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Artist Feature

Every week an artist is featured whose single image was published by Der Greif. The Feature shows the image in the original context of the series.

Felicia Honkasalo - CARAPACE

Jun 29, 2017

In this series of works I have collected, dissected and then rephotographed a large quantity of  images that derive from children’s natural history and science books. All these books have in common a desire to categorize and label the natural world so that instead of seeming like an irrational and violent chaos of discrepant things and experiences, the world is presented as a coherent whole ready to be explored and exploited by man.

 

From my own childhood, I remember sitting in the local library for hours on end, pouring over these books, trying to make sense of the various facts and pieces of information that unfolded from the pages in front of me. Later on, this interest extended into natural history museums, and museums that dealt with ancient worlds. As I spent my time eagerly trying to memorize the names of the different birds, plants, geological formations and learning about long lost civilizations, I was left with a feeling that something was not quite as it seemed. As if the artefacts in front of me that had been categorized in their own special and peculiar way, were never fully revealed to me.   My look was never returned by the stale animals propped up in their glass vitrines, and neither did I understand the language of the many objects lined up in front of me.

 

By clipping out only the images from these books, the photographs start to resemble a representation of the world that is more true to my experience of it.  By rephotographing, reassembling and restaging these images, I want to open a dialogue with the viewer as to what is fact, fiction, real or fake, and does it matter at the end of the day, when is history not a mash-up of them all anyhow, created by someone in order to deliver a specific history with a specific world view?


Artist Blog

The blog of Der Greif is written entirely by the artists who have been invited to doing an Artist-Feature. Every week, we have a different author.

Ernest Protasiewicz

Jul 13, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

For the last post I would like to introduce the work of Ernest Protasiewicz. Taking a more enigmatic stance on investigating the same topics, I find his images to be poetic with a constant emphasis on the objects, patterns and shapes that appear in the world and the tension that exists between us and the things as we see them. His images are visually captivating whilst seemingly simple, which is one of the hardest things to accomplish. I really recommend seeing the work in person, as the scale of some of the images makes them so much more present than what the internet allows the viewer to see.
For more of his images please go here:

ernestprotasiewicz.com/
This is my last post for the Artist Blog and I would like to thank Der Greif for giving me the chance to share with you some of the artists work I’m interested in, and the topics and themes that influence me.


Felicity Hammond

Jul 06, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

Felicity Hammond

IN DEFENCE OF INDUSTRY

 

I was introduced to Felicity Hammonds work through Foam Magazines Talent Issue, and would like to share two different sets of works as part of this post.

Again focusing on the relationship between man and nature, I want to share her most recent work In Defence of Industry, 2017, which is an interesting commentary on the relationship between the industrial history and the surrounding English landscape of a particular place. Barrow-in-Furness was once the site of a remarkable mining industry, which in the twentieth century turned into an area best known as the building site of nuclear submarines.

A four meter light box shows a collage work that also reflects in a pool of water that expands into the gallery space. The industrial past is reimagined through stories, archival material and remnants of buildings as evidence in nature. The work is poetic, visually arresting whilst questioning the topical issue of how political decisions of supporting the growth of nuclear defence is changing a landscape for good.

In Public Protection, Private Collection, 2016, materials stolen from luxury development areas and materials used in construction are transformed into an installation that creates a landscape already in ruins. Borrowing the language used to describe and fantasize the new buildings by developers, the work offers a different view, a futuristic area of wreckage.


Pakui Hardware – On Demand

Jul 05, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

Pakui Hardware

ON DEMAND

EXILE GALLERY 01.06.17-15.07.17

 

The third post shares the work of Pakui Hardware, a collective artist duo formed by Neringa Cerniauskaite and Ugnius Gelguda. Their works can be seen as a subtle commentary of capitalism and its impact on sociopolitical conditions through imaging a possible future, whilst delivering a set of works that merge the real and the fictional, natural and artificial.

