How far to open up?
This exhibition, with its programmatic title How far to open up?, deals with the catalysts for stories. The bits of narration at issue here are based on moments characterized by longing, desire, obsession, and the projections resulting therefrom. Such mental states are frequently of an indeterminate nature and have something ephemeral to them. Their forms and origins reach beyond our understanding, and they always remain intimate. How far can a person go with his or her personal yearnings? How much can we, vulnerable as we are, reveal of ourselves—and how far can an artist take this in her or his work? How far can a work move within its medium, and when can it transcend its format? This first complex of questions lead us to a second one, pertaining to this exhibition’s format and structure: How far can an exhibition go? Who can show works, and how much space in the exhibition can be given over to the artists and their works as such? And what all can an exhibition speak of, what stories can it tell?
In the same way that feelings often defy understanding, with the resulting narratives remaining a small part of something that is both far larger and inexpressible, the exhibition space contains clues referring to an act of art production that cannot always be perceived. This goes, for example, for the various performances at the opening, performances that—at every subsequent point in time during the exhibition—will remain only as fragments and remains on the floor. It also goes for the booklet, which functions as its own space within the exhibition. This publication contains texts by artists who need and make use of writing as part of their work but do not necessarily view this practice as part of their outward artistic identities—an example being painters who do a lot of writing. It also contains texts by poets whose networks place them in a certain proximity to the art world.
The objects in the exhibition’s various rooms can therefore be viewed as “scrapings”, united in multiple and overlapping spaces, from a field of activity that is understood to be far greater in size. The rooms open up narrative moments visible as gestures and lines within space, for example in the form of drawings and paintings. These works, in a manner not unlike that of comics, represent figurative, dream-like, or tragic scenes as well as lonely still lifes. The films, with their content and statements reinforced by atmospheric impressions, stand out especially for their proximity to written text and the narrative realm. The musical and sound-based works in this exhibition, on the other hand, do without texts and images, since their auditory character opens up a significantly more direct, albeit indescribable, route to being felt.
Thus do the artists, authors, and curators move within the exhibition formats of physical space and booklet, along with those states of yearning and desire that but partly lend themselves to realm of the narrative.
Text: Florentine Muhry