Nick Mauss, Untitled, 2007
The exhibition 'A Different Person' follows the idea of a group exhibition as a dynamic process. The artworks thus function less as an argument for a thesis, but instead develop the dramaturgy of the exhibition intrinsically and in dialogue with each of the other positions.
The title of the exhibition is taken from the memoirs of the American author James Ingram Merrill. By writing his memoirs under the heading of 'a different person', Merrill refers to the draft character of subjectivity: the 'I' is always someone else. It carries the projection or potentiality of the other within itself and always remains a fragment or something provisional. This probing of subjectivity as a precarious and temporary construct forms a central moment of the exhibition.
Birgit Megerle's figurative paintings, for instance, are based on photographs she has taken of models and then newly arranged. Her figures suggest a concrete identity, but one that always eludes being grasped.
They evoke memories of everyday poses and fashions, but they are in their own social reality. The subjects remain strangely enigmatic, their portraits beautiful, but impassive, too distant to let us really come close to them.
Enrico David's works also materialise on the boundary between beautiful appearance and the strangeness of the subconscious. Figures predominate in his images and sculptures, which embody this ambivalence in various roles and models. Sometimes they have a carnivalesque effect, but less cheerful, rather grotesque and angry instead. They are figures of a surreal world, in which the whole discontent of civilisation is expressed and irritates the subject. Conflict is present even in the décor, and elegance closely follows ugliness.
In her film 'Ben', the British artist Emily Wardill outlines a filmic space of the subconscious, in which the narrative and protagonists remain both fragmentary and indeterminate. Eccentrically costumed persons take part in a hypnosis. The sound for the film is spoken sonorously by the hypnotist alternating with a girl's voice reading the psychological study of an unknown man (Ben) with a wavering voice. Voices and setting are the unsteady components of a plot that could tip at any moment.
Text and language are also important components in Josef Strau's artistic practice. His texts treat the conditions of his work and experiment with forms of cultural expression, bringing the figure of the author into play as subject. At the same time, Strau always integrates the texts he has written directly in his pictures and installations. Alphabets, acronyms, or the first letter of his own name are sculptural or spatially presented. For some time now he has been exploring the idea of 'automatic writing' as a presumably 'authentic' and direct realisation of inner states.
Staging and testing oneself in artistic practice is also evident in Michele Di Menna's work in perfect consistency. Performances, texts, collages, costumes, objects, videos and sound revolve in a single project and form the processual space, in which the artist acts. She is interested in materials that she removes from their original context and assigns new purposes to, as well as in fluid substances and forms in a constant process of transformation, such as water or mud.
The moment of the ephemeral and the transformative is present in Nick Mauss' works in a different form. His drawings and sculptures seem sketchy, still unfinished, sensitive and fragile. The artist evades every definition and categorisation, emphasising instead what is fragmentary and elusive in his work: Drawings are started, forgotten, and used again somewhere else as a found fragment. The works are thus in an ongoing process, in which lacunae indicate something that has been taken out or is yet to be set into the picture.
For more information and press images please contact:
Nadja Quante/Badischer Kunstverein, t +49 (0) 721 28226, f +49 (0) 721 29773, firstname.lastname@example.org