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Solo show: Luc Mattenberger - The Oil, the Metal and the Drop (over)

30 August 2012 until 13 October 2012
  Luc Mattenberger - The Oil, the Metal and the Drop
Luc Mattenberger

Rotwand - Sabina Kohler & Bettina Meier-Bickel
Lutherstrasse 34
8004 Zurich
Switzerland (city map)

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tel +41 (0) 44 - 240 30 55


It is with great pleasure that we announce our first solo exhibition with Luc Mattenberger (*1980, Geneva) at Rotwand.

Fundamental, dynamic processes have always been the focus of the research, which Luc Mattenberger began a few years ago. Paradoxically, however, his visual and iconographic language seems to be based on formal elements rather than on a conceptual or, in more general terms, discursive orientation. In order to understand his work, it is important to recognize the permanent shift and opposition of varyingly connoted forces that characterize his pictorial vocabulary. At first glance the sculptural aspect of his work is very seductive, but the relation of these objects to the space around them has an unresolved quality. Something too direct and too distant prevents them from coinciding with reality. His works could be more aptly described as "prototypes" rather than "sculptures." But he is not a Swiss Panamarenko; the way Mattenberger refers to actions that have already taken place is not exclusively literary, nor is it oriented towards the past with its foregone utopias. In contrast, Mattenberger's works seem detached from the moment in which they were realized. Taking a silent, offensive stance, they assert themselves, nonetheless, and express their deeper understanding through senses other than the visual. Incorporating motors or other elements stemming from the early industrial imagination, the work presents a stance, which is based on the reformulation of an existing mythology-a mythology that can, on one level, potentially be transformed and take a different path. The motor is a carrier and symbol of power but also the source of fundamentally dynamic processes; and it is also a catalyst of the most mysterious matter known to our society: crude petroleum.

In this exhibition specifically conceived for Rotwand the artist addresses the theme of time and the memory of time. He does so by means of a constellation of objects through a range of states-similar to a sequence in which three fundamental states occur in alternation: suspension, balance, and fall. Time is an essential factor of any movement. Movement is actually a force applied over a certain period of time, and any form of acceleration is based on a unit of time. But time extends across multiple, parallel levels. Hydrocarbones can be considered the memory of time, the amnesia of the destruction preceding their creation and also of their former life in the hell of a motor, before they finally get transformed into carbon dioxide. Crude petroleum is, in this sense, like a filter of our (earth's) history, comparable to the red thread running through an unending, never linear narrative-as endless as a ceaselessly falling drop of water, attracted by the gravitational force and rotation of the earth. This falling water drop presents a fascinating, poetic drama but also becomes a form of acoustic torture due to its amplified, constantly repeating, hammering sound.

Text Noah Stolz (Translation Laura Schleussner)

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