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

Robin Mason

Constellation : Konstellation, 2.02 – 2.03.2018

 

5Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

6Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

_MG_9017Robin Mason, Collection, acrylic on paper, approx. 650 x 320 cm. Photo courtesy of Johannes Wende.

 

_MG_9034Robin Mason, Threshold, 2017, acrylic on paper, 175 x 240 cm and Black Forest Lake, 2017, acrylic on paper, four wineglasses, 65 x 42 x 15 cm. Photo courtesy of Johannes Wende.

 

4 (2)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

3 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

2 (1)Robin Mason, Constellation : Konstellation, 2018, installation view

 

As so often with Robin Mason’s work, what first strikes the unaware visitor is its sheer exuberance. The busy installation of works on paper, drawings, paintings and sculpture that is made specifically for GiG Munich, is no different. We enter to a riot of colour, where vibrant oranges, acid yellows, baby pinks and sky blues all vie for our attention. Where there is no colour, a mass of lines takes over, forming waves and swirly patterns – dots and dashes cover any spare surface. Anthropomorphic forms rise up from the ground and grow through and between other forms, twisting around open books or vignettes that give us little views to somewhere else, tree covered landscapes, doorways, windows, more flowers and plants. Pierced by arrows or covered by cloth these forms have an erotic language of their own, some phallic, some clearly female in their appearance. Just when it seems we are able to find some familiar ground, the scale shifts suddenly. Large forms become small and things far away, close by. We find the night sky, reduced in its vastness, low down on the floor, its image only visible from behind and in a mirror.

The work’s exuberance is combined with so many references that it is easy to lose track. Some of these, like those to kitschy Bavarian souvenirs or to the Isenheim Alterpiece, would be familiar to a German audience, others are known to the artist only. Speaking to Mason one hears stories of earlier trips to Germany, of towns visited because of a book once read, of the disappointment of finding the Black Forest, not black but green, and of glasses, all four from a set, that belonged to his parents. The direct reference for the show is the 1609 painting Flight to Egypt by Adam Elsheimer, considered to be the first accurate depiction of the night sky in the Renaissance period.

Hovering above the exhibition is what could be seen as the eye of God and this is perhaps our entry point into the work. For God here, despite the numerous references to North European Christianity, is a Dionysian God, presiding over a world of the will to power, a world of forces and affects, and of the various powers that make up Life. That libidinal drives, both positive and negative, are at work in Mason’s practice is a fact acknowledged by other commentators, who noted that the pleasure apparent in Mason’s paintings tends to give way to feelings of anxiety and dread. I would say that in this exhibition, we enter a sphere in which each element casts influence on another, again positive and negative.   But the trick that Mason conveys so well is of affirmation. As Spinoza, Nietzsche and Deleuze have shown, to affirm brings joy and joy brings us closer to God. In this way, the “constellation” of the title stands for as much the night sky as for the crown of stars, the Corona Borealis, which Dionysus gifted Ariadne and tossed into the heavens.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018

Constellation Saaltext1

Jo Love – Press release

GiG Munich is happy to introduce the work of Jo Love, a British artist living and working in London, course director at Camberwell College of Art, University of Arts London and senior lecturer at the University of Brighton. Jo Love has recently completed her PhD at Chelsea College of Art and Design, and her show at GiG Munich marks the continuation of her research into the viewed surface, the materiality and the time of the printed photographic image. Her work combines drawing with printmaking and photography, and uses the specks of dust found on the surface of the photographic image as the starting point of her investigations.

At GiG Munich Jo Love shows two bodies of work. The first consists of a series of landscape drawings made in collaboration with a senior scientist at the Natural History Museum in London. In this series Jo Love re-draws the electron microscope images of marble and graphite particles in order to reclaim the tactile materiality lost to modern technology. She also imbues the image with a different kind of temporality to that of the digital experience.

In the second body of work, Jo Love draws over a digital print of a video still, covering the inkjet surface with a layer of graphite. Only small pockets of saturated colour are left exposed. Taken together, the two different layers create an optically unstable image, disturbing and disrupting the act of viewing.

Both drawings operate at the limits of human perception and invoke ideas of the technological sublime. As Jo Love states, “My interest lies in constructing images which are resonant with my experience and perception of the world: more fractured, open and complex than the more coherent image can convey, and one that offers an arena within which we can contemplate themes of time, memory and mortality.”