Juliana Cerqueira Leite & Zoë Claire Miller: MANUAL OVERRIDE
Sep 12 – Oct 1, 2016
Maybe slimey typey thingy. Maybe fleshier than so. Maybe neither. Maybe it all depends on the purpose of their existence. Imagine; a clay corner, potentially triangular, much like image 1, less than image 3. Imagine; Red, yellow, purple, pink or grey. Either way, it will be shiny. Imagine a wall-to-wall carpet which no longer gives in to pressure, with no memory of being lusciously soft, a surface with a lack of confidence. Imagine; a floor which is the centre of life. Imagine; this is it. Do you hate your own reflection? (she asks) Not as much as I hate the question. Over the phone it seemed so straightforward, but here you are in a completely different situation. When you arrive an hour late (she remarks) she immediately places a handful of fingers on the table, creating a fair amount of distance between them. Pick one (she says). Pick the nicest one according to your own judgement, as it will say a lot about where you come from. Taste is no longer a sense of the tongue, it is just as much a matter of moving things from one hand to the other. The other day you simply answered no to all my questions. If I say the word vaseline, do you cringe or dream of its versatile substance? (she asks) Hollow structures can be filled up with just about anything, so stick to the structures that you know best. An hour later the amount of fingers have multiplied, but the distance between them seems the same. I pick the longest finger, which is still shorter than any of my own. Aha! (she exclaims), now I can see where you are coming from; a remote place without taste or common sense. If you could choose to enter another body, would it be the same material as yourself? (I ask)
- Hanne Lippard
Jonah Fernandez Olson: Hediondilla
Jul 09 – Jul 24, 2016
“You can’t see the desert if you can’t smell it” - Ed Abbey
Not far from my studio, in the Mojave Desert, dwells one of the oldest living organisms on Earth: King Clone – a creosote bush or hediondilla. Rather than a single bush, King Clone is a 69-foot long, oval-shaped ring of creosote bushes connected by a single clonal root structure which is over 11,700 years old. In about 9700 BC, after the last glacier receded from the area, King Clone was one of the first life forms to colonize the Mojave Desert. It has been a continuous resident ever since.
If you travel to the deserts of the Southwestern United States or Northern Mexico, you can’t miss the unending expanse of hediondilla. The bush itself is plain – a scraggly medium-sized plant that is so ubiquitous in these deserts that it is hardly noticeable. Despite its abundance, you may first become aware of its presence through its unmistakably fresh scent during a slight rise in humidity, even before you distinguish it visually.
Something about the smell of the hediondilla, its longevity, and its plainness keep me coming back to King Clone itself, this master of its species. King Clone isn’t marked on maps and it’s not easy to find. There are no trails leading to it, although it is protected by a wire fence a few miles square that preserves it and its surrounding brethren, all among the oldest of their kind, from desert off-road vehicles. Inside the King Clone oval of scrawny, half-dead-looking bushes, the sand appears untouched, and slightly higher than the sand outside the ring. Though I know at least my footprints have marked it in the past, they are always erased by the strong winds of the high desert. Placed at the center, there is a small grouping of rocks; although man-made, it is not a cairn. I sometimes use one as a weight for a water dish I bring for my dog, and then I put it back. Rodents, snakes, and lizards live in small holes and burrows dug at the base of the bushes, though I rarely see them. There is no water for miles.
Hediondilla (from the Spanish word “hediondo”, “stinking”), also known as the creosote bush (for it’s similarity in odor to that of creosote oil commonly used in railroad ties and telephone poles), Larrea tridentata (its scientific name, tridentata referning to it’s three-fold leaf), greasewood, or sometimes chaparral (when used medicinally), does not grow in the synonymous plant community chaparral. It prefers the well-drained soils of the alluvial fans and flats of the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts. It is also known as gobernadora in Mexico, Spanish for “governor” or “ruler”, due to its ability to secure more water by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, explaining its distribution in large areas in virtually pure stands.
Native peoples have used hediondilla for thousands of years medicinally. It is used for digestion problems including cramps and gas; respiratory tract conditions including colds and infections; and ongoing chronic skin disorders. It is also used for cancer, arthritis, tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, gallstones, sexually transmitted diseases, central nervous system conditions, chickenpox, parasite infections, obesity, and snakebite pain. Some people use it for detoxification, or as a tonic or “blood purifier.” The chemicals in hediondilla are thought to work as antioxidants. Once on a camping trip to Mexico, I made a tea of it to help ease a friend’s gallstone pains (she suffers from this regularly) and it worked.
