Artists: Michel François, Asta Gröting, Marcellvs L., Guillaume Leblon, Aernout Mik, Robin Rhode, Mark Wallinger
Venue: Carlier Gebauer, Berlin
Exhibition Title: The probability that nothing will happen
Date: January 19 – March 2, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Carlier Gebauer, Berlin
It is above all the conviction that one will find more reality in the hidden, than in the things that present themselves. (Gaston Bachelard)
Gaston Bachelard characterises objects we see by their hidden aspects: the reality of an object is not merely reflected in its immediate presence but is rather ‘hidden’ behind it. Building on Bachelard, André Breton in his programmatic essay Crisis of the Object (1936) describes modern sculpture as an object made up of many things and having no limitations. According to Breton, the essential moment is to select those objects that provoke ‘the total alteration of the perceptive faculties’ and ‘pursue an experience’.
The group show The probability that nothing will happen explores the issue of the object in contemporary sculpture through the works of Michel François, Asta Gröting, Guillaume Leblon, Robin Rhode, Mark Wallinger, Marcellvs L. and Aernout Mik. Those works have different approaches to ask questions after the object’s presence in space, its choice of materials and narration. The selection of exhibits not only focuses on three-dimensional sculptures in the actual gallery space but also on objects that have been documented by camera. The show takes its title from a work by French artist Guillaume Leblon Probabilité pour que rien ne se passe (2011) whom carlier | gebauer presents for the first time. Based on the fundamentals of analytics, Leblon confronts the viewer with more of an experience and less of an iconographic or purely narrative sculpture. The title hints at the fragile structure of the object in question: a table construction whose one side rests merely on a heap of sand. Here the object is no longer a stable point of reference to its space, but a sculpture staged as a scene in which the probability of the ‘non- happening’ can be notionally calculated. The work of Michel François and Guillaume Leblon shares certain aspects: both employ the tension between lightness and heaviness, emptiness and fullness, compression and relaxation. But in contrast to Leblon’s objet trouvé, François Stumbling Block (1989/2013) appropriates industrial materials, transfiguring them into the exhibition space in which they reassign their position and place.
Asta Gröting’s work creates yet another perspective on the object, characterised by the playful use of ostensibly familiar, everyday materials. Ton (2012) does not reflect an event or crime scene in the traditional sense but takes its quality from its surface texture and presence in space. The stacked coal briquettes or building blocks respectively are not made from the clay of the title but from rubber and epoxy, keeping their balance between fragility and static equilibrium.
Robin Rhode’s Bits and Pieces (2004) puts the notion of objects to the test as a series of photographs that have no protagonists. The images document drawings on which Rhode gives directions in urban space. The sketches remain behind where he left them and gradually vanish over time. The work is being created at such a velocity and concentration that it is frequently accompanied by a subliminal sense of threat. Contrary to Guillaume Leblon’s type of object, here the feeling is more as if something indeterminate could occur at any moment. The play with balance, open narrative structures and layers of time creates the essential paradox – in the probability that nothing will happen is inherent that something could indeed happen.
Both perspectives on the probability of an event are picked up in Mark Wallinger’s equally contemplative and humorous video Construction Site (2011). For over one hour this work follows three construction workers while they laboriously erect and then very quickly dismantle a lattice structure on the beach. The work‘s progress in real-time is both surprising and unpredictable. Even though the observer anticipates something unexpected to happen at any moment, he only gets to see the finished construction for a few fleeting minutes. As the title of the work hints at, the film’s object is the constantly evolving construction site and the filmed image, which is structured on different spactial levels similar to a painting.
Artists Marcellvs L.’s and Aernout Mik‘s play on the language of film completes the discourse on the theme of objects in film. 0720 (2012) by Marcellvs L. captures snow falling under a street lamp. Here the object is detached from its location and a precise perception of time. In contrast to this, Aernout Mik’s Cold and Warm Bodies (2002) depicts the urban landscape of Hong Kong. Relations and boundaries between human bodies, objects and spaces play a very significant role here, the distinguishing element being only the camera angle.