoughts, then I know that someone is taking a big step in the art is on the way. Someone wants to open up spaces, change perspectives, move something. Art should move people, physically and emotionally. Pellenz moves and others.

But that is not an end in itself. If you walk right now through this installation, if you talk to one another, freely express your opinion – also about this speech – you are the followers, who walk through this garden of Kepo, just like the guests in Epicurus‘ garden, invited to a place where free thinking and speaking grows and thrives, just like Jo Pellenz did in his vineyard among the vines of his ancestors.

Jo Pellenz - Ermita de Sant Sebastia - 2008 - Cervera del Maestre - Castellon - Spain
Jo Pellenz – Ermita de Sant Sebastia – 2008 – Cervera del Maestre – Castellon – Spain

Art creates space here. room for you. You are the installation, it is your garden. Make something of it. Talk, discuss. Draw strength from this kepos that Pellenz has dedicated and left to you – without any agreed consideration.
And don’t call me a crisis today! Do you think a vintner thinks of phylloxera when he plants a vine?

„Creating a space for oneself and others, in which a free, self-determined life for oneself and those who follow…“ here I am again… Just as Beuys wanted art to move people, Epicurus wanted his garden to move Movement is a stage on which people can meet in freedom and equality. In Epicurus‘ time, art and science were still arts, united. Now many are longing for this unity again, and Beuys correctly assumed that we can also achieve this with and through art if it reaches out to people again.

Jo Pellenz - CASAdelDRAGON - 2008 - Cervera del Maestre - Castellon - Spain
Jo Pellenz – CASAdelDRAGON – 2008 – Cervera del Maestre – Castellon – Spain | Photo: Jochen Seelhammer

Pellenz helps build many gardens, Heilandart, Usefulart and others are also designed by him. And with this will to design, Pellenz completes the development from farmer to gardener. A garden of the future combines yield (food, science) with aesthetics (enjoyment, art).
There are such slick phrases in the art world: The artist works with space. Sometimes it was perhaps more the space that worked with the artist. I like it a little more concrete: Jo Pellenz gives us space. Thinking, acting … we have to do that ourselves.

343 BC – Epicurus, son of a farmer and teacher, is born on Samos in Greece.
1959 AD – Jo Pellenz is carried to the vineyard for the first time by his sisters. They show him his first garden. This is how history begins. Wonderful.

Series in Artsurprise:

A better reset for the art market

Fred (DeSouza Gallery) and Juan (conceptual artist) are talking about a better reset for the art market, online portals to promote and sell art and the difference between these platforms.

Artsurprise – a social art work and cooperative project – is working since 9 years on its way to discover new pathways to promote and sell art. Not only that new emerging tools are creating a new reality for all market players, it force everybody to redesign the chain of communication and distrubution, and – interestingly for a contemporary artist – it with also influence the art itself.

Fred and Juan tried a new concept for artsurprise in the last show in Spain. MUARCO – the exhibition in the museum in the exhibition – itself is part of a larger social art initiative, founded by three artists in the beginning of 2020, just before the first lock down. It question the role of a museum as an important factor in art presentation, preservation and research and as a hotspot of culture at all.

Further links: DeSouza Gallery | MUARCO

Basicis about Artusprise and the social sculpture FamiliaFeliz

Some basic facts about ARTSURPRISE and the decentralized living community FamiliaFeliz

In this video we talk about the decentralized living community FamiliaFeliz and its basic ruleset. Linda and her family in San Diego are also creatives and searching for opportunities to spread their artistic message in the world. So we talked also about the social sculpture ARTSURPRISE.EU, which was born on the terrace of the house of the dragon.

Both projects, the living community and the art movement, are not chained in a way but both are a creation of the think tank in CASAdelDRAGON, the artist residence and think tank of FamiliaFeliz in Spain. And both are born out of a simple contemporary question: how to create a project with value for all partizipants, in case of the art project, including customer and all others involved in the process, in case of the living community, including members and – important – also non-members around us.

ARTSURPRISE.EU is a social sculpture and art work itself. Juan Petry mount refurbished second hand tobacco vending machines as a sculpture in real art spaces – like a trojan horse – and invite artists to use it as a vehicle to distribute their own message all over the network of this vending machine locations. Transparency and absense from any competion between the artists its a slowly growing network to explore new contemporary art production by implementing standards form industry and logistics into the art market.

If you are responsible for an art space, if you are art daler or artist you will find more information here:

if you love art and you want to collect pieces of amazing art works form artists all over the world you could browse through our database by inserting a number between 1 and 26.000 in our check form and you will receive information about the content, based on this box identification number here: is a decentralized living community, based on groups. It was founded together with the first group, called ELDRAC (the dragon) in 2016 and implemented a basic ruleset, called charter. After exploring many other european communities, the group of founders invited more than 50 friends to assemble a charter. With this paper we gave ourselves a mental body to express the main values and procedures.

If you want to check out more about our comunity you should read some news in our blog here:
and you could download our basic ruleset in your favorite language here:

2020-07-29 6pm MEZ we will continue the discussion in a next livestream on youtube and you will get some samples of artworks from new emerging us based artists as well as some samples and background stories from already published artworks inside the project.

Join our channel on 2020-07-29 at 6pm MEZ here.

Thanks to all the artists and friends helping this project running and all the gatekepper inside the art market tor promote and push this movement of contemporary art.

New location in Catalunya

Since 27 of April 2019 artsurprise has a new host for one of our vending machines in Santa Barbara. The machine was inaugurated by town mayor Joan Jordi Boronat Ferre and many representatives of the region.

The inauguration was part of the cultural weeks in Santa Barbara. The new artist Assumpta Arasa Altimira offered us the opportunity to expand our network of vending machines in Catalunya and partizipated with her first series Mediterranean Goddesses inside of the Artsurprise vending machine.

back again

After 4 month the new website of artsurprise is online again. Now based on WordPress and new designed we show more details about the social sculpture project and share background information about exhibitions, series and artists and new locations.

With nearly 300 artists in our group and more than 25.000 delivered boxes we willl expand the project in the next time.

Artsurprise – european social art – we love it!