Anna-Sophie Berger: Growing Horns
MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38
April 19 – May 24, 2015
„As part of prescriptive medication, a recipe is intended to aleviate or cure. Instructions for personalized application make up its structure as much as its ingredients. The ingredients are composed of a „basis“ intended to cure (curare), an „adjuvant“ to assist its action and make the curing process quick (cito), a „corrective“ to prevent or lessen any undesirable effects (tuto) and a „vehicle“ or „excipient“ to make it suitable for administration and more pleasurable to the patient (jucunde).
Ordinarily a recipe can be an oral or written assignment of specific tasks that make up a new compound entity. Succesfully mixed or performed, it will result in a specific desired outcome. Therefore the rules that make up the structure of a given recipe are compulsory and need to be followed precisely. Changes to the structure have consequence of varying proportion and certain alterations or omissions might lead to a complete failure to achieve the desired result, like bread that doesn’t rise or a cream that stimulates a rash.
A recipe can serve to reconstruct a feeling of identity in a place where one is not at home. It is a means to create an object of familiar features within an unfamiliar context. Since base ingredients might be found universally the recipe allows for a translation, for an ideal transportation.
Naively put, identity is that part of us linked intrinsically to certain feelings, places, people and things we’ve known over time. Language plays a role, as well as experience. The things and people that have touched us and that make up the fragments of our mobile body-born self. If permanence as time spent consecutively in a certain place plays less of a role in a lifestyle unconfined to any one geography or any certain group, and if what we share with others is always different, then we grow more focused on commonalities, while also needing to constantly translate the solid relics of our past attachments. As with any successful translation, we gain while also losing. We lose bits and pieces of what is so clear and close, while desperately trying to pass it through the various sociological, ideological, emotional, and physical filters of a different environment. The conversion might hurt at times.
But, since change is neither good nor bad, it cannot really be considered a loss. Rendering ourselves capable of fragmentation allows a provisional state which enables futility. Recipes are tools for us; we encompass these portable instructions. In exchanging ingredients from specific realities for new material, we are ultimately grasping for understanding.
Afterall a recipe provides cure for the pain we feel while we use it to communicate difference.” – Anna-Sophie Berger
MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Anna-Sophie Berger’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States. Berger belongs to a generation of young artists who reflect on digitization and question its influence on our society. In the exhibition „Growing Horns“, Berger’s photographs and installations enter a close dialog and create a space for empathy and sensuality. A performance, devised together with the artist Dena Yago, will premiere on May 14, 8pm, at the exhibition space.
In „Growing Horns“, Berger focuses on manual processes of material production and their significance for the present time. Her works address the resistance of objects which evade the regulation of commercial use and the logic of the perceiving subject. In this sense, there is a mutability to these works that reveals processes of transformation and transition.
In the exhibition, the goat plays a major role as livestock, myth, and symbol. The three-part photo series „Growing Horns“ (2015) closely documents two cashmere goats that Berger’s parents keep as pets in their home on the countryside. The photographs were taken while the animals were carefully combed for cashmere wool. „losing winter / missing snow“ (2015) displays two white coats knotted at the sleeves. While their pattern is identical, their materiality turns them into objects with different meanings and functions. „a promised cure“ (2015), a fatty ointment that is based on a pharmaceutical formula, extends the focus of the exhibition and questions the promise of medicinal therapies and their effects. All of these works define mimesis as a representation of nature and at the same time reveal how digital technologies filter our perceptions today. Moreover, they draw attention to processes of forgetting and re-appropriation and how this currently influences, determines, and shapes the imitations of traditions.
Moments of sensuality and physical experience play a central role in Berger’s performances. They are usually based on simple gestures that refer to aspects of humanity, coexistence, and the protection of ethical values. For the exhibition, Berger invited the Los Angeles-based artist Dena Yago (born in 1988) to realize a collaborative performance. „in a future april“ (2015) will shift the boundaries of authorship and activate elements of the exhibition. In this sense, the performance presents a rupture in the idea of the exhibition as a static format and enables moments of change within this setting.
Anna-Sophie Berger (born in 1989) studied fashion design and trans-disciplinary art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her approach to the visual arts is characterized by a particular analytical depth and remarkable freedom from genre constraints. In a subtle manner, her textile works, photographs, installations, and performances question the sensuality of materials and disclose invisible processes of commercial production. Since 2012, Berger’s work has been presented in international galleries and institutions. In 2014, she had exhibitions at the 21er Haus, Vienna; JTT, New York; Utopian Slumps, Melbourne; Mathew Gallery, Berlin; Futura, Prague; Rod Barton, London; and Off Vendome, Düsseldorf. Her performances and exhibitions have been reviewed in art magazines such as Artforum, frieze d/e, KubaParis, and Mousse Magazine. Berger currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.