Dark Matters. Takes on Conceptual and Minimal Aesthetics – Düsseldorf / Los Angeles
There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark. * Let’s start off with some seemingly obvious remarks, whilst it’s funny that we seem to so obviously know what it is that we don’t know. With dark we commonly describe for lack of better knowledge what we can’t see or recognize. But dark is also what we are not supposed to see or don’t want to see. The term herein describes, on the one hand, a field of possibilities and a threat on the other. We have to make a decision as to what to do with the dark.
Less than 5% of all the mass and energy in the universe presents itself to us. My guess is that the percentage of certainty in our lives (if via some formula, it were calculable) is about the same ratio, maybe less. Everything can change at any given moment. To be able to live with the all-determining dark you need to trust. But in what? God? Science? The romans invented the answer: Securitas, the goddess of security. Her likeness decorated Roman money and she guaranteed the safety of the borders, security of the empire and fittingly, financial stability.
This 2,000-year-young concept seems like new. Yet, it is precisely the idea of a guaranteed risk free life as the ideal of our time, which causes a constrictive understanding of how we move within the world and how we act towards one another. It is bizarre that we believe that safety and security could be products, which exemplifies that our true faith lies in monetary exchange. But security is not a product. It is always only a temporary state of the absence of danger. You can pay for it, but you won’t own it.
So, do we see dark as the imponderability of life, which we have to be armed and protected against? Or, is dark the cubbyhole of our fantasies?
Dark is indeed our true home. Dark is ultimately where everything arises, where we come from, the stream of potential which only in our intrepid consciousness unfolds as world into what we envision, what we are and who we want to be.
It’s the dark that matters.
The exhibition brings together 6 positions from Düsseldorf and Los Angeles that deal with those matters. The visualization of hidden structures by means of actions, temporary interventions and minimal gestures are techniques employed by the participating artists.
A contentual arc is traced from Krysten Cunningham’s video, a theatrical meditation on speculative physics and multidimensional models, reflections on systems of communication by Christian Jendreiko, over to Adam Feldmeth’s often times not physically materialized investigations of the internal discursiveness of the artistic process, as well as psychologically dark material in Monika Stricker’s Sweat Piece. Analia Saban and Tobias Hantmann re-illuminate the possibilities of representation through painting.
Especially in Düsseldorf and the surrounding Rhineland (unlike as for example in Berlin), there is a long regional history tracing back to the 1960s in which minimal and conceptual tendencies have been located. Herein lies the connection to the American West as a cradle of conceptual art, and both here and there, the background radiation of minimal and conceptual art produces contemporary approaches which extend and exceed these models.
Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University
October 1, 2012 through October 29, 2012