Composed by Oona-Léa von Maydell
opening 18 september 2015 7pm
PERMANENT VACATION IST AUCH KEINE LÖSUNG
opening 24 september 2015 7pm
When I was laying at the beach, somewhere in the Indian Ocean, I received an e-mail from Viktor Henderson, Ari Sariannidis and Lennart Schweder, asking me to take part in a residency program at Garret Grimoire. As I became a whale watcher, but instead saw sharks, the sand and saltwater washing my feet, I decided to invite my old friend Anna Zacharoff. For some reason she hadn't yet found me in the Indian Ocean, and Vienna seemed to be one of those old culture cities in the middle of Europe where one does get together.
Both of us, Anna and I, are happy to develop something together at Garret Grimoire, with Vienna as a kind of backdrop, using the cityscape as a frame and mirroring surfaces.
Anna has a certain “wildstyle” in her work that reminds me of classical street graffiti. Maybe we will find Zacharoff’s nickname in Austria?
Zacharoff works with painting, sculpture and installation. To describe her paintings (they often deal with nature or aquatic life) seems a bit dumb – most people know how nature looks.
There is a more delicate feeling arising when seeing her work. We propose the moving procedure of pretending to be a shark, while going through her exhibition, a shark
that “(. . .) silently patrols the rocks in search of no good deeds; sniffing right to left, left to right, in a never ending
work-shift”. That is how one could look at it.
In his novel “Extinction” Thomas Bernhard writes that nothing is natural anymore. Nothing. Not even a bit of something. But we still act on the assumption that all is (natural).
‘Die Ursache allen Übels bin ich selbst’ (The cause of every evil is myself ). This is a German saying, and maybe I am too lazy to explain Zacharoff’s work with any art historian background know-how. Instead, I could use some phrases from Elisa R. Linn who wrote a beautiful review on Anna’s work in FRIEZE Magazine. I´ll give you an example:
“Whether fixed on canvas or crawling exhaustedly across the floor, Zacharoff’s quaint creatures invite a kind of pity – until one gets the feeling that they are looking back. What begins, for example, with the mute stare of a lionfish (Lionfish #2, 2014) turns into what British art historian T. J. Clark has described as an ‘exchange of gazes’: the viewer’s impression of being reflected in the creature’s eyes. Finally, then, it seems as if Zacharoff’s works holds up a mirror in which we recognize ourselves as the fools being spied on. Meanwhile, the lionfish grins to itself, knowingly.”1
Maybe this is also a misapprehension. Because all is artificial and at the same time all should be nature - but is art. And as Bernhard stipulated in his aforementioned book, there is no nature anymore. But one still concludes from the point of view of the reflection on nature.
Wobei wir doch schon lange nur mehr noch von der Kunstbetrachtung ausgehen sollten.
Meanwhile – I am looking for some contrasts, trying to create a sort of danceable situation. A mix between videoinstallation with a wooden wall and graffiti perceptions. An exhibition that deals with laziness, Thomas Bernhard, Jim Jarmusch’s first title, “Permanent Vacation”, fugacity and contracted work in the art field and aquatic sciences. While “Zacharoff’s objects free the creatures of her painting from their solitude, but with their often awkward and clumsy appearance they also forfeit some of the animals’ graceful aura.”2
1Elisa R. Linn, Frieze Magazin, Issue 20, June-August 2015.
While I was diving in the ocean, close to south africa, the sea keeps on flushing the warm water on my body. The salty water carrys my so I started to dream about some jellyfishes; unfortunately I absorb to much water and something startet to drawn me down. Reasonably I fall in a mindless state, I found myself surrounded with seahorses and jellyfishes.
I was terrified: if they overtake this living ocean, and when all left in the ocean is them, they become our main source of food.
Luckily some old fisher crosses in situ on his traditional fishing boat from Senegal. Carried my unconscious body out of the water and brought me back to the beach were I was living in a cabbin.
Some days after recovery, I decided to ask the swedish artist Sam Siwe, who is living and working in Berlin, to be one of two artist I would like to invite to Garret Grimore, beeing part of my residency invitation.
In the following part, Nora Schultz addresses some lines about Sam Siwe´s technical interventions to us.
"It’s been a known fact since the 1970s that the sea slug Elysia chlorotica is able to steal and inhabit the genes of the food it eats, incorporating it into its chromosomes.
We’ve all seen these pictures of ever-growing, everlasting sea slugs covering ocean floors that morph their bodies into algae-like formations. When the algae dies out, they can still live on photosynthesis, a skill that was part of the algae’s genetic ability that they had taken over, and they can go on living on nothing but light for months. Then, when pollution increased in the oceans and the air, and light was reduced to a minimum, we could see them almost instantly changing track, eating and incorporating our rubbish that now floated over the seas and that had killed the algae, but not the slugs, who even managed to feed their chromosomes with the genes and informational energy of the new conqueror. Where flower-like bulbs and tentacles once grew out of their sluggy bodies, weird but still natural looking in a way, now smudgy “plastic” bags grow out of them, and they use them like wings underwater. Slimy tin can-looking buildings hang on them like slightly misproportioned kangaroo pouches in which they carry their slug babies before they grow into their own and other wasted dimensions. And when even waste lost its physicality, leaving behind space junk and, likewise, junkspace to become an overall condition, they even adapted to this.
In a time beyond numbers, beyond the countable, the material becomes its own creator, using the artist to help speed up its evolution instead of other way around. These knot-like creatures here behave like elements. Fluid in their appearance, you couldn’t call them a physical body, whereas when they have something to hold on to, they become physical and resistant. The nourishing process is vice-versa. Taking energy from the light source they find, they simultaneously are the very element that provides it. And when the knot form is still confusing our view, going in chaotic spirals up and down, the actual object of interest is the light itself, or rather the electric that we should try to get into focus because meanwhile these jellies shut down the human power plants to build their own invisible energy factories in so-called art studios where vegetables become their spines and the tentacles they’ve developed connect them to their new ground, absorbing its informational consistency in order to develop legs with all their needed features.
Sam Siwe is one of these artists acting as a co-organism of the jellies. While you may still think that the artist tries to express himself here, in fact it’s the enhanced jellies who took advantage of his skills, making him build the infrastructure and their new factories where they can reproduce themselves in a new and different matter. They make him tap the wires, hack the systems, put sticky stuff on a thin skin to create a body.
This body is nice and weird enough to be considered as an art object, to become a possible sculptural edition, perhaps a series, if not a mass product flooding the art world rapidly. While spreading and flooding, the jellies can always hide behind Sam. Sam is their camouflage, an agent and worker in their production chain and maybe nothing but a tentacle growing out of their system.
The sculpture is a conditional device, a receiver for a new condition the jelly quickly adapts to, and while looking at it, the whole art world might be absorbed just to raise up soon as a whole new environment, with a mind beyond jelly, a body beyond elementary, and you need more than one kangaroo pouch in your adventure vest to be prepared for this condition."