Do you realize if it were not for Edison we´d be watching TV by candlelight?
– At Boliska

Being there is the contemporary art exhibition that takes place in the famous Luisiana Museum (Humlebæk) from 10 October 2017, until 25 February 2018. For those who are not aware of the countless qualities of this exhibition space, suffice it to say that it hosts three or four exhibitions at the same time, giving space from the historical artists to today´s artists. The whole, moreover, is inserted in an articulated architectural structure, surrounded by nature, from a garden also with sculptural works, and a breathtaking view on the Level Bay. The exhibition, perhaps starting from the title, aims to make the “point of the situation” through the gaze of the 10 artists taking part in the event. Bunny Rodgers, Luisa Gagliardi, Ian Vheng, Dora Budor, Cécile B. Evans, Hannah Levy, Ed Atkins, Pamela Rosenkranz and Lizzie Fitch in collaboration with Ryan Trecarten, are the artists through whose gaze the exhibition is articulated. Probably the common interest of artists, combined with their young age, makes the theme treated of an increasing digital world, an element that groups perfectly all these personalities.

“Four Untitled Sculpures”,Hannah Levy, 2014-2017 Installation view: “Being There”, Luisiana Museum, 2018 Photo by Gregorio Vignola

Despite the different mediums, subjects, poetics and looks, the exhibition unfolds perfectly around what is the condition of contemporary man poised between extreme fascination and the fear of digital and technological. Given the circular structure of the entire exhibition space of the Luisiana Museum, there is a double possibility of going through the exhibition, so I will base myself on what I have done, without excluding others ways. Through a space that immediately creates a shock and an “other” context thanks to the lights and atmosphere created by “Anamazon (Into the Land)” by Pamela Rosenkranz, we are immersed in an alienating and almost hallucinogenic condition. Thanks to the use of a system of blue and green Quad Led lights, a large heap of earth coming from the Amazon, the speakers reproducing sounds of the Amazon rainforest, and Alexa (amazon artificial intelligence system), it seems to be staged an hybrid version, between artificial and natural, of a small piece of amazonia. In a tangle of suggestions that combine sounds, lights, colors and sound effects, we see the short circuit put in place by the artist, in dealing with the natural and the artificial, even through the virtual.

Continuing on the same conceptual direction that makes space through the different works on display, we come across the installation-video  “Lake Anticipation” by Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch. This collaboration leads to the creation of a hybrid place, in which we are insertedwithout exactly understanding the context and the “narration” that underlies this work. We are in fact surrounded by objects, trees, tents and everything that could belong to a campsite.

“Lake Anticipation”, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, 2016 Installation view: “Being There”, Luisiana Museum, 2018 Photo by Gregorio Vignola

 

Inside the wooden structure “Temple Time” is projected, a video shot following the typical dynamics of horror films within a dense space of corridors and rooms, almost like a maze. A “container” space is presented, where the unknown can freely be played inside. The point, however, is that filming is done continuously but without actually the “game”, on which the video is based, starts. All the characters seem to want to insert themselves into this dynamic, telling what they have experienced and seen thus, mixing narration, present, past and future. The use of hybrid elements, typical of the poetry of Trecartin and of its way of doing, also takes shape through the use of different and multiple shooting techniques. Everywhere is explained how there is a real desire to never start the game, because the anticipation of the same seems to be more
fun than the event itself. As it also appears in the work of Trecartin and Fitch, the digital element is sometimes taken in full, with more or less realistic creations, in 3D modeling and digital design.

“Ribbons”, in this sense, is inserted as the main work that deals with the subject, using only this type of communication. The work of Ed Atkins stars Dave, an avatar through which the artist speaks. He is very realistic, since he must really put the doubt of being an actor or a real person and not a digital creature. In fact, he has behaviors, totally human, and that are really going to undermine what is the limit that separates digital creation, and therefore the “machine”, with the fallibility and humanity of man, of the creature. In fact, Dave seems to want to create a real short circuit between these two enormous realities that sometimes coexist while others collide. At times it almost seems that to emphasize his humanity, Dave decides to show the dirt of his “corporeity”. All this situations are cyclically and contemporary displayed by projection on three different solid platforms.

Ribbons”, Ed Atkins, 2014 Installation view: “Being There”, Luisiana Museum, 2018 Photo by Gregorio Vignola

All the exhibited works enjoy an aesthetic and conceptual quality that makes the approach from the public easier. Although some works may present themselves as more complex than others, creating hybrid and ambivalent atmospheres where the viewer can find himself at moments without points of reference, the guideline that passes through all the works is often easily found and perceived. Once again we find ourselves in the presence of a great variety of works that this time also involve a considerable number of artists, in the use of different and varied mediums, from the object, to the video, to sound, to light. However, everything contributes to bringing the viewer close to a very contemporary and sensitive issue of our time.

 

Gregorio / Kunstportal

 

Sources:
https://en.louisiana.dk/
Exhibition catalogue
Exhibition captions

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