The sculptural works in this show at Exile Gallery are formed from heat-treated plexiglas, containing a blue liquid made of edible pigment propped with a miniature humidifier as well as prints of likely mutant and uncanny beings on pvc clamped to stainless steel columns. One wonders through the gallery as if looking at some futuristic beings that have formed from consumable and functional material and are on display in a strange laboratory. Pointing to us as consumers, it seems to questions how what we consume and produce is internalized by us.

Without revealing too much to the viewer, the press release is presented in the form of an abstract narrative and description.


Julian Rosefeldt – In the Land of Drought

Jul 04, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

Julian Rosefeldt

IN THE LAND OF DROUGHT

KÖNIG GALERIE 24.06.17-23.07.17

 

With the second post I would like to continue sharing the work of artists who have investigated and commented on the relationship between man and nature and the impact our culture has on our environment.  I have long admired the cinematic video works of Julian Rosefeldt. Seeing the large scale video installation In the Land of Drought, which is his first solo show at König Gallery in Berlin is a mesmerizing experience. Here is a more detailed account of the work itself, taken from the press release of König Gallery.

“A condensed version of Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation”, “In the Land of Drought” (2015/2017) confronts the relationship between man and his impact on the world. Set to atmospheric sounds and a pulsating hum, the 43-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the post-Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate the archaeological remnants of civilization after humanity has made itself extinct. Shot entirely using a drone, Rosefeldt’s images hover meditatively over the desolate landscape and ruins. Connoting surveillance, the drone’s bird’s eye view removes human perspective with us onlookers kept at a distance throughout. Increasingly, more figures dressed in white lab suits emerge to inspect the ruins of civilization – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.

Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany, which is littered with the remains of industrialization. The same ‘scientists’ prowl the abandoned mining region, wandering among the headframes and coal pits before finally descending upon an amphitheatre. As seen from the audience’s heavenly outlook, the amphitheatre resembles an eye, and its all-seeing ability is reflective of the panoptic aerial viewpoint. A dialogue unfolds between the two perspectives of control: the eye on the ground and the drone’s eye overhead. As the steady hum livens to a climatic rhythm, the figures draw close only to disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, the unifying aesthetics hint at a prospective optimism amidst a dislocated world man has created.”


Kosmos – Alexander von Humboldt

Jun 29, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

“ This science of the Cosmos is not, however, to be regarded as a mere encyclopedic aggregation of the most important and general results that have been collected together from special branches of knowledge. These results are nothing more than the materials for a vast edifice, and their combination can not constitute the physical history of the world, whose exalted part it is to show the simultaneous action and the connecting links of the forces which pervade the universe.“1

 

I want to start my take over of the artist blog by posting as an introduction a short text about Alexander von Humboldt and his five volume book Kosmos (1884-65). This opus has influenced the series Carapace, that is featured in this week’s Artist Feature. I strongly recommend browsing through these volumes in their original editions!

Alexander Humboldt was a scientist, but also a writer, explorer and humanist. At its time of publication Kosmos, which was a scientific and artistic account of the entire world, was groundbreaking in that it shared to the world the writer’s vision that humans and nature are two integrated parts of the same whole. This vision sparked the start of a new way of looking at nature and laid the foundations of ecology. It also influenced the works of other scientists such as Charles Darwin, who carried his earlier works along with him on his journey on the Beagle. Humboldt’s social critique that marks the pages of Kosmos is founded in the idea that the study of science is also the study of the human mind in its cultural and social context and therefore his concept of nature also incorporated human culture and thought. This idea also stretched into the maps and landscapes he produced. They were not intended to only reveal the material dimensions but also depict the aesthetic and ethical relations that humans have to a place. Kosmos freely interweaves science with poetry and art, as to Humboldt, it is only through presenting the real (nature) that an image of cosmos can be realized in our mind. Therefore there will be no Cosmos without art, in the broadest sense of the word.

 

  1. Alexander von Humboldt, Cosmos: a Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe, translated by E. C. Otté, introduction by Michael Dettelbach. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997, pp. 23-25, 36-41, 53-56.