Windhager von Kaenel is delighted to present Isabella Fürnkäs’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland.
We used to sleep in our beds. Today, we live in them. Advanced digitalization has progressively capitalized on this intrinsically intimate space. Through our mobile devices, we bring the world into bed with us and, by the same token, expose ourselves to the world in bed. The bed—perhaps the most intimate place of retreat—is thus increasingly becoming a public zone.
In her multi-layered oeuvre, which includes video, multimedia installation, performance, and drawing, Fürnkäs addresses questions of physical and spatial intimacy, the influence of digitalization on interpersonal relationships, and the transformation of social communication patterns. A mattress lies in the middle of the darkened exhibition space. Playing on the slightly rumpled pillows and bed sheets is the video work Siamese Dreams (2021), which was developed specifically for the exhibition in Zurich. The projection consists of specially filmed recordings by the artist that are assembled into a video collage. Close-ups of everyday motifs are rendered alien through this macroscopic perspective and reflect a fascination for the absurdity of the everyday. From this seemingly arbitrary succession of images and the concentrated emotions they elicit, the dreamlike character of the work unfolds, lingering at the interface between remembering and forgetting.
In addition to the video installation, the exhibition includes forty selected drawings from the ongoing work complex Insomnia Drawings (2007–), which are installed in the corner of the room like an opened book. The Insomnia Drawings form what is now a series of around five hundred drawings. They establish free associative spaces for the viewer and reveal the articulations of a mental coping process. The motifs on the Japanese paper in a consistent format range between poetic reflections on the present and non-verbal descriptions of the state of an inner life. Feelings and moments of confusion are expressed in these abstracted depictions—they resemble a memory aid, an archive, or a diary. Through these drawings, we as viewers can become acquainted with the artist’s emotional worlds, and in doing so we can recognize ourselves in them, too.
The exhibition Siamese Dreams creates a space that is highly personal yet accessible to everyone. The artist also experiments with the thresholds between the body and the imagination, the unconscious and the conscious, the individual and the public. It is not so much a matter of defining boundaries, but of exploring these liminal spaces and allowing them to be experienced.
Text by Paula Ursprung
Isabella Fürnkäs (born in Tokyo, lives and works in Berlin and Düsseldorf) is the recipient of the Förderpreis des Landes NRW and a grant from the Cité des Arts in Paris. Her work has been shown at the Kunsthalle Wien, the Sprengel Museum, the Museum Abteiberg, the 13th Dakar Biennale for Contemporary Art, and the Julia Stoschek Collection Project Space in Düsseldorf. Her performances have most recently been shown at Salon Acme in Mexico City, the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Manifesta 11, the Akademie der Künste der Welt, and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin.