Mathis Gasser

Rewind forward: Narratives of a Near Future conference looks at the past, present + future at Genève’s HEAD, Dec 14 – 15

14 December 2017

The Narratives of a Near Future international conference is on at Genève’s HEAD on December 14 and 15.

Bringing together an interdisciplinary panel of artists, scholars and designers, the event “addresses the challenges that the next generation will have to meet.” For its 10th edition, participants will explore four central themes: 

‘Rewind Forward’ looks at past, present and future, ‘Inhabit the Anthropocene’ examines the relationship between humans and the environment, ‘Decoding/Recoding’ concerns economy and digitization, and ‘Collective Super Egos’ will explore hybridity and fluidness in the body.

Through a series of talks, performances and screenings, Narratives of a Near Future 2017 will feature Marguerite HumeauMetahavenJussi Parikka Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil JoreigeJ.G BiberkopfCécile B. EvansKorakrit ArunanondchaiLauren HuretYing Gao and Mathis Gasser, among many others.

Visit the HEAD website for details.**

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A scientist, a time-traveler + a person enter an art space: Mathis Gasser dismantles the nation state in WORLD GUARDS at Cordova

12 October 2017

Mathis Gasser presented solo exhibition WORLD GUARDS at Barcelona’s Cordova Gallery, which ran September 9 to October 6. 

Mathis Gasser WORLD GUARDS (2017) Performance view. Courtesy the artist + Cordova, Barcelona.

The new series, which will continue to develop, takes its title from Passport to Freedom (1992); a book by Garry Davis and Greg Guma, exploring global warfare through a disillusioned lens and attempts to “dismantle the nation-state in its current form.”

The exhibition included an installation and performance informed by “current geo-political conflict, environmental disaster, fantasy, film, and science fiction,” which orchestrated a narrative between three characters and their relationship to the sculptural elements around the space: a scientist, a time-traveler, a ‘human’ wearing a United Nations-like t-shirt.**

Mathis Gasser’s WORLD GUARDS solo exhibition was on at Barcelona’s Cordova Gallery, running September 9 to October 6, 2017.

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National Gallery 2: Empire @ Chewday’s reviewed

20 January 2016

National Gallery 2: Empire, a group exhibition running at London’s Chewday’s gallery from November 23, 2015, to January 8, 2016, involves an architectural intervention. Seventeen works are placed and presented on a dropped down ceiling structure; a metal grid hanging 130 centimetre height from the ground and forcing visitors to bend down to enter, becoming plunged into a virtual underworld. The only way of approaching the art is by navigating beneath the scaffolding and emerging through the few spots around the works which are not covered with transparent tiles.

To linger through the gallery in a distracted manner becomes unfeasible, as the viewer is forced to stand very close to the works, always at the same point in relation to them. A calculated relationship, in which the spectator looks at the works from a superior perspective, is established. Moreover, the usual power dynamics involved in this relationship between architectural and human bodies, where the former are imposed upon the latter, are here inverted.

National Gallery 2: Empire (2015-16). Exhibition view. Courtesy Chewday's, London.
National Gallery 2: Empire (2015-16). Exhibition view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

All the presented works respond to a simple parameter: to fit into one or two standard tile squares. A wide spectrum of dystopian compositions depict a whole material landscape made out of detritus and fragments of all different kinds. Allusions to transparency and decay in addition to everyday life elements, such as technological props and raw materials like sand, wood or resin, hint perhaps to a posthuman condition. One where other kinds of intelligences and materials could take over humanity’s privileged position in the world.

The most prominent figure in the room, placed at the very centre, is of two models stuck together. These models were formerly used in the movies Batman (1989) and War of the Worlds (2005) and together they compose Dora Budor’s piece ‘Where is your office? What do you do exactly? You know things, I think this is what you do. I think you acquire information and turn it into something awful’ (2015). Budor’s work resembles a large-scale dildo and is the only vertical contribution penetrating the show, along with Chadwick Rantanen’s purple ‘Telescopic Pole [RMS Walker Glide Balls/Grey]’ (2015) –some poles built with telescopes, crossing the whole space vertically and stabbed through purple tennis balls –and ‘Untitled (TV)’ (2015): a circular pipe labeled as TV, hanging from the grid by Bryan Dooley.

Andrew Norman Wilson, 'Global Mosquito City Proposal' (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday's, London.
Andrew Norman Wilson, ‘Global Mosquito City Proposal’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

Other works lean on the surface of the tiles, such as Andrew Norman Wilson’s dystopian Global Mosquito City Proposal’ (2015), Magali Reus’ piles of hand-built pans and Lena Henke’s sand boobs. Some works vaguely refer to architectural mock-ups, but others are actual ones, including Stuart Middelton’s spoiled model contained with some cheese and milk in a plastic vacuum bag, or Mathis Gasser’s ‘MAS: Mutual Affluence System’ (2015) made out of resin, wood, plaster and oil. Nicholas Cheveldave’s ‘The Incubator – Friends Helping Friends Grow Stronger’ (2015) is the only sound piece in the show, made with friendship bracelets and forming a plant-hanger-looking web.

Yuji Agematsu,  Gabriele Beveridge, Vincent Fecteau and Sam Lewitt seem to be adapting to the shape of a transparent container, revealing a bunch of miscellaneous entrails, such as hair, stones, paper or hard-drive magnets. A reminiscence of youth and consumerism is enacted by a plastic gremlin holding some cables and a credit card in Danny McDonald’s ‘Identity Crisis’ (2015). Fragments of organic and inorganic bodies are naively distributed and coexist on the canvas of Jill Mulleady and in the white-tree-branch-looking sculpture by Veit Laurent Kurz. Human limbs dance together with green organisms in one, and turn into a tree branch in the other.

National Gallery 2 combines cinematographic imagery with more waste-made compositions and disrupted hierarchical configurations. The dropped ceiling acts as a sort flattening structure which restricts some possibilities while opening up to many others. It feels itself like a small-scale movie set or a table game, that can be experienced through the projection of little strategies. Ultimately, the visitor’s body becomes a part of the structure, making it difficult to discern whether one is inside or outside of the story.**

Exhibition photos here.

The National Gallery 2: Empire group exhibition was on at London’s Chewday’s gallery, running November 23, 2015, to January 8, 2016.

Header image: Danny McDonald, ‘Identity Crisis’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy Chewday’s, London.

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