This time, unexpected others reflects on “relations existing between organic and non-living entities” by taking its title from Donna Harraway’s 1992 text ‘The Promise of Monsters‘, where the influential writer and theorist coins ‘innapropriate/d others’ while considering “how hard intellectual, cultural and political work these new geometries require”.
Borrowing their title from a snuff movie called 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick, the joint exhibition by artists Clémence de la Tour du Pin and Antoine Renard’s at L’Atelier-ksr , running September 16 to October 24, 2015, explicitly references the “cannibalistic story of pornographic actor Luka Rocco Magnotta, arrested after killing and dismembering his boyfriend.” The press release also includes a newspaper clipping from the event:
“On May 25, 2012, an 11-minute video titled 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick was uploaded to Bestgore.com, depicting a naked male tied to a bed frame being repeatedly stabbed with an ice pick and a kitchen knife, then dismembered, followed by acts of necrophilia.The perpetrator uses a knife and fork to cut off some of the flesh and gets a dog to chew on the body. (…)”
Intentionally placed within the nauseating reality of a violent murder, the show invites the viewer into a space of aftermath. Everything looks like its decaying from hedonism: rusty steel partitions divide the space into small rooms, setting the scene for a stereotypically horrific encounter. Coffee grounds and other unidentifiable detritus and stains are strewn across the space. A work titled ‘If you don’t like the reflection don’t look in the mirror’ is a tree stump wrapped in PVC rubber sheath on top of a fridge. The freezer door is open creating a makeshift plinth for an aluminium cast of a hand. Sexual party snapshots are stuck to the bottom. Half-empty coffee cups sit quietly on the floor in installation, ‘Life is the flower for which Love is the honey’. The accruing moisture included in the materials list begs for attention.
A broken pillow with strewn feathers sits in a corner next to a matrix of aluminium earplugs and wires that vaguely represent the shape of an arm. Another tree stump titled, ‘Could you juice me again? The colours are starting to fade’, sits in uncomfortable proximity to a steel box used to house toxic liquid. In another ‘unit’, a deep fryer-cum-garbage can is filled with steel tubing and a sneaker. Sculptural figures such as ‘Justin Bieber’ hang down above the scene and suggest a ritual that may have taken place. A red stain bleeds out onto the surrounding floor. The title, ‘I am you, Jun. I’m all you’ll ever need’, feels like an appropriated quote aimed towards a murdered lover. This sanitising of a reference steeped in malaise [through the theatrical nature of an art installation] is perhaps what gives the exhibition its disturbing undertone.
An oversized image of a generic sexy avatar girl found in many video games, fills the space of one of the metallic panels. This image immediately brings 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick into the realm of online gaming, darkened by a surrounding narrative that hasn’t seen daylight for months. The aftermath of excess and entertainment remains open-ended in its obscurity, entangled within the fermentation process of ‘going underground’. **
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.