Isoptera edenda collis
- Jennifer Gelardo
- Sebastian Hoch
- Ma Jia
- Saskia Te Nicklin
- Jakob Rockenschaub
- Johanna Charlotte Trede
When entering the burrow the surrounding climate changes rapidly. My quick steps are leading me deeper into the labyrinthine situation. The cool air around my feet exaggerates the rapid decrease of daylight with every move I make. The inner parts of the construction’s base are an amorphous assemblage of figures, doors, and passages, which pivot elegantly around a sequence of vertical clearings. Within the gloomy atmosphere of this interior, my connection towards the outside starts appearing very abstract. Only a few little openings perforate the well-tempered environment of these twisted tunnels. Every now and then, a sky shaft reflects a play of blurry light beams. Losing my sense of direction, I enter a state of delirious disconnection from any idea of an outside world.
The group show Isoptera edenda collis, Latin for “termitarium,” is located in the archive room of the former Bank Austria headquarters in Vienna. A space full of traces, inscriptions, and hidden remarks, it points towards a bygone time and the now-evaporating atmosphere of a continuously expanding financial metabolism. Archival shelving, left behind, tells an intimate and distinct story about the bank’s inner constitution. Long rows of business literature were once stored to the left and the right of the room’s narrow corridors. In a dual gesture of sympathy and antipathy, the artists in this exhibition open and fill, add to and reconfigure the vocabulary of the archive’s leftovers. Continue reading at the end of the page...
Exposing and housing individual and social conceptions is what connects the pieces throughout the exhibition. Jennifer Gelardo inserts an introverted form of a non-site seen from an aerial view into an opening in the archive room’s floor. The photographic light installation refers to her previous works, seen here in documentation, as well as to their specific language of framing conditions. Her works often include a performative capacity, i.e., when being used as game figures in the game tu quoque which she developed recently. Pose is the title of Johanna Charlotte Trede’s unfired clay sculptures, or, as she calls them, “sculptures without ego.” Occupying a precarious temporality, they are placed within public space, where they slowly degrade through weathering. Photographic documentation is the only permanent memory of the works following this process.
Four large aluminium panels display two wood glue drawings by Saskia Te Nicklin. When moving in front of the metal panels one’s reflection is engaged immediately. As extensions