On the Natures of Things
On the Natures of Things:
Marianna Christofides · Belit Sağ · Julie Sas · Jan Sieber
An exhibition in the context of the Fellowship Program for Art & Theory 2017/18
curated by Andrei Siclodi
Fri 6 October, 2017, 7 pm
Duration of the exhibition:
10 October 2017 – 25 January 2018
Tue, Wed 2 – 5 pm, Thu 10 am – 5 pm and by appointment.
Closed: 22 December 2017 – 5 January 2018 and on public holidays.
The exhibition On the Natures of Things: Contingency—Resistiveness—Invisibility—Desire presents works by the current Büchsenhausen fellows Marianna Christofides, Belit Sağ, Julie Sas and Jan Sieber, which are connected to their respective work projects over the coming months: it is about loss of reason and censorship as significant aspects of our era, about strategies of escape from the visibility regimes of contemporary societies, and about art and the libidinous economy of desire in capitalism. The three artists Christofides, Sağ and Sas are each showing current works. The presentations by the fellows in the context of the Start Up Lectures on 6 October 2017 will also be available for viewing in the exhibition one week after the opening, as will, as a consequence, research by theorist Sieber.
In her film essays and filmic installations, Marianna CHRISTOFIDES focuses on the juxtaposition of geological with socio-historical narratives, and the (mis)use of the notion of nature as a justifying argument towards contingent cultural facts. During the fellowship at Büchsenhausen Christofides will attempt to create an “anthology of moments of closure” tracing the “wandering” manifestations of uncertainty as it assumes different forms and qualities.
Days In Between, 2015, essay film, 16mm transferred to HD, 40min, 1.33:1,
colour & black-and-white, stereo
Days in Between is the second film in the series “Works and Days”, which is being made in south-eastern Europe. The film deals with decay and disappearance without trace, including that of places. One such place is the casino of Constanta on the Rumanian Black Sea coast – an iconic building of eastern European art nouveau architecture, which has been disintegrating like a ghost in the shabby seaside resort since the fall of Ceauşescu. Another such place is a mountain of car tyres rising somewhere in front of a backdrop of barren hills and mutilated ruins. Christofides works by alternating dark, black and white shots and colour images, which follow each other in rapid succession, interrupted by takes resembling stills. Agricultural landscapes, natural conservation areas, industry, everyday life within village structures, geological phenomena – she seeks access to the history of the region via the “texture of the landscape”. She supplements the natural conditions shown with reflection on stereotype stigmatization via western politics, which define power relations supposedly inflicted by nature using geological terms and geographic characteristics: the “periphery” of the western hemisphere.
Dragon’s Back, 2016, 14 monochrome Risograph prints, 7 two-colour Risograph prints |
207 × 222.5 cm
Dragon’s Back is derived from a shot of the geological pressure ridge of the same name on the San Andreas Fault, which is situated about 200km from Los Angeles. The “Dragon’s Back” is the only clearly perceptible trace of this tectonic fault, which marks the border between the North American and Pacific continental plates. The shot is an enlarged reproduction of a press photo from 1982, which has been used repeatedly as a symbolic image of the seismic threats issuing from this region. Christofides has distributed this image onto 21 Risograph prints and reconfigured it as an image-text collage, which transforms the force emanating from these tectonics poetically, so creating an image of vulnerability.
Belit SAǦ at Büchsenhausen explores ‘censorship’ as a current state of affairs. Usually, censorship is discussed in terms of juridical processes or institutional responsibilities, but rarely in regard to the personal, emotional and artistic transformations it provokes. Censorship resembles harassment. Both include strategies of making invisible and silencing, and individuals—as a result—often find themselves isolated. Censorship cases often become hard to articulate, even harder to explain to others. Affects created by the processes the censored artists go through, are a central topic of this work.
Ayhan and me, 2016, digital video, 14:17min
Ayhan Carkin was a Turkish police officer operating in the Kurdish areas during the 1990s. There, he took part in secret commando operations, murdering Kurds on the orders of the Turkish state. In the early 2000s, Ayhan went public and confessed to his deeds in the Turkish media. The original concept of Ayhan and me was censored at an early stage by Akbank Sanat, an art institution in Turkey – subsequently, the group exhibition “Post Peace”, for which the work was planned, was abandoned in its entirety by said institution. The present video was made after this case of censorship. Applying the precision of a Farocki essay, the work lays out its own history of production and censorship explicitly, questioning the power of images, the roles and responsibilities of representation and the writing of history, as well as the charged relationship between art practice and state control.
