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EXHIBITIONS

“The Registry of Promise – 3: The Promise of Moving Things” at le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine

The third part of “The Registry of Promise”, “The Promise of Moving Things” deals with the so-called life of objects in our current pre-post-apocalyptic paradigm. Influenced in equal measure by animism, the much discussed philosophical movement object oriented ontology, the surrealism of Alberto Giacometti’s early masterpiece The Palace at 4 am (1932) and even the theoretical reflections of the Nouveau Roman novelist, theorist and editor Alain Robbe-Grillet (an OOOer, so to speak, well avant la lettre), “The Promise of Moving Things” seeks to address just that–the very idea that there exists some promise within objects in a world in which humans no longer roam the earth. Neither a critical rejection nor an endorsement of these ideas, the exhibition embraces the ambiguity at the very heart of the word promise. It questions to what extent this negative faith in the cultural and animistic legacy of objects is a genuine rupture with the anthropocentric tradition of humanism and to what extent it is merely a perpetuation of it.

Thus does the exhibition consists of works that features objects or processes which seem to possess some form of human subjectivity. For instance, the Austrian, Vienna-based artist Hans Schabus’ sprawling sculptural installation, Konstruktion des Himmels (1994), could merely be a random collection of variously seized wax balls and an elaborate light fixture or the most human forms of celestial organization: a constellation (which it is: a recreation of ApparatusSculptoris [Sculptor’s studio], identified and named in the 18th century by Louis de Lacaille). Almost but not entirely by association, German, Berlin-based mandla reuter’s sculpture installation, The agreement (Vienna) (2011), which has been paired with Schabus’ work and is comprised of an armoire hanging from the ceiling, assumes a quasi, supernatural and animistic quality. The transference of so-called human subjectivity is unmistakable in Swedish, Malmö-based Alexander Gutke’s work, Auto-scope (2012). This 16mm film installation portrays the trajectory of a piece of film passing through the interior of a projector, exiting into a snowy,tree-dotted landscape,ascending upward into the sky before plunging back down to earth and looping back into the projector, and repeating the process, all as if in an allegory of reincarnation. The US, New Hampshire-based artist Michael E. Smith’s slight sculptural interventions, which often consist of recycled textiles, materials from the automotive industry, animal parts, and a variety of toxic plastics, are known to possess qualities hauntingly evocative of the human body, as if the spirit of one had entered the other. Drawing his formal vocabulary from machines and tools, French, Dijon-based artist Antoine Nessi creates sculpture, which can perhaps be best described as post-industrial, in which the inanimate seems to take on an organic quality, assuming a life of their own. Finally, the practice of the Swedish, Berlin-based artist Nina Canell is no stranger to the kinetic and to a certain, if specious sense of animism. Something of a case in point, Treetops, Hillsides & Ditches (2011) is a multi-part sculpture comprised of four shafts of wood over the top of which a clump of iranian pistachio gum has been spread (like the top of a match) and which slowly crawls down the sides of the wood, en- veloping it, like living a skin.

Thus is the reception of each work complicated and vexed through issues of subjectivity, projection, necessity, and desire. Now to what extent the works are complicit in that reception both varies and is debatable. Whatever the case may be, it is virtually impossible to say, but this does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to conceive of a world without humanism, as argued by Robbe-Grillet, at its center.

Chris Sharp

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at Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry – le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine

until 21 December 2014

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Above – Hans Schabus, Konstruktion des Himmels, 1994 and Mandla Reuter, The Agreement, Vienna, 2011

Alexander Gutke, Auto-scope, 2012

Antoine Nessi, Unknown Organs, 2014

Nina Canell, Treetops, Hillsides and Ditches, 2011

Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2014

Hans Schabus, Konstruktion des Himmels, 1994

Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2014

Nina Canell, Present Tense, 2014

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“The Registry of Promise – 3: The Promise of Moving Things” installation views at le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine, 2014

Courtesy: the artists; le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine; ZERO… Milan; Galerie Mezzanin, Vienna; Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin; Galerie Wien Lukatsch, Berlin; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin; Daniel Marzona, Berlin; Clifton Benevento, New York; Micheal Benevento, Los Angeles; Gregor Podnar, Berlin / Ljubljana.  Photo: © André Morin.


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