Plastique Fantastique

Zero Time

30.11.2019 – 17.01.2020

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-1Plastique Fantastique, Zero Time, 2019, exhibition view

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-2Plastique Fantastique, Zero Time, 2019, exhibition view

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-3Plastique Fantastique, Zero Time, 2019, exhibition view

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-4Plastique Fantastique, Zero Time, 2019, exhibition view

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-5Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Comic Communique:The Story of Cimon, BoDroNo, Eurnikern, NanOr/5, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, Ribbons, Plywood, Silver Blankets, 2400 x 2400 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-6Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Comic Communique:The Story of Cimon, BoDroNo, Eurnikern, NanOr/5, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, Ribbons, Plywood, Silver Blankets, 2400 x 2400 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-7Plastique Fantastique, Zero Time, 2019, exhibition view

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-9Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Avatars: Nan0r/5, BoDroNo, Drone Monkey, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, 2200 x 1400 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-10Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Avatars: Termites, Pixel, Funnel Face, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, 2200 x 1400 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-12Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Avatars: Nan0r/5, BoDroNo, Drone Monkey, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, 2200 x 1400 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-13Plastique Fantastique, Plastique Fantastique Avatars: Termites, Pixel, Funnel Face, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, 2200 x 1400 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-17Plastique Fantastique, CIMON, 2019, Polystyrene, Ribbons, Paint, Foam, I-Pad Screen, 500 x 500 x 500 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-18Plastique Fantastique, CIMON, 2019, Polystyrene, Ribbons, Paint, Foam, I-Pad Screen, 500 x 500 x 500 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-19Plastique Fantastique, CIMON, 2019, Polystyrene, Ribbons, Paint, Foam, I-Pad Screen, 500 x 500 x 500 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-20Plastique Fantastique, Spacehex Dragon, 2019, Digital Print, Plywood, Wood, Ribbons, Metal and Wood Table, Perspex, 2200 x 1000 x 800 mm

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-21Plastique Fantastique, Spacehex Dragon, 2019, Digital Print, Plywood, Wood, Ribbons, Metal and Wood Table, Perspex, 2200 x 1000 x 800 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-22Plastique Fantastique, Spacehex Dragon, 2019, Digital Print, Plywood, Wood, Ribbons, Metal and Wood Table, Perspex, 2200 x 1000 x 800 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-23Plastique Fantastique, Spacehex Dragon, 2019, Digital Print, Plywood, Wood, Ribbons, Metal and Wood Table, Perspex, 2200 x 1000 x 800 mm (detail)

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-24Plastique Fantastique, Mars Earth Sigil, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, Ribbons, Plywood, 3000 x 1400 mm
Plastique Fantastique, Witches Ladder, 2019, Rope, Feathers, Dimensions Variable

 

am_Plastique-Fantastique-25Plastique Fantastique, Mars Earth Sigil, 2019, Digital Prints, Magnets, Ribbons, Plywood, 3000 x 1400 mm
Plastique Fantastique, Witches Ladder, 2019, Rope, Feathers, Dimensions Variable
photos: Jonah Gebka, Magdalena Wisniowska

 

To a certain extent we are all used to the idea that art involves fiction. The events described by a novel are not real, neither is the play performed in the theatre, nor the bunch of flowers painted on a canvas. When Plastique Fantastique presents “Zero Time,” an exhibition which deals with a question familiar from science fiction – whether we, as a people, should stay on planet earth and try to sort out our mess, or whether we should leave instead, and seek our future elsewhere – it is tempting to think that the exhibition with its video, performance and installation, is that which is fictional. But this is not what the work demands from us. The kind of “fictioning” pursued by Plastique Fantastique shows that it is our reality, and not the video or performance, which is fictional – they disrupt the structures of our dominant world order to reveal them as myth. 

