Sometimes it takes an action to make a thought perceptible. Sometimes a thought is just a reaction stirred up by an encounter. Works of art are artifice as well as building blocks of a metalanguage, representative of something that cannot be put into words, the seeing of which, however, engenders immediate apprehension: experiences and ideas are promptly passed from creator to receiver.
One can think of the astonishing transfiguration of the "eye-cup" (kylix), raised towards the lips in order to drink from, that becomes a mask on the face of its bearer.
"The Object Before" is an exhibition providing a framework for a conversation between five artists. The seemingly erroneous formulation of the show’s title refers to the different issues it questions.
Marie von Heyl, “The Alien Object Manifesto”, 2016
Building on the tradition of artist manifestos, this video employs the many-voiced pronoun WE to express thoughts about subject-object relationships, and gives a valiant defence of the commodity against the return of the hand-made.
Sunette Viljoen, “magazine pages”, 2018
“magazine pages” is reminiscent of text erasures. Instead of words, almost a whole image is removed, being delicately sanded down and leaving only a few fragments which drift on the paper's whiteness, like islands - alien to the new surroundings. The image appears to be erased, when in fact all the information (dust of ink and paper) is altered and relocated on the facing sheet.
Ilona Kálnoky, “SkulptUR”, 2008, Bronze, ca. 100cm; “SkulptUR”, 2007, Aluminium, 6x6cm + 10x6cm
For Ilona Kálnoky each material has its own semiotics, therefore the inner dynamics inside it imposes undulations, vibrations or persistences that shape the organic body of matter. Kálnoky's gained knowledge of material and her tenacious practice with it seem to become invisible in the final stage of her sculptures which give rather the impression of being shaped by natural collisions and time shift. Her sculptures could also be called unpredictable calculations.
Sally Osborn, "Compressed Form Grey", 2014, 1230 x 10mm; "Compressed Form Pink", 2014, 1000 x 250mm; "Compressed Form Black", 2018, 400 x 400mm, Ceramic.
Sally Osborn’s unglazed fired ceramics provisionally stand or lean against the wall. Their form is without beginning and without end. Not quite symbol not quite sign.
Małgorzata ET BER Warlikowska, “Dump Dreams"
The "Pictomen" are three dimensional pictograms (porcelain), covered with a variety of notes (serigraphy) from inspirations, projects, to-do-lists, and dreams. These reliefs are of a diary character, uncensored, filled with wording that comes from a monologue's unconscious stream. “Dump Dreams” was inspired from the Jungian Archetype concept, the interconnection of humans regardless from time, place, as well as their collective unconsciousness.
"We have no empathy with objects that give away how they were made.
We have no interest in their origin.
Nor are we interested in the narratives attached to them.
Please don’t bore us with your heirloom stories.
Who things were owned by is as irrelevant to us as what they are made of.
Desire is rooted in oblivion.
Craft bores us.
Why would we desire a thing that bears someones fingerprints?
Why would we want to listen to the narrative of its production?
To tell the story of its provenance is an indecency towards the object,
it leaves it weak and bereft of its autonomy.
We relate to the commodity.
A thing liberated from its origin, the traces of production carefully covered,
the mystery of its existence unspoilt by information.
Information reduces empathy to knowledge.
We are not seduced by kinetic objects.
We remain ignorant to machines.
We don’t want to hear about interlocking parts and emerging functions.
Technology lacks self-containment.
If a thing is made up of too many parts, assembly becomes an issue.
Assembly requires a human hand.
We are not impressed by luxury.
The luxury object brags for all the wrong reasons.
Don’t insult us with monetary value and craftsmanship!
Ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have with objects,
and yet we remain sceptical about the concept of collecting.
To impose order onto the world seems too desperate a motive.
It remains mysterious to us why most cult objects are so obviously man-made.
Clumsily cast talismans, rugged masks carved from wood …
their patina can’t cheat the banality of their making.
An object is deemed worthy for the spiritual if it is exotic, from a distant place or period.
Yet, we believe that time and space are the wrong markers altogether.
We don’t want to know how, when or where an object was made.
The ideal object is alien.
The ideal object seems to have fallen from the sky."