VEIN SECTION at Berthold Pott Gallery / Cologne

VEIN SECTION / curated by Thomas Caron and Manor Gruenwald 

with: Davide Balula, Amy Brener, Nicolas Deshayes, Sarah & Charles, Loup Sarion, Piotr Skiba

June 9 – July 8, 2017

Berthold Pott Gallery
An der Schanz 1a
50735 Cologne, Germany


Installation views “VEIN
SECTION”, group exhibition at Berthold Pott Gallery, Cologne

Courtesy Berthold Pott Gallery, Cologne, 2017

Vein Section is a group
show which tells the story of that which remains. In a world without humans,
what survives is a different kind of life. An archaeological view of this
post-industrial reality reveals a landscape of materials – bodies of work that bear
witness to the rise and fall of mankind and its growing dependence on
technology. In this context, materiality gains a life of its own.
Evolution is slow but steady, and we are witness to
transformations between what is and what seems, between hard and soft, fluidity
and rigidness, static and active. The objects betray their maker in the sense
that they are ambiguous about their provenance; they seem to exist for
themselves, born out of themselves. They find their own way in the exhibition
space and, with the public’s mind as a go-between, tell their own story. To be
present is to gather meaning; together with their occupation of space, these
works carve out an existence.
The first thing you see upon entering the space is a
gigantic brick wall, moving slightly in the breeze.  The bricks are, however, not real, but rather
part of a curtain, a backdrop which seems like a prop from a long-gone past.
This Brick Curtain by Sarah &
Charles dominates and scenographically divides the exhibition space into four
zones in which different things seem to happen, all related to this
post-industrial reality of materials, from which mankind seems to be erased.
On one side of the space, closest to the door, is one
of Davide Balula’s River Paintings,
for which the artist submerges canvases in rivers and creeks to inundate them
with water, soil, and algae. Balula’s investigation of the transformation and
evolution of natural elements presents literally what remains – a faithful
representation of the landscape, in this case of the area around Torsey Creek
in Maine (US).
It’s a different kind of remainder then Loup Sarion’s Superstitious. These are man-made forms,
sculptures based on drawings and collages of old industrial parts used in
plumbing – such as pipes, faucets, and connectors. By adding anthropomorphic
elements to these industrial remnants, Sarion creates new characters that
inhabit this post-industrial reality of materials – their vaguely recognizable
material and formal traits are simultaneously attractive and repulsive.
A similar feeling is evoked by the work of Nicolas
Deshayes. Despite being comprised of slick industrial materials, his work
maintains a slightly repulsive organic presence in the form of various bodily
references. His Vein Section (or a Cave Painting)
– a series comprised of vitreous enamel on steel which gave this exhibition its
title – balances on the binary contradictions between future and past, organic
and industrial, being and representing. Are we looking at a remnant of a human
past or at the starting point of a new post-industrial future?
Amy Brener’s work closes the circle formed around
Sarah & Charles’s brick curtain backdrop. Brener strives to encapsulate the
present and depict it from a removed standpoint, as though examining a museum
artefact. She traps everyday objects such as ferns, forks, fragments of combs,
seeds, brackets, keyboards, and pliers in silicone – rendered useless, but
preserved forever as time capsules. She treasures the minutiae of our time in
the same way we do those of the ancient world, creating forms that resemble
ruins, yet contain very specific – disposable – elements of contemporary life.
Scattered throughout the space are Pjotr Skiba’s
small, fossilized remnants of our contemporary disposable culture, such as
bronze casts of chicken wings, chopsticks, and plastic cups. Together, these
works are at the same time a warning and a reminder of where we are inevitably