Hereafter – Cezary Poniatowski & Sami Schlichting @ Mélange, Cologne

We apologies for the possible inconvenience of having dirty shoes after leaving the space. It’s the artists work, appreciate it; please. It nicely smells of rabbit cage and feels strangely cluttered, so we are happy. In the following, a loose string of allusions:

A description, which is somewhat unrelated to the show:

The French journalist Marie is surprised by a tsunami during her vacation.Miraculously, she survives. The young Marcus must witness how a beloved person is killed in a car accident. The American factory worker George is desperate because his gift of talking to people from beyond the world is a burden to him because he can not have a normal relationship.

[Google plot summary for Hereafter, 2011. 85% of the users liked this movie]

I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am. The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. […] Instead, I must ask you to join my disorder of crates that have been wrenched open, t he air saturated with the dust of wood, the floor covered with torn paper, to join me among piles of volumes that are seeing daylight again after two years of darkness, so that you may be ready to share with me a bit of the mood. […] Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector´s passion borders on the chaos of memories. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously prsent in the accustomed confirm of these books.

[Excerpt: Benjamin, Walter: Ich packe meine Bibliothek aus, in: Walter Benjamin. Gesammelte Schriften, Suhrkamp, Berlin 1991]

Still: Poniatowski’s and Schlichting’s pieces feel like this plot, and most importantly, that there is also a car present. They are defragmented objects. In Poniatowski’s case they are covered in faux leather and headliner material, with air dugs, vents and other familiar moments, but with an unactivated function. For Schlichting we find his favored combination of clay and hay in amorphous structures which sit enthroned on plinths of a similar surface.

Since the beginning of the year the artists Cezary Poniatowski and Sami Schlichting are bouncing ideas about their works, their research and their ideas for our space back and forth. They finally settled on the process that is made accessible in ‘Hereafter’: a claustrophobic, estranged storage space-esque situation, in which the works seem to be in a state of flux; neither settled nor finished. The chaotic structure as a result of an artistic exchange, the unfinished appearance are key elements of the show, trying to push the ideas of the individual objects towards a time where they are neither artworks nor simple volumes in a storage compartment.

-Text by MÉLANGE, September 6, 2019
An exhibition in collaboration with Lucas Hirsch (Düsseldorf) & Galeria Stereo (Warsaw)

MÉLANGE