My installation Objects 302 (made up of documents related to my chapter in Cyclonopedia) and Spell Map drawing A Thousand Ways to Dieare included in Anonymous Materialsan exhibition curated by Pamela Rosenkranz at Binz39 in Zürich from 4th June to 4th July, 2010 /Opening hours Thursday - Saturday, 2 - 6 pm.
Kristen Alvanson, Kim Seob Boninsegni, Pavel Büchler, Ida Ekblad, Ulrik Heltoft, Marie Koelbaek lversen, Fabian Marti, Rachel Mason, Ketuta Alexi Meskhishvili, Lucy Pawlak, Martin Soto Climent, Mai-Thu Perret, Urs Zahn
“Anonymous Materials” brings together artists who use very different approaches in their practices. But its presentation of their works draws attention to a particular form of complicity common to them, and unfolds its consequences for our understanding of art-production. As the title indicates, the exhibition focuses on the autonomy of those materials which constitute an elemental component in the process of creating art. The show therefore explores art as a material-driven process of production so as to raise the question: How does the autonomy or contingency of the artists’ material influence or interfere with the artwork itself? In examining the conditions of art production, the show emphasizes the dynamics and ambivalence of the concept of materiality in artistic production, rather than deconstructing the meaning of the artwork by thematizing its material substrate.
Neither does this examination of materiality entail a fashionable celebration of those aesthetic effects commonly associated with processual tropes of artistic production (the presentation of raw materials, open-endedness, and so on). It does not rely upon the unfinished status of an artwork as a form of process-oriented practice. It could be said that such artistic sensibilities only exacerbate or obfuscate the enigma of materiality, semantically supercharging materiality in a way that can only be grasped by an audience hungry for meaning. Therefore, these processual tropes reestablish the authority of a privileged sentience whose correlation with meaning is ultimately a complete dismissal of both independency and contingency of materials in art production. As opposed to this approach, the artists in this show were chosen because their practices involve clear decisions towards the problems mentioned. In tracking the traces of production in the artwork, this group show could even be understood as a critical response to a current tendency to be too “sensitive” to materials; a tendency that could further be defined as an eclectic approach to the visual reminiscence of conceptual art.
The title of the show is taken from Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani’s book Cyclonopedia: Complicities with Anonymous Materials. It refers – in an open manner – to the book’s take on the problem of ‘inauthenticity’ whereby the subjective identity of the author is repeatedly overturned and undermined by the intervention of references, materials and narrative processes which enjoy autonomy and contingent complicities of their own. The show opens up, unfolds and reinvents this problematic embracing of materiality by evoking the randomness of functionality attributed to artists’ materials and allowing a multiplicity of relations between the artwork and its arbitrary context. Systematically blocking the tendency for a ‘higher meaning’ to emerge, the show resolutely focuses on the active, contingent role of the material conditions of the artwork. The studio-like installation itself explores the process of creating art in its very contingent and disruptive character.