It seems hopeful; getting send into space, away from earth. However nothing could be further from the truth; at return a tragic death awaits.
From the early 90s onwards, NASA has been doing gravity-experiments involving the use of jellyfish. The jellyfish get shot into space, but upon return a tragic death awaits. Are they disappointed about the promised deliverance which didnt come? Jellyfish Hate Life on Earth gives hope, with which all daily worries seem to vanish, but then reality sets in; there is no way out.
In his second solo exhibition at Galerie Gabriel Rolt
, Abner Preis plays with this ironic element. Big societal problems are central in the work of Abner Preis. A parallel can be seen between Charlie Chaplin and Preis whom both tell stories about heavy themes in a light hearted and funny way. Through childish language and imagery his stories seem light hearted, but light hearted they are not at all. The happy-ending element which is evident in all Preis stories make them consumable but at the same time, just like the jellyfish, you are being confronted with harsh reality. The stories told by Abner Preis though, do offer a way out: there is always hope. The seemingly hopeless situation is central to Abner Preis newest story Kimmie Bigbuttoms Journey to Planet Big azz.
In the main space of the gallery Abner Preis presents two new kinetic, performative sculptures, in a decor-like world. The decors are illustration of his stories. Especially for Jellyfish Hate Life on Earth he has created a setting in which you seem to be set above life, like the jellyfish are put by NASA. But then, after a while, you get set back in the life you wanted to escape, now with hope.
In the gallery´s project space of the gallery, Abner Preis is caught in the inevitability of the daily grind. During the exhibition Abner Preis will be working from 9 to 5, artistic practice as day-to-day labor with just a one hour break.
Here, Abner Preis most iconic work is shown: Spot and Stripes. Surrounded by mdf-sculptures from the story Spots and Stripes he will tell stories, put on face-paint, get it back off again, tell more stories, and put face-paint on etcetera. He has no contact with people other than in the space, except during his break, then he is set free for a moment, he can get out to eat lunch.
The liberation is short-lived though, after lunch work continues and again Abner Preis, like every single one of us will repeatedly realize: there is no way out.