Walking over chunks of bark. The sound of a slightly unsettling buzzing from the ceiling. The sweet smell of beeswax mixes with pine in the nostrils. Passing artifacts, proof of mankind. A weight, a petrified shoe. In every corner of the room a bent stone is resting on the ground, yet seemingly in movement. Guardians of this territory. Polished pebbles, small pedestals, others seem to hide something, elevated on small mounds of pine mulch. A cairn, ready to fall apart anytime, pointing towards some sort of existence. I was here. Shivering strokes Engraved on fragile paper. Evolutionary giant holy fruits coming into existence through evolution. Their protective thorny leaves growing around architectural sites. Lost palaces and ruins from the past or the future. Commemorating an event or cherishing some sublime deity. A lonely horizon at far sight.
In Jannis Zell’s solo show, recent work throughout various media like paintings, sculptures, objects and drawings find their habitat in a warm-lighted exhibition space, covered in pine mulch. Through the use of beeswax, clay, wood, silicone, and styrofoam, ideas of time, memory, authenticity and artifice are being brought into form. The artificial and the natural meet. Domestic objects and speculative monuments talk to us about human existence and the relationship we have towards ourselves and the planet we inhabit.
Alluding to ideas of archaeology and lost pasts, the pieces set out to articulate speculative fictional narratives around the mysticism attached to certain objects. The stability of the material world and our place within it, is being questioned by the mimicking of surface and substance.
Blasphemic mixtures of high culture and commodity fetish, yet hand-casted, cut, roughened, coated. Tactile surfaces and scars of the process remain. Highly contoured, few straight lines, seemingly soft surfaces mixing expectations of form and material in a deferred moment.
Pieces like the series of hollow ceramic rocks shimmer between the genuinely natural, the anthropomorphic, the human made and domestic objects. They remind of stones yet carrying traces of civilization, like slits, or the feature of fitting perfectly into the corners of our orthogonal dwellings. These artifacts, that could both be excavated or manufactured, seem like the next step of evolution or the primeval form of something we could already know.
Two human sized sculptures deal with the speculation on future commemoration.
Cenotaph to the Bees, a primitive formation of blocks coated in beeswax, refers to the colony collapse disorder. The speculative monumentChicken Nugget Monolith addresses the significant amount of chicken bones being discarded all over the globe, forming fossils for the future geological record.
How will future civilizations remember us? What story of our existence will extraterrestrial species reconstruct from our traces on Earth? What debris will remain, while most of our digital artifacts disappear or blur into the pitch black cloud? What will be tomorrow’s gold and marble?