Modernist Abstraction in the time of a globalized, post-material and digitized condition generates modes of eclectic appropriation, thus it generates allegories of „modern times“.
In the work of Anna-Sophie Berger and Kay Walkowiak Abstraction is a tool and a metaphor to question Abstraction as an all encompassing form to rule both the aesthetic realm, and the social world, or, the world of housing, dwelling – our bodies.
It takes on impure, proliferating forms – so it is a rhapsody. How then does this paradoxical method of using the pure paradigms of Abstraction and impure, disruptive forms (in order to counteract exactly these paradigms) manifest itself? How do these “citations” assume a posture of critique?
Confronting the works of both artists with one another in each room produces a productive resonance. Making Sense out of Abstraction shows us, how an abstract work of art or an item using its paradigms assumes a completely different meaning once the context of reception is shifted from a Western one to a, say, Indian. New, different sense or no(n)sense is generated, thus the lesson of cultural relativism is conveyed in simple images. The gesture of offering comes into play as a matter of giving (sending) and getting (receiving) with the intermittent space in between filled with misunderstandings, surprise, stupor – constructing new meaning, denoting-connecting. The Scarfs (Could be a scarf. For Aline) play with blurred parameters of Abstraction (the colour, the frame, the material) – all of those are becoming “soft”, impure and literally double-sided. The Scarfs hang on the wall as acquirable art works, but their extracted “womb”, their centre serves to another end – to become a gift, a thing, that is transferrable but not vendible, fabric creatively transformed into clothing, used to invest somebody. This act is solemn, unique and at the same time made disposable for everybody via Instagram. The chain of commodities, the economy of values is “perverted” and thus transformed in both works.
Ritual Union celebrates early Modernism in a late modernist building. The monumental rite has the solemnity of ethereal High Modernism, but the agonistic, uniformed procedure of assembling a gigantic abstract painting on the floor assumes the ironic quality of slapstick. “Who is afraid of red, yellow and blue?” (Barnett Newman) seems to be the question posed also by Ana, out of a series of prints of actually donned clothes. Their surface is not colour and paint on canvas, instead a glossy photography – or skin, i.e. body is pressed onto the cold quality of aluminium.
The City Beautiful represents the high modernist social housing project by Le Corbusier, Candigarh, through the precise gaze of an architectural photographer, as it is implied, emphasizing the paradoxical twist of the beauty of a monument in which to dwell. How to take into account a culture living a completely different concept of dwelling? By adopting, taking possession, and again, by transforming the building through undercurrent and subtle forms of use. – Rather resonating the concept of bricolage, which on the other hand is suggested by the DIY-goods like Albert, that through a brittle and caressing fabric make the inhospitable less alienating and the nomadic cosier. Finally the blue areal/oceanic Scarfs on the floor resonate again a playful mirroring in the opaque game of representation.
Curated by Sabine Folie
All images: Thomas Hitchcock, courtesy well well well and the artists.