In her practice Julie SAS combines installations, writing, performance and collaborative projects, in which she organizes spaces and situations around plays on meanings, norms and identities that demonstrate a tension with certain linguistic or social data.
In her work project in Büchsenhausen, Sas concerns herself with open forms of anonymity, invisibility or escape that overlay various strategies, ways of living and acting, and forms of articulation and expression.
How to slip down under a table, 2015, video, color, sound, 6:11min., loop
Originally, this video was developed as part of the performative installation Basically, they wanted to do a revolution. Basically, … follows the principles and conventions of a literary incipit. The term “incipit” is used for the first words of a literary or scientific text. These create a narrative framework, introduce characters who still remain unspecific, etc. The installation sketches the workplace of a “society of bachelors” (here, Sas is playing consciously with Duchamp’s concept), who are in the process of preparing a revolution doomed to failure. The video follows the structure of a Powerpoint presentation, which introduces, step by step, the practical implementation of the tactic of slipping down under a table.
Jan SIEBER lives and works as a philosopher and art theorist in Berlin.
The emphases of his research lie in Aesthetics, Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory, Cultural Theory, and contemporary French Philosophy. In his work project for Büchsenhausen, Sieber is interested in how the libidinous economy of desire in capitalism, as well as questions of subjectivity and identity, are echoed, reflected and criticized in contemporary art. How can art stage or promote subjectivation without merely repeating or working towards the production of capitalist subjectivity? How can art be understood as criticism of the capitalist economy of desire?
As from 17 October, 2017, Jan Sieber is represented in the exhibition with a video of his Start Up Lecture, which took place, together with the presentations of the other fellows, in Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen on 6 October, 2017.
Jan SIEBER studied cultural sciences, philosophy and art theory at the University of Bremen, Leuphana University Lüneburg, and at Middlesex University London. Between 2011 and 2017 he worked as an academic associate at Berlin University of the Arts, where he completed his doctoral thesis in the field of Aesthetic Theory. The emphases of his research lie in Aesthetics, Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory, Cultural Theory, and contemporary French Philosophy.
Julie SAS is a French artist based in Paris. In her practice she combines installations, writing, performance and collaborative projects, in which she organizes spaces and situations around plays on meanings, norms and identities that demonstrate a tension with certain linguistic or social data. Sas’ recent live installations present bodies involved in codified situations, particularly those linked to the production of public discourse, forms of self-representation, and quotation exercises. Those have led her to start developing long-time research and experimentation on the practice of anonymity and forms of invisibility in art, literature and musical fields.
Belit SAǦ is a videomaker based in Amsterdam. She studied mathematics in Turkey, art in the Netherlands, and had residencies in New York (ISCP, 2016) and Amsterdam (Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, 2014/15). Her video background is rooted in alternative video-activist and artist groups in Ankara and Istanbul, where she co-initiated projects such as VideA, Karahaber and bak.ma. Sağ’s work has been exhibited in international art spaces and festivals including Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Toronto International Film Festival, Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, EYE Film Institute, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Salt, DEPO and the Visual Arts Festival Damascus; DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, South Korea, Chinese European Art Center, China and Art Lacuna Film Festival, United Kingdom.
Marianna CHRISTOFIDES is an artist originally from Cyprus who lives in Berlin. In her film essays and filmic installations, she focuses on the juxtaposition of geological with socio-historical narratives, and the (mis)use of the notion of nature as a justifying argument towards contingent cultural facts. Since 2009, Christofides has exhibited extensively internationally and presented her films at numerous film festivals in Europe. Recent solo exhibitions include Parkfield Studies at the Temporary Gallery, Cologne (2017), Shelter Cove at Annaelle Gallery, Stockholm (2016), and Perennial Limbo at waterside contemporary, London. Most recent group shows have been Viaggio in Sicilia, Salinas Archaeological Museum, Palermo (2017), Dejima. Concepts of In- and Exclusion, GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2017), Terra Mediterranea: In Action, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Nicosia (2017), and Uncertain States. Artistic strategies in States of Emergency / Uncertain States. Künstlerisches Handeln in Ausnahmezuständen, Akademie der Künste Berlin (2016). In 2011, Christofides co-represented Cyprus at the 54th Biennale in Venice (together with Elizabeth Hoak-Doering).