I feel somehow attached to this plant though I know it’s foolish to think so. Maybe it’s simply for aesthetic reasons, such as its scent, or for its mundane omnipresence... or that we share the same habitat, or the allure of its seeming immortality. It is part of my landscape though I am hardly a part of its. I matter less to this 11,700 year-old ancestor than a single transient mouse taking shelter under its roots.
Peter Schloss: equilibrium states
Jan 30 – Feb 21, 2016
Is everything in balance? Why do we behave the way we do in certain situations and how is this behaviour formed? What does it mean to live in a society and where do the agreements that shape it come from? Do they create an equilibrium? A balance of the forces – good versus evil? Ego against altruism? Is it more important to do the right thing or to avoid the wrong and who sets the border where right turns into wrong? Is it rather, an absolute value?
When Peter Schloss presents a spirit level in perfect balance, floating seemingly weightless in the space, he shows us how a natural phenomenon – the air bubble in the water that cannot help but to orient itself “correctly” – becomes a tool to assist aligning man-made constructions with each other. If this artwork only functions thanks to its extensive support structures and the extremely precise adjustment of every part, perhaps it is a clear demonstration of the amount of effort necessary to establish a society in balance.
Schloss' works deal with and are fed by current philosophy, as well as other sciences. He employs schematics, psychological experiments and physical phenomena to create works of art which, while not explicitly explaining the underlying issues, try to open up ways towards new questions and insights. Peter Schloss makes art driven by Aristotelian wonder and invites the same in the viewer.
Joe Clark: what magic
Sept 12 – Sept 27, 2015
What is a photograph? With ever-increasing speed, the
technical circumstances surrounding its production, as well as
its (representational) qualities, are changing. Over the
years, the credibility of the photographic image has been
gradually eroded, as literally any type of image can now be
generated or manipulated in any desired manner. Digital
technologies have almost completely taken over the field, and
these days, almost every smartphone comes equipped with a
fingernail-sized, high-performance camera.
Alongside the advances in technology, access to the medium of photography
has also evolved: photography is no longer a skill practiced only by
learned professionals; today anyone can use a camera to take photographs.
Photos have become digital rather than material objects, and as such
require few consumables; they can be produced or displayed at almost any
time, anywhere. The social networking service, Instagram, provides a clear
example for how the sharing of images has grown into a new form of
communication. The photograph is no longer what we talk about, it is the
Joe Clark‘s works are photographic. Regardless of medium, be it sculpture,
film or photography - in any of its modalities, the artist seeks to
capture its „magical“ quality, the seemingly lost possibility - of using
the photograph as a means to construct truth. Many of his works display an
- in the words of the artist - absence of content, because they are, in
fact, works about photography itself. what magic as a body of work, can be
understood as a sequence of steps - based upon one another yet also
standing for themselves. A photograph is an object, is a set of data, is a
photograph. And so on. A moment that lasts only a few hundredths of a
second, „Whispers down the lane“ becomes an almost tangible, manipulable
space. Yet each single work is but a step in the development towards the
next. Where this leads, and what is actually seen, lie then - as always -
in the eye of the beholder.
Tim Stapel: Titel und Legende
Nov 14 – Dec 4, 2015
Tim Stapel‘s works stand for themselves: They do not refer to things outside themselves; they tell no story; and no previous knowledge is necessary for understanding them. The artist develops graphic systems made up of drawings and plans, which he uses to situate his installations within the space. These systems never claim universal validity. The artist does not attempt to establish any dogma about how art has to function, in the way, for example, that Concrete Art has. His site-specific works always emerge from, and function at, the exact location Stapel has selected for his project.
The artist explores the conditions for his work on the spot. The characteristics of the space – the size of a wall, a building’s floorplan or the properties of a particular material etc. – define the limits he develops his installations within: he finds the conditions in which to layout his grid.
Titel und Legende (title and caption) introduces a novelty into Tim Stapel‘s methods. Here, he not only employs the spatial conditions to develop his installation, but also uses a typographic system to interprete the work‘s description and define the arrangement of shapes that constitute it: Listing the installation‘s properties – author, dimensions, title, material, etc. – something usually done following the completion of an artwork, becomes the source material of the design Stapel fits onto the project space‘s wall. For the first time, the artist refers not only to the space, but to the exhibition itself in the development of his installation.