It is not that the exhibition presents a fiction, but involves the practice of “fictioning”.  Plastique Fantastique is an art collective of Simon o’Sullivan, David Burrows,  Alex Marzeta,  Vanessa Page and Benedict Drew. Simon o’Sullivan , professor of Art Theory and Practice in the department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths and David Burrows, Reader in Fine Art at the Slade, work in theory as much as in practice, and they define the meaning of “fictioning” in their 2019 book, Fictioning: The Myth Functions of Contemporary Art and Philosophy. In their introduction, they trace the concept of fictioning philosophically through Plato’s contaminated opposition between poetry and philosophy – poetry being fictional, philosophy, having to do with truth – showing how more recently Deleuze replaces this opposition with Nietzsche’s fantastic theatre of metamorphosis. They also show how the tension between fiction and truth has been addressed by contemporary art, arguing that there is an efficacy of fiction when it is experienced as fact.  As a performative gesture fictioning is generative of social identities and relations. It brings about a truth which does not yet exist by fictioning it.

I like to understand the shift in relations produced by their performative fiction, in terms of the experience this kind of fictioning engenders.  It is not the relation of a predetermined human subject to its equally determined object. It is rather, the chaosmotic process of combining the sensory event with its network of associations, an affection and all the affects beyond experience, which it harbours. The ‘I’ is not what experiences the work of art. The ‘I’ here is produced in the encounter. When I engage with art I like to think this involves a different “I” to my everyday one, maybe there isn’t even an “I” here to speak of, but the complete participation in a creative activity. 

Plastique Fantastique creates a world very different from our own: a more colourful one, more glamorous, glittery, extravagant.  A future techonologically advanced world, but also a medieval, mystical one. It runs parallel to ours and we are welcome to visit it anytime Plastique Fantastique might exhibit or perform. 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Plastique Fantastique

Zero Time

30.11.2019 – 17.01.2020

 

plastique postcard front

 

Opening: Saturday 30th of November, 7-9 pm

performance: 8pm

 

Trouble… Trouble on the ground… Extinction Beckons… Many disappear… But you survive…  Tech-animals are resourceful… Some stay with the trouble on the ground and find new ways of living… Many live in Zero City, which is not a place but an artilect intelligence, and sign up to zero production, zero consumption, zero-hours contracts… Material life becomes minimal but profitable at least for some… information is Deliver00’d in zero time… Others see a future off-ground and look to the sky… higher than the clouds, higher than where blue turns to fire, higher than darkness… to the Moon, Mars and beyond… banking on artilect and intelligence to build a city on Mars… but artilects have ideas of their own and… and make for Mars on their own, for a friend’s rendezvous… a society of a kind… so begins the first day of Mars Year Zero…

Through drawing, digital prints, sculpture, film and performance, the London-based collective Plastique Fantastique address what was once Science Fiction but now material for the news, the choice of finding ways of living with the trouble on Earth or pursuing off-world futures. In Zero Time, Plastique Fantastique tell the tales of those who choose to remain and those who look to leave, and also those who have no choice but to flee to find safe haven. Zero Time incorporates work from two recent exhibitions in London, part one Zero City at IMT Gallery, and part two, Mars Year Zero at Dilston Gallery, SPG. For the opening of the show, The group will perform a sonic fiction ‘We Live by the Left Hand of Darkness,’ about the first days of Mars Year Zero.

 Recent exhibitions and performances by Plastique Fantastique include: Mars Year Zero Dilston Gallery, SPG London 2019; Mars Year Zero Performance for ‘Today is Our Tomorrow’, Publics Helsinki 2019; Zero City IMT Gallery London 2019; ‘Shonky’, Hayward Touring Show travelling to MAC Belfast, DCA Dundee, Bury Art Gallery and Museum 2017-18; ‘They Call Us Screamers’, TULCA Galway.

