Adrien Missika’s exhibition Zeitgeber, an installation of photography, assemblages and video, ran from September 18 to November 7, 2015, at Mexico City’s Proyectos Monclova. Carefully considered material choices are planted in the barren landscape of the gallery, diluting and re-translating a sincere effort to connect with time and space.
Zeitgeber is a German word for “time giver” and is used to describe internal body clocks that become synchronized with the external environment, such as air temperatures, sunrises and sunsets. Providing important background information for the context of the works, the press release acts as a framework for the personal narrative that is played out around the space.
A corridor painted beige is titled ‘Cosmic Latte’, and references the shade chosen by a group of scientists in the early 2000s as being the average colour of the universe. The bright lights that run along the ceiling accentuates the stark emptiness of the hallway, with only a small steel box placed awkwardly on its own. Covering the top, a glass sphere similar to an astronaut’s helmet encases/protects an earthy substance.
Three large photographs titled ‘Stargazer’ make up a triptych along the main wall and were taken by Missika while in a hammock looking up at the sky. Similar to an abstract painting aesthetic, the amateur style of photography gives off a romantic sensitivity. Highly pixellated, shaky and soft coloured in hue, they act as a trace or memento of a significant individual experience of searching for the moon in the night sky. Potted plants intertwined with incomplete structures are placed in the middle of the room. Mimicking the colours in the photographs, the pots are painted a light pink, blue and purple. Titled ‘Higher Future,’ they cling to thin steel columns grounded in concrete. Another version places a cactus down the middle, its vertical shape in tandem with the steel as they reach towards the sky. In contrast to these more stable monuments, a thin sheet pulled into the shape of a one-man tent shelters another potted plant. The leaves pierce through the top of the fabric.
A set of hammocks inhabit the rest of the space, their form pulled into different directions by “carrying water, sand, Zen objects, and written records of experiences in altered states.” Sitting somewhere between fashionable aesthetics and the re-creation of a camping trip, the works position themselves both sincerely and ironically in relation to the natural phenomena of the universe.**