SBHK

Starbucks Hong Kong
2010, Starbucks napkins, paper, felt, wooden vitrine
H 62 × W 131 × D 8 cm

The napkins, collected by Beinroth from seventy Starbucks branches in Hong Kong, were all printed in the United States (»Printed in the USA.«) and may even come from the same printing batch. Beinroth has collected examples of an industrial product whose aim is not individuality but, on the contrary, a high degree of sameness in keeping with the launching of a brand. It is primarily the particular décor and color green that make Starbucks so quickly identifiable around the world. The collecting of the same napkins, over and over, and the noting down on labels of the location where the napkins were found results, on the one hand, in a sort of commercial cartography of the city of Hong Kong and, on the other hand, in a depiction of the route the artist took. By always choosing a different napkin detail for the vitrine presentation of his collected specimens, Beinroth makes seventy unique items from a mass-produced product. The objectivity of both the specimens arranged in strict rows and the labels typical of archival work is counteracted by the selection of the detail: Beinroth assembles the green, characteristically-Starbucks ornament so as to create a depiction of a climbing plant or vine—thereby lending the industrially produced specimens the organic character that specimens found in nature normally have. Precise ordering and unpredictable rampant growth, excerpted specimens and a concrete whole are consciously combined, leading to a rupture in the scientific character of the work’s presentation. – Dr. Kerstin Skrobanek