Johanna K Becker and Svenja Schüffler | DISLOCATIONS
Introduction: Helene Bosecker
Exhibition: 09.12.2016 – 19.01.2017
4 p.m. Artist Talk with a guided tour
5 p.m. Performance : Johannes von Dassel : Wörtlich nehmen – ein Kratenspiel
2 p.m. Lecture by Lizzy Blasius : Überlegungen zur Landschaftsgestaltung in der modernen Kunst am Beispiel ausgewählter Werke der Künstlergruppe Brücke
3 p.m. Lecture by Thekla Mellau : Conserved landscapes inbetween underworld and paradisical place
4 p.m. Lecture by Anne Schreiber : An experiment on a bird
6 p.m. Finissage (both artists will be present)
More information about the exhibition:
This year’s exhibition at the turn of the year, having the theme of art and technology, focuses on the artistic works of Johanna K Becker and Svenja Schüffler. The title DISLOCATIONS, in a complex contentual and technical way, refers to both artists’ creative work.
As though they were picked from a dream or an imagination, Johanna K Becker’s landscape models hover in their dome and specifically build on the experience of scientific transfer of knowledge. That which is to be preserved, conserved is relentlessly exposed to the interested person and made fit for indefinite observation – within this intellectual chain of association, Becker is especially concerned about the demonstration of preservation as an act, as this provides specific information on individual and collective constructions and conceptions of nature as well as their portrayal. Here, the idea of the landscape is related directly to the connection of man and nature, which cannot be experienced in its originality. New standards for the understanding of nature are counterposed to this lost relation, giving some indication of fundamentally established ways of perception in their outcome. The garden serves as an allegory for this correlation, in its historicality, biblically speaking, being the most original home of the human being and finding its correspondence in the Garden of Eden, being deeply rooted in today’s collective memory as a picture of longing. The exuberant, omnipresent fruitfulness of an enclosed and therefore defined space showcases a yearning for an overview, order and distinction, whereby, in the paradox, insatiable desire for freedom towards these aspects of control and hierarchy is manifested. Johanna K Becker extracts and isolates these interlaced views, aspirations, wishes, fears and desires in microcosms, which, in their generous material artificiality, mirror the artificiality of conceptions of landscapes, the connection of man and nature and the visualization of these relations.
Within this exhibition, Svenja Schüffler’s artworks put a thematic focus on two major projects, both of which are examining the relation inbetween humans, animals and technology as well as studying their interplay. With the series of works named Anthropomorpha (human-like), Schüffler reflects on the question of the human being and especially, on his distinction from the animal. The monkey, as an eerie borderline figure, represents the animalistic opposite side, revealing that which is human-like at the same time. This differenciation points out the human need for control and equally discloses the fear of similarities. With an intense, firm look, the monkey fixates on the homo sapiens and questions the reasons for that need for differenciation. Another central subject is the cockatoo, being the protagonist of an experiment which is illustrated in drawings. As a test animal, it is a symbol of the history of science and practice. Under the title of An Experiment on a Bird, the artworks refer to two artistic-scientific experiments regarding earthquake risks and early warning by Schüffler. Within a thought experiment, heavy pieces of concrete mounted on the ceiling of an exhibition hall demonstrate the damocles-like risk of crashing down; beneath this hanging threat, a flock of cockatoos is placed, which is battered to death due to an earthquake, according to calculated probability – Schüffler, with these installations and experiments, wants to address and communicate scientifically uncertain knowledge. The precise drawings in turn emulate the attempt of scientific experiments to determine concrete statements. Due to the realistic character of the artworks, the animals appear to be alive, or animated, and initiate a perspective on the eeriness preparing the ground for experimental systems.
In technical perfection, both artists impressively explore their chosen fields of study and help provide an unseen aesthetic execution of these thought experiments. In the course of this exhibition, an accompanying programme is offered, which will be dedicated to said thoughts and objectives in contentual depth.
In a fantastic top view, artist Johanna K Becker allows for an insight into her conserved miniature landscapes : tangled details of floral forms complexly intertwine and reveal an organism which, despite its unfamiliarity, appears to be capable of living. JK Becker reduces the possibility of movement, of growing further, to absurdity by enclosing her landscape preparations in an escape-proof polyester casting resin dome. Preserved to be admired, her sculptures are present in the room as clandestine phenomena and draw the viewer’s sight deeply into their inside.
Svenja Schüffler’s most recent drawings represent a debate regarding objects that are becoming the subject of observation of specific scientific experiments. With precise drawings, she lets animals, humans and objects emerge, scenic or as character sketches, which demonstrate a strange and uncanny liveliness. By the realistic character of the drawings, the pictures appear to be alive and oddly autonomous and establish a perspective on the very uncanny that forms the foundation of experimental systems. The origin of this effect is a tight network of most delicate lines, colour gradients and embossings which emerge from the flat surface of the paper in an enhanced way.
Artist Talk and Performance