the end, my friend
March 30th ľ May 20th 2006
With Magn˙s ┴rnason, Troels Carlsen, Chris Cornish, Philipp Goldscheider, Sigurur Gujˇnsson, Jone Kvie, Tomasz Mrˇz, Szymon Roginski und Sophia Schama; curated by Severin DŘnser.
Spielhaus Morrison Galerie, Reinhardtstra▀e 10, 10117 Berlin Mitte
Opening Reception: March 30th 2006, 6ľ9 p.m.
"An ending with terror is better than a terror without end." - Ferdinand von Schill, from a speech at the market place in Arneburg, May 12th, 1809
The longing for the new. After endless repetitions of what has always existed it is stronger than ever before. Yet before each Phoenix there is the ash, which wanders around in exhibitions and studios, symptomatic of the hope of a new start.
A small atomic mushroom-cloud by Jone Kvie (*1971 in Stavanger/Norway, lives and works in Malmoe/Sweden), cast in metal, is located at the entrance of the exhibition. The sculpture plays with the contrast between the absolute of natural forms and its inherent gesture of destruction. Its polished surface is a stylisation which simply makes it beautiful, but also untouchable. It reflects the environment, absorbing it almost like a post-modern building ľ similarly with the observer, who, as a reflection in the symbol of destruction par excellence, becomes part of the work.
Behind it is projected the video Tate Modern by Chris Cornish (*1979, lives and works in London). In it one sees the museum beside the Thames, albeit just as a fragment of civilization after an atomic explosion. Settings of a non-site are captured with un-focused pictures. A ruin, morbid, surrounded by trees instead of houses, is about to be slowly overgrown. Cornish's computer-simulations stand both for the romantic conception of a nature, which reclaims that which once belonged to it, as well as for an end of the art system and its protagonists - the museums, galleries and institutions, whose banality and transience become evident, facing a catastrophe that is that existential.
In the next room, a ruin is also represented in the large-format work of Sophia Schama (* 1966 in Sofia/Bulgaria, lives and works in Berlin) - in Schama's case however, in the medium of painting. Wooden slats stick out in all directions, burst beams indicate another former dwelling. A bent metal fence stands between the viewer and the building. Now obsolete it marks the end of a social order of possession and non--possession. In front of the fence something pullulates, whose colour reminds us of grass, which here again gains terrain. But contrary to Cornish's work it is not nature here that intervenes in the events, but abstraction, which begins to cover the picture from the side. Thus a media-immanent discourse, a notion of the end of painting with and by abstraction. But as history shows the presumed-dead live longer.
With his contribution to the exhibition, a performance for the opening, Philipp Goldscheider (*1976, lives and works in Vienna/Austria) also points this out. As "junkie" he lived on the streets for many years, bodily experiencing living a life on the edge of the precipice. Meanwhile he found his way back to a more regulated life through art, his work drawing from this history. In his performances he recites his own texts, of death, yearning, addiction and hopelessness, being unparalleled in terms of authenticity and intensity.
The social isolation which Goldscheider describes in his texts, returns in changed form in the videos of Sigurur Gujˇnsson (*1975, lives and works in ReykjavÝk/Iceland). In Death Bed a hooded main character explores a decayed house in the wasteland. The figures he encounters appear faceless - it is left open as to whether they are real figures or just imaginations and memories of the protagonist. In the end the video leaves one only with a vague notion of a mysterious situation in a post-apocalyptic scene, exposed to the insanity of a lonely settler.
In the same room this atmosphere of an extinct doomed species is again underlined by the installation of Magn˙s ┴rnason (*1977, lives and works in ReykjavÝk/Iceland). His work covers the magical and nightmarish, taking advantage of the subliminal in a play between curiosity and fear. ┴rnason's worlds are constructions of a natural environment, which one could describe as a counter concept to paradise and which are inhabited by mythical figures. For the exhibition he has created an installation which deals with the organic forms of the life in the soil. Inspired by documentaries of Richard Attenborough he gives free rein to human primal fear of the laws of eat or be eaten, by the oversizing of a microcosmos.
In the next room human chasms manifest themselves in sculpture by Tomasz Mrˇz (*1975 in Opole/Poland, lives and works in Poznan/Poland). He reduces humans to biological functions, almost certifying a biological determination. A sculpture shows a naked man, spread-legged on the floor. His head is leaning backwards, the mouth wide-open. In the corresponding video one sees a set of mutant-similar creatures in white smocks. On a conveyor-belt they prepare minced meat and pour it down the figure's throat. The directly excreted meat is immediately administered again to the scultpure - a vicious circle, which the man must motionless witness. The stout creature reminds us of the deep instincts dormant within us and is at the same time an allusion to a moral club engrained in our culture, floating over our heads, promising to judge our terrestrial doings.
The consequence of an assumed, collective and otherworldly redemption of the debt by the terrestrial extinction of mankind becomes evident in the photographs of Szymon Roginski (*1975 in Danzig/Poland, lives and work in Warsaw/Poland). His - as he himself calls them - "post-apocalyptic landscapes" are deserted and oppress through a pessimistic view of the remains of a society: abandoned architecture with still-functioning infrastructure.
As Roginski engages the aesthetics of computer games, so-called ego shooters in the good old survival of the fittest manner, humans in the world of Troels Carlsen (*1973, lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark) have already completely disappeared. His work tells of an ape society, whose culture likewise is in decline. The leftovers of his post-apocalyptic ape community, the youths, lie in a Sleeping Beauty slumber. Attached to milk-cartons they are cockered-up, in complete child-like innocence awaiting the new beginning.