Dennis Buck – All Exclusive @Limbo

Pictures by Paul Niedermayer

Limbo kicks off the new year with the exhibition All Exclusive by Dennis Buck.
On canvas, glass, plastic and other materials, the artist constructs images, in which colour fields meet rather plain elements, numbers and letters. Using a silicone gun to write most of the characters, they reveal the work’s year of manufacture and/or the name of the artist in various forms. Here and there, Buck’s private mobile number appears as well. Often, the typography looks as though a schoolchild had been diligently trying for a meticulously uniform handwriting to show to the authorities. In other works, the characters, always inhabiting a quintessential role in Buck’s compositions, are variedly modulated or heavily abstracted: a huge “DB” is barely able to be squeezed in between the edges of the canvas, while elsewhere the letter combination “BUCK” is rhythmically repeated, staggering over the plastic surface. Humorously, Buck’s gestures of self-reflexivity, found in painting, sculpture and installation, play with artist-identity and the practice of signature, as well as authorship concepts by using materials, whose obstinacies, at times, seem to initiate aesthetic processes themselves.

Whereas the artist once held an exclusive position within society, today’s ubiquitous imperative for creativity demands the “creative self-transformation” of each and every one. Sociologist Andreas Reckwitz identifies this as a desideratum not only artists are constantly pushing for nowadays. Closely linked are the striving for authenticity and uniqueness, as they are used to influence one’s positioning within today’s markets. Having been established in the arts for a long time already, self-entrepreneurship now has an overall societal impact as well. Nobody can avoid creating their own brand and expanding their carefully maintained and steadily optimized network. Today, society’s constantly changing projections on the arts and its protagonists also seem to be increasingly characterized by a desire for authenticity and immediacy. The ubiquity of performative practices and keywords such as immersion testify to this as well as a recent trend, which was diagnosed by artist and theoretician Hito Steyerl, finding that Q&As with artists in the context of their exhibitions now seem to be perceived as more relevant than the shows themselves. Steyerl relates this multifaceted longing for physical (“real”) presence to an economy of presence that drives art and society, calling it the “terror of total Dasein”.

All Exclusive plays with Dennis Buck’s presence. Using transparent foil of various colours to almost entirely line it from within, Buck has staged the vitrine in an atmospheric and nearly auratic way with simplest means. Now, it demands attention from all perspectives. At its bottom, Buck has placed a simple, white T-shirt. As part of his act of appropriation, he has removed Limbo’s otherwise present logo from the glass pane and integrated the conventional exhibition labelling with silicone at various positions in the installation. The question of whether the left-behind garment is an “authentic” piece by the artist might reflect society’s lust for the authentic. It appears that the carefully executed silicone sausages, however, aim to clarify who’s really at centre stage: DB exclusively. Indicating he is the one responsible, Buck even signs with his telephone number twice. DB is available – Get in touch: +4915224146263.

Viktor Hömpler