Blue Majik, running at L’Atelier-KSR until June 27, “intends to sense the confusion and the ongoing dissolution of the synthetic and organic.” The group show is named after an extract of Arthrospira platensis. Marketed as a Nutrient Dense Aqua Botanical™, Blue Majik is described as a “pigment” with superfood qualities and is as much a biological substance as it is the bottle in which it is sold. Through each individual contribution, this invocation of a hyped, factitious nature shimmers. Across an impressive spectrum of mediums and materials, it sticks to each work and holds them thick together, revelling in the aesthetics of rust, destruction, decay, design and juxtaposition.
It is probably the clean, black rubber tyre jutting perpendicular to the wall that makes me think “car showroom” as I first arrive at the hidden two-floor gallery space. Anthony Salvador’s ZWEI JUNGS IM BENZ (2015) features a wall-length PVC print, a photograph of the front corner of a banged-up car. Its boot, popped and skewed, arches over a headlight like a raised brow, an indistinguishable appendage pokes out where a nostril might fit, a gash where the bumper was seems to fall open like a slack sneer. The tyre pops from the wall like an ear or a barnacle. I wonder if I am wrong to see a face. I also see something oily and slick, like the essence of hype winking at me.
Nearby on the ground Tore Wallert’s Sponsored by Destiny (2015) stretches like the prostrate body of a barely discovered deep-sea creature, the kind that live in darkness and feed on oil. From this scrunchy package of toxic usables—plastic, epoxy, resin, fibreglass, permanent ink, polyester fabrics—ratchet straps snake out like the treacherous stinging tentacles of a Blue Bottle jellyfish, its nose points towards the wall where Clemence de La Tour du Pin’s two prints hang. Worked and layered, these textured prints bare leaf impressions like tattoos on skin, wearing their tread marks like bruises. One of the prints, Tean_Crimson Blood (2015), sheds its rusty crust onto the floor below, toxic like body fluids and powdery like uranium-enriched pollen.
By the door, a text contribution by Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite of The Young Girl Reading Group tells of a “hypersea” (“a postmordial sea of countless and interconnected conduits”) and leads to Antoine Renard’s Untitled_1, 2, 3, 4 (Vase of Flower) (2015), which stretches out in foamy shale piles, like a queer rubbery mountain range. It brings me into viewing the next few pieces as landscapes, artificial and reminiscent of cheap market wares. Santiago Taccetti’s sculptural installation The Secret Life of Our Protheses (2015) clings to the ground in mimicry of nature overcoming a drain grid. Built of metal, wood, water and soylent green, it has all the magic of grass growing through a crack in the pavement under a magnifying glass. Three squat humidifiers, dressed like foam rocks, flaunt their cuteness; their skeuomorphism drives the scene into fantasy and they puff off into associations between fairy tale, science fiction, and the mundane. Similar but different, Adrien Missika’s Here is shot through with there (2015) hangs on the wall above, two flat, pink tiles made of red Turkish travertine stone gouged out and filled in with Berlin algae and Spirulina. Evocative and fragile, the works are beautiful but not especially subtle.
Plenty of Berlin galleries find refuge in apartment buildings; many echo a dilapidated pre-war opulence, and this one has a spiral staircase. From the mezzanine above I see Julie Grosche’s Zen out (2015) as a cheesy hipster-relic galaxy, something to dive into. At the bottom of the stairs is Sanctuary I-IV (2013), four digital prints on metallic paper by Hanne Lippard. Aesthetically they land somewhere between a periodic table and an eye chart. A poem of disjointed words and phrases, spaces inserted between the syllables, make me giddy. I feel her poetry as a gentle kind of beautified nausea.
I nearly missed Neïl Beloufa’s La deomination du monde (2012) a 27-minute video hiding out on a monitor behind a black curtain in the corner. I may have passed up something significant, a comment, some hidden meaning, I rarely have the patience to watch things to their end in a gallery, and here I am standing upright in a makeshift closet, I don’t last the distance.
On June 17, you’ll get a chance to experience Hanne Lippard and Caique Tizzi perform live as one of the event elements tied into this show. A week later, on June 24, there’ll be an artist talk in the same space.