The probing of nature and the world of things through representation and imitation in order to gain a deeper understanding of the worlds being, runs like a thread throughout the history of fine art. The central theme in the group exhibition The Inner Life of Things revolves around questions of mimesis, which is understood as the simulated representation of reality, and traces the role it takes today in artistic production.
The works at the Frankfurter Kunstverein
by the artists Nina Canell, Florian Haas, Till Krause, Bettina Lauck, Yoon Jean Lee, Egill Sæbjörnsson and Andreas Wegner present different methods in the search for the Inner Life of Things. They thereby employ a formal, at first seemingly similar, language in which they mostly show series of painted, photographic or filmed effigies of everyday objects such as bottles, glasses, balls, stones, mushrooms, flowers, tools, toys or everyday products. By means of various observational and representational approaches, they carry out investigations so as to gain a better insight into the character of the object. In this manner, they also bring something fundamentally new into existence. Thus the artistic works question, in exemplarily fashion, the structure of the real world and the relationship of the viewer to it. Complementing the seven artistic positions, several objects from the Museum der Dinge / Werkbundarchiv (Berlin) will be shown.
The concept of mimesis lost its relevance by the beginning of the 20th century with the onset of modernity and prevailing mass media reproductive technologies. Since then, it is exactly this questioning that has become the central motif of artistic production: A representation of what is considered to be the real world is hardly possible without a reflexion on the parameters associated with it. Now, with the most diverse artistic strategies such as seriality, fragmentation, scaling or dissolution, images continue to come into being that put their relationship with reality or their own status into question.
Till Krause (*1965) is known for his mappings of landscapes and spaces. Yet some of his artistic investigations do not refer to actual constellations, as is so in the work Element für eine künstliche Natur.
This work consists of 128 photographs that each show the same stone before a neutral background, and in which only the viewing angle varies. After a while it becomes possible to discern that this stone cannot in fact be real and that it concerns, instead, an artificial model. It is an object, which is reminiscent of a stone, the mimetic effigy of an idea that was examined with photographic meticulousness.
On the other hand, the artist Florian Haas (*1961) presents in his naive paintings that are rich in colour, physical things that arise from his imagination. Therefore, portraits of mushrooms, flowers or physical and scenery pictures appear through a process of sensitive observation and appreciation. Then again, one is reminded of baroque models of naturalistic still life painting in the staged photography of Bettina Lauck (*1973). With dreamlike illuminated fruits, branches and blossoms, the artist leaves the likelihood open, whether they concern arrangements or natural found assemblages.
The works of the Icelandic artist Egill Sæbjörnsson (*1973) and the South Korean artist Yoon Jean Lee (*1972) focus on little noticed, everyday items such as bottles, cups, tables or chairs. Sæbjörnsson rouses arrangements of still lifes of mundane objects through the use of light, sound installations and video installations; elicits them as protagonists of his stage-like settings in the large hall of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, calling forth new traits as a result. Yoon Jean Lee, again, uses photography of supposedly trivial interior situations to question the attention that everyday objects currently receive, by way of individual visual compositions and perspectives.
The installations of the Swedish artist Nina Canell (*1979) often appear as functional interconnections: plastic tubs, neon tubes, measuring instruments, loudspeakers, fixtures and documents are combined with natural materials such as branches, stones and earth, as arrangements. These irritate, on the one hand, by means of their unusual sculptural qualities while, on the other hand, a logic of experimental circulation appears to be the outcome. The being in the thing here turns out to be an interplay between various dimensions.
The project Le Grand Magasin by Andreas Wegner (*1958) represents an exceptional contribution to the exhibition. It references a store or museum shop and as functional objects on offer that originate exclusively from cooperative production, so as to inquire into the production processes that were employed. Already installed in the previous exhibition, Notions of the Artist, the store display thus causes other issues to come to light within the scope of The Inner Life of Things.