Artist: Marius Engh
Venue: Layr Wuestenhagen, Vienna
Exhibition Title: An Aggregation of Adversary
Date: January 22 – March 13, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Layr Wuestenhagen, Vienna
“Two images: a starched stiff shirt unworn responding to the wind is a board; frozen meat that would rot in the sun.“?Robert Rauschenberg
1. The project “An Aggregation of Adversary” consists of four objects and a series of photographic works. ?Employing the case of Teufelsberg – a historical hillside in Berlin – Engh is looking at its continuous ?shifts between architecture and ruin. Appropriating fragments from its recent buildings and reconstructing ?them as objects which belong to the “non-design” of the recent listening station such as a wall structure, ?a modular floor, a window offering no view, and a shell from a radar dome. With the same kind of logic ?the photo series “Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way” consists of 14 pictures showing spatial situations ?of the site on the top of the Teufelsberg.
“The stone buildings of antiquity demonstrate in their condition today the permanence of natural building ?material. The ages-old stone buildings of the Egyptians and the Romans still stand today as powerful ?architectural proofs of the past of great nations, buildings which are often ruins only because mans lust for ?destruction has made them such.”? – Albert Speer, “Law of Ruin Value”
2. Engh dissects this symbolic mark, which Teufelsberg has become through various utilizations. Albert Speers ?started the building of the “Wehrtechnische Fakulta?t” in 1937, part of the new technical university of Berlin, ?it only saw the completion of one faculty building prior to the outbreak of World War II. Throughout the war the ?building was bombed, but neither air raids nor attempts to demolish it after the seize of Berlin managed ?to shatter this monumental piece of architecture. Rather, it was decided to turn Teufelsberg into a deposit for ?the rubble and remains of a mere 80.000 buildings that have been destroyed during the air raids leaving ?more than 10 million cubic meters of stone on top.
“The first and most frequently seen of the film’s very real American “ghosts” is the flooding river of blood that ?wells out of the elevator shaft, which presumably sinks into the Indian burial ground itself. The blood ?squeezes out in spite of the fact that the red doors are kept firmly shut within their surrounding Indian artwork ?embellished frames. We never hear the rushing blood. It is a mute nightmare. It is the blood upon which this?nation, like most nations, was built, as was the Overlook Hotel.”
– Bill Blakemore, “The Family of Man” (On the film “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick)
3. A mere 30 years later Teufelsberg again found itself at the centre of military activities. In 1964 the American ?army completed the construction of what was to become one of the premier listening posts of the cold war. ?The NSA Field Station at Teufelsberg had unobstructed reception of signals from all directions and was hence ?of significant strategic importance until the demise of the Berlin Wall in 1990. After closing the military base ?all initiatives attempting to transform it failed; among these plans for a luxury hotel, a residential area, a ski slope, ?and even a meditation centre. Hence the area has for the past ten years been left to a slow process of decay ?and decomposition. Regarding this example of sedimentation of social and politcal meaning, Engh addresses the?reassembly of memory structures and decay as a therapeutical tool. What strategies can be employed when ?a site simply cannot manage to accumulate more meaning?
Layr Wuestenhagen is pleased to present Marius Engh’s first solo exhibition in Vienna. Marius Engh (*1974, Oslo) ?lives and works in Berlin and is represented by Standard (Oslo) and Supportico Lopez, Berlin. With his ?participation in many international solo and group exhibitions (Preus Museum, Norway, Standard (Oslo), ?Supportico Lopez, Berlin) – currently with Gardar Eide Einarsson and Matias Faldbakken at Standard (Oslo), ?Brussels Biennial with Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (curators: Nicolaus Schafhausen and ?Florian Waldvogel), Engh has been the subject of much recent attention.