 

Mit Zeichnungen, Digitaldrucken, Skulpturen, Filmen und Performances spricht das Londoner Kollektiv Plastique Fantastique die aus Science Fiction bekannte Frage an, ob man auf einer unruhigen Erde bleiben oder eine Zukunft außerhalb der Welt verfolgen soll. In Zero Time erzählt Plastique Fantastique die Geschichten von denen, die bleiben und die gehen wollen, und auch von denen, die keine andere Wahl haben als zu fliehen. Zero Time enthält Arbeiten aus zwei kürzlich in London durchgeführten Ausstellungen, Teil 1: Zero City in der IMT Gallery und Teil 2: Mars Year Zero in der Dilston Gallery, SPG. Zur Eröffnung der Ausstellung wird die Gruppe eine Sonic-Fiktion über die ersten Tage des Marsjahres Null “We Live by the Left Hand of Darknesst” inszenieren.

Zu den jüngsten Ausstellungen und Performances von Plastique Fantastique gehören: Mars Year Zero Dilston Gallery, SPG London 2019; Mars Year Zero Performance für „Today is Our Tomorrow“, Publics Helsinki 2019; Zero City IMT Gallery London 2019; “Shonky”, Hayward Wanderausstellung zu MAC Belfast, DCA Dundee, der Bury Art Gallery und dem Museum 2017-18; “They Call Us Screamers”, TULCA Galway.

 

 

project_funded

 

Maria MVier

Vier

12.10 – 23.11.2019

 

sVrg1-5_DSC0813Vier, 2019, installation view

 

3_DSC0275Vier, 2019, installation view

 

4_DSC0620Vier, 2019, installation view

 

rg1-3_DSC0639Vier, 2019, installation view

 

rg3_DSC0702o. T. [ scarlet red and sap green ], 2019, Indian ink on chromolux, 70 x 100 cm

 

12_DSC0475Vier, 2019, installation view

 

9_DSC0629o. T. [ scarlet red and sap green ], 2019, Indian ink on chromolux, 70 x 100 cm

 

22_DSC0406Vier, 2019, installation view

 

13_DSC0395o.  T. , 2019, Stinging nettles,  black plastic, dimensions variable, detail

 

15_DSC0480o.  T. , 2019, Stinging nettles,  black plastic, dimensions variable, detail

 

20_DSC0482 o.  T. , 2019, Stinging nettles,  black plastic, dimensions variable, detail

 

23_DSC0752o. T. [black ], 2019, Indian ink on newsprint, 42 x 60 cm

 

26_DSC0755o. T. [black ], 2019, Indian ink on newsprint, 42 x 60 cm

 

28_DSC0780o. T. [black ], 2019, Indian ink on newsprint, 42 x 60 cm

 

pd_DSC0816Dear Fear, 2019, reading performance

 

When Adorno was writing his Aesthetic Theory in the 50s and 60s, he could still make the claim, now by all accounts obsolete, that the experience of art is akin to the experience of natural beauty.  “Authentic artworks,” he writes, “hold fast to the idea of a reconciliation with nature by making themselves completely a second nature.” Although already wary of man’s subjugation of nature,  Adorno still believed it was possible to find beauty, if not in nature, then in art that we experience as if it was nature. He would argue we find certain objects in nature beautiful because these present themselves in such a way that allow us to do so.  Artworks are like a second nature because they also allow us to find beauty in them. Genius is nothing more than the creative principle by which this second nature can be produced.

Postmodern and especially feminist critique put this association of natural beauty with the beauty of art into question. While there might be objects that seem to engender claims of beauty, these are by large culturally determined by race, gender or class. Genius is not an innate principle but a historical concept, very much misogynistic in origin, that by definition excludes women from the production of art. So what would it mean to address natural beauty in art now? How can one as an artist approach the problem of nature?

These are some of the questions central to Maria VMier’s practice, and especially to the body of work she presents at GiG Munich, developed during her recent residency at a remote location in Uckermark, near Berlin. On the one hand, the reading she presents to us is a result of her research into the closely connected structures of patriarchy, capitalism and disenchanted nature, taking into account both feminist critique and postcolonial discourse. On site at Uckermack she would walk with her audience to various locations in the surrounding countryside to reflect on her relationship to nature while also referring to our current ecological crisis (the burning of the amazon, climate change denial and climate activism), the political consequences of capitalism’s belief in progress for postcolonial struggles in the global south and ecofeminist attempts to define the common as future sites of resistance. In her writing there is a Thoreau-like longing for a simpler existence within nature as well as the rejection of  hipster or even non-western spirituality, tainted as it is by the colonial representation of the other.

On the other hand her drawings are not so dissimilar to the paintings by Wols that Adorno was writing about more than 60 years ago. Black, scarlet and sap green ink on paper, meandering and interweaving brushstrokes – these formal elements recall the conventions of lyrical abstraction and in their modernism seem to pursue the image of a second nature. But the work also acknowledges that if this image is to be achieved at all it must be done knowingly, the exhibition constructed in such a way to expose the dialectics involved in all our dealings with nature. The meandering arabesques of VMiers large drawings are done on paper more suited to digital printouts than the handmade; the delicate smaller works are pinned like specimens behind plastic covers; the shamanistic frame of drying stinging nettles is set above a shimmering floor of the same plastic sheeting that is used to kill weeds. VMier’s drawings pursue a second nature almost stubbornly, aware of all the historical, political and personal difficulties involved. 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Justina Becker

24.05 – 12.07.2019

 

P1030657Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

justina28Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030722Justina Becker, untitled, 2019, antique wooden windowframe and egg tempera, dimensions variable

 

Justina14Justina Becker, 2019, installation view
justina26Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030736Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030735Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

Justina12Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030700
Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030699Justina Becker, o.T., 2015, egg tempera and canvas strips, 20 x 32  cm
P1030716Justina Becker, o.T., 2015, egg tempera on canvas, 20 x 32 cm

 

P1030719Justina Becker, o. T., 2015, egg tempera on canvas,  20 x 32 cm

 

P1030686Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

Justina3Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

Justina4Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

Justina2Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

All things have a strangeness to them for those who care to look. Their foreignness has been long recognised, whether this takes the form of the thing-in-itself, never to be experienced or trauma, first defined as that which acts like a foreign body in the mind.  We notice the strangeness of objects for instance, when blunt or broken they stop being useful and they turn away from us and each other.  Justina Becker pays close attention to things in their strangeness. The objects she incorporates in her practice are always things that she finds close by, in her house or in the small town where she lives, and almost always, these things have been abandoned, damaged in some regard, without a use. The objects have a history to them – even the viewer not privileged enough to know more of their background, the wheres and hows they came about, can recognise the signs of their previous use. They retain a sense of having lived their own life, among other people and other objects. 

Having studied painting to graduate with Klasse Hildebrand,  Justina Becker approaches her objects with the eye of a painter. Her older work was concerned with the material qualities of painting. How the canvas goes around the stretcher would be important or the way that the canvas keys fit tightly into the corner of a frame.  A shift in her practice occurred when she discovered the readymade and began to use things that previously belonged to someone else. Initially she would wrap these objects in various ways. Some would be covered in a layer of light, sheer fabric almost like a shroud, others would be tightly wound with brightly coloured woollen thread. This protective gesture had a double meaning. On the one hand, it would be a way of hiding the object, obscuring its material qualities and past histories. On the other hand, the object would never be completely covered and through the various gaps and imperfections, its material history would become even more apparent. 

The current exhibition at GiG, shows two of Justina Becker’s older paintings together with a new body of work. One seems at first a straightforwardly abstract, but gives the illusion of a painting shrunk and stretched, the other, consisting of strips of canvas wrapped tightly like a bandage around a stretcher, utilises this double gesture of hiding and revealing. They provide a kind of framework for the new work, a complex installation of hanging window frames, made specifically for the exhibition room at GiG. The wooden windows frames are old, perhaps antique, but with none of the antique’s preciousness. They have been removed and replaced with something better and less rickety, glass taken out, the wood still having some kind of value, even if just as kindling for the fire. These frames have been partially painted by the artist in sympathetic colours and rehanged in the space no longer as windows, or even as architectural elements that would divide the room, but simply for themselves, in their best light. Justina Becker’s work takes on here an almost theatrical element, but the stage she sets is curiously not for us, the viewer, awaiting some kind of grand spectacle. The room in its theatricality is now left for the objects to be in.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Susanne Wagner

Angelina

29.03 – 11.05.2018

Angelina 1-2

Susanne Wagner, Angelina, 2018, installation view. Photo courtesy Susanne Wagner.

 

Angelina 2

Susanne Wagner, Angelina, 2018, 77 x 40 x 40 cm, painted ceramic. Photo courtesy Susanne Wagner.

 

Angelina 3
Susanne Wagner, Angelina, 2018, 77 x 40 x 40 cm, painted ceramic. Photo courtesy Susanne Wagner.

 

Angelina 4

Susanne Wagner, Angelina, 2018, 77 x 40 x 40 cm, painted ceramic. Photo courtesy Susanne Wagner.

 

Angelina 5

Susanne Wagner, Angelina, 2018, 77 x 40 x 40 cm, painted ceramic. Photo courtesy Susanne Wagner.

 

GiG Munich is excited to present Angelina, the solo exhibition by German video artist and sculptor, Susanne Wagner.

For the exhibition Wagner has produced a new body of work, a large-scale, site-specific floor installation consisting of seventy seven almost identical square ceramic tiles, each 40 x 40 cm individual tile topped by a slightly large than life dome of the female breast. These tiles are arranged in the exact centre of the room in a diagonal grid-like fashion, four or five tiles across, seventeen tiles deep. They are also painted to emphasise this diagonal pattern, again with each tile divided into quarters, or four squares, all in bright, non-primary colours. To stand at the doorway and to look down at the work is to see a pleasing check-board pattern of squares and undulating lines, salmon pinks, lemon yellows and different shades of brown moving across the room.

The arrangement recalls postmodern critiques of originality, best articulated by Rosalind Krauss in her 1986 essay, ‘Originality of the Avant-garde.’ As she argued, any work that makes use of the grid, cannot lay claim to originality, because the grid is a visual device that can only bear repeating. The same way there is no original and unique grid, there is no unique and original art object. Instead, Krauss rewrites the art object as text, whose meaning is determined by the relation it has with other texts. As a text the work of art has no point of origin and no essence; it is only something that can be endlessly reconfigured. In the case of Wagner’s floor piece, even though each tile is handmade and therefore has unique quality, none can claim to be the one original tile, more meaningful than the other.

But what makes Wagner’s work so exciting is that this repetition pertaining to postmodernism’s discussions of originality is complicated by another kind of repetition arising from a very different kind of discourse. For readers of Judith Butler, it has a performative aspect that addresses the ways in which the categories of gender are constructed in a heterosexual normative society. In this way, it is also very timely, considering that in our current era of ♯MeToo activism, many of the norms consolidating sexual and gender hierarchy are being questioned.  It comes down to Wagner’s use of the breast. The female breast is a primary sexual characteristic but it also functions as a signifier of gender. Real women have breasts – and much of the uproar surrounding Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy had to do with our identification of her as the well-endowed Laura Croft, video game sex symbol supreme.  By isolating, enlarging and repeating the form of the female breast Wagner demonstrates that gender is not a given fact. It is neither an expression of some internal essence, nor is it an objective ideal to which we may aspire to. Gender is something we perform, meaning it is brought about through certain acts on our part. And these are repetitive and often mundane, so much so, that they give gender the illusion of a stable identity. The gender identity we take for granted – with all the notions of ‘real womanhood’ that this assumes – are revealed to be nothing more than a re-enactment of a set of meanings already socially and culturally established.

What this means in turn is that the same acts, which give the illusion of stable identity are also the ones that reveal it to be illusory at the moment repetition fails.  Wagner’s work alerts us to the fact that the same process of repetition, which constructs the gender categories binding us, could also be the key to their undoing.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018