Man passes there through forests of symbols,
Which observe him with a familiar gaze.
Correspondences, Flowers of Evil, Charles Baudelaire
The exhibition / interf ∆ ce(s) / Tales of Babel springs from the desire to bring together the works of Marion Andrieu, Yann Gerstberger and Zora Mann. Specifically tailored to their practices, the exhibition explores the associations between the works, where they share common ground and how they contrast one another, and touches on the ways in which they echo current societal issues.
The artists utilize a vast number of signs and references in their works, which they juxtapose and combine with no apparent hierarchy. Be it graphic or sculptural details, these elements are reduced to acting as silent signifiers. They are brought to the same level, flattened in a way that reflects “our current relationship with cultural productions”1, in which the use of the Internet and digital devices has become widespread. As the contact point of these disparate elements, the works operate as interfaces.
In Zora Mann’s paintings and engravings, signs are brought to the limits of abstraction. Chosen by the artist for the atmosphere they evoke rather than for their signification, they create hallucinatory and obsessive scenarios. In Yann Gerstberger’s pieces, signs intermix within psychedelic compositions. Marion Andrieu’s works directly refer to the notions of interface and “flattened reality”. They fuse references from various horizons into sculptures that evoke cult objects or religious items.
These three artists are part of a generation for which the interlinking of art and ethnology, as well as the perspectives opened by exhibitions such as Magiciens de la terre (1989), have long been established. Sharing a fondness for cultural crossing, they do not hesitate to search for inspiration in artefacts from foreign cultures or ancient societies. Rather than aiming at a sterilized or technological aesthetic, they play with anachronisms and connect distinctive aspects of our post-digital age—its consumption, mass production and dot.com frenzy—with those of traditional cultures. The totems, shields and vases that appear in their works are endowed with ritual aspects and direct the exhibition towards a world populated with magical beliefs.
Even though the signs and shapes, the artists refer to, reveal a fascination folk art and diversity, this “hybridazation” is maybe to be resituated as a manifestation of a globalized world, in which circulation and appropriation have become the rule. Besides, their works question the occidental gaze on non-Western cultures that have long been associated to exotic stereotyped visions.
1. Francois Aubart, “Yann Gerstberger,” 2012, http://art-o-rama.fr/en/188/artists/146/yann-gerstberger.
All photos Roman März
Haus am Lützowplatz – Studio Galerie
/ interf ∆ ce(s) / Tales of Babel
Marion Andrieu, Yann Gerstberger, Zora Mann
kuratiert von Lucile Bouvard
22.04 — 11.06.2017