“Nothing” installation view
All images courtesy of the artist.
The work Lou Jaworski shows at GiG Munich operates in a context, which could be understood in Speculative Realist terms. The “Nothing” of the exhibition title refers not so much to the sparse, almost minimal quality of the work, nor to the commonplace understanding of nihilism as the questioning of the worth of existence, but rather to the definition given by Ray Brassier. He presents nothing as a consequence of the realist conviction that there is a reality independent from us, oblivious to the values and meanings we ascribe to it. In Jaworski’s work, “nothing” is taken as a speculative opportunity, to show thinking has other interests than those circling ceaselessly around man.
For the exhibition Jaworski presents a number of small objects, all of which refer to the otherworldly – to something outside the bounds of human experience. The human hand is absent from the magnet sculpture, which has formed from its own accord. A pencil has filling made of meteorite dust, first formed together with our solar system, well before the beginning of man. These objects act as indexes for the non-relational, in that they contain elements, which we, as the thinking human subject, cannot experience. Quentin Meillassoux would describe these as “arche-fossils,” in that they contain traces, not of past life forms, but of a time prior to the emergence of life.
As such, the work welds the same power the arche-fossil has, in that it questions the kind of correlationist thinking characteristic of critical philosophy, where reality is considered never in-itself, but always in relation to us. To begin thinking reality in-itself Meillassoux proposes the principle of absolute contingency, meaning, the arbitrary and radically unpredictable of transformation of things from one moment to the next. Likewise, all the objects in the exhibition feature this radical sense of transformation. What is ever slightly so wondrous about Jaworski’s work is that one does not know where it might lead. Beyond the human, yes, but also beyond what can be expected. The gleaming structure of a display unit is disrupted by spilt water; a pencil contains traces of the early universe; gold can be found in the eye of a needle. Contingency is approaching an object and not knowing where it might take you.
Magdalena Wisniowska 2017
For his solo exhibition at GiG Munich, Tim Bennett (b. 1973, Rochdale) has created a new body of work, consisting of one large freestanding panel, Untitled (Viel Geld und kleines Glied, kauf’ er sich doch ne Glockenbachsuite), one small type painting, Untitled (Wir wollen euch nicht ihr huhren kinder) and one column-like structure resting on tangled steel, Standing Still. The starting point for the work was the process of gentrification, especially visible in the surrounding Glockenbach area. The plasterboard panels incorporate graffiti slogans, including one seen recently on the side of the newly built Glockenbachsuiten; Standing Still resembles a re-enforced concrete column, as found on a building site, toppled over during a rampage.
Despite its political aspects, the work is not intended to be a critique of the capitalist system of which gentrification is only a symptom. It is neither the kind of critical political art found many cultural institutions, nor a provocative gesture along the lines of urban artists such as Banksy. Instead, by acknowledging the all-subsuming nature of capitalism, Tim Bennett works from within. He takes a graffiti slogan and quite literally, by carefully remaking it in plaster, gentrifies it.
His work engages with the structure of disavowal characteristic of corporate anti-capitalism. Such is the time in which we live that most if not all anti-capitalist gestures have been incorporated within the capitalist system, alternative cultures given space in the mainstream. Graffiti slogans are a particularly ineffectual kind of protest, precisely because they offer us the space for rebelliousness – who doesn’t find these slogans a little bit funny? – while leaving us free to participate in capital exchange without guilt or shame. Their kind of protest leaves our status as consumers intact.
By incorporating corporate anti-capitalism structure of disavowal within his work, Tim Bennett’s Beletage demonstrates how we are participants in the process of gentrification we allegedly deplore. He does so however, with humour and good grace.
Beletage, Tim Bennett’s first show for GiG Munich takes gentrification as a theme. Taking the anger evident in the scribbles and defacement of gentrified property as his starting point, he incorporates these acts of destruction into his formal sculpture. “Yuppies verpisst euch” can be glimpsed in the large, freestanding picture made of plasterboard; a broken reinforced column stands precariously in front of it, as if left behind after some kind of rampage.
The work dissects the mechanisms of protest, to demonstrate the extent of our complicity in the workings of capital. It acknowledges our current inability to offer any viable political-economic alternative to the capitalist system.
Tim Bennetts erste Ausstellung für die GiG Munich – „Beletage“ – setzt sich mit dem Thema Gentrifizierung auseinander. Indem er die Wut, die sich in den Schmierereien und Verunstaltungen von gentrifiziertem Eigentum als Ausgangspunkt seines Werks nimmt, integriert er diese Akte der Zerstörung in seine formellen Skulpturen. „Yuppies verpisst euch“ kann man in dem großen, freistehenden Bild aus Gips lesen; eine gebrochene, verstärkte Säule steht gefährlich nah davor als ob sie so nach einer Randale einfach zurückgelassen worden wäre.
Die Arbeit analysiert den Mechanismus des Protests, um unser Ausmaß an Komplizenschaft bezüglich der Funktionsweise des Kapitals deutlich zu machen. Es bestätigt unsere aktuelle Unfähigkeit irgendeine realistische politisch-wirtschaftliche Alternative zum kapitalistischen System zu finden.
trans. Nadja Gebhardt
Hope to see everyone there!
Exercise as an activity that aims to improve physical, technical or mental performance is not immediately associated with the practice of painting. It is foremost repetitive – mindlessly so – and despite Duchamp’s well-known phrase “stupid as a painter,” painters do not like to think of themselves as stupid. Nevertheless exercise also demands a deeper understanding of the activity requiring improvement and here lies the question behind the exhibition: what can be exercised in painting? What must be determined before embarking on a future exercise programme?
The exhibition “exercises” brings together two artists, Jenny Forster (b. 1979, Germany) and Mary Ramsden (b. 1984, Harrogate, England) precisely because they take these questions as a starting point for their practice. Both painters produce their abstract compositions analytically, breaking down painting to its constituent components before exercising them separately. For the exhibition Mary Ramsden shows a series of smaller works on panel together with one small canvas. These consist of as little as one or two black marks, some partially erased, hovering above a sweep of off-white glossy paint. Her work’s characteristic tension between doing and undoing is created through the slightest of shifts in intensity or scale. In contrast, Jenny Forster works with a much wider range of elements. Her three large paper pieces include multi-coloured ink swirls, dramatic cuts and smudges of pastel. Unlike Ramsden, Forster also engages with painting’s capacity for illusion, treating the traditional perspective of her sources as yet another element in need of potential exercise. She does however share Ramsden’s concern with the processes of doing and undoing, often wiping or cutting away painted elements to reveal the ground underneath. Ramsden might cut out and paste a single black piece of paper; Forster carves up and recombines large parts of her work. If the ink swirls and watercolour drips of Forster’s pieces seem almost accidental this collage technique lends the work control. The need for control is also present in Ramsden practice, but here it is more apparent in the repetition of certain elements and gestures.
Magdalena Wisniowska 2017
GiG Munich is delighted to present “Exercises,” an exhibition that brings together new work by two painters, Mary Ramsden and Jenny Forster.
Taking their abstract compositions as a starting point, “Exercises” attends to the different ways these two painters build up a practice over time. It sets up a dialogue between the works to note how these developments may occur.
Mary Ramsden (b. 1984, Harrogate, England) presents a series of smaller works on panel, where each mark made and cancelled counts towards the creation of a tension between doing and undoing. In contrast, Jenny Forster’s (b. 1979, Germany) larger, more exuberant works on paper enjoy the drama of each swirl of ink, sudden paper cut and smudge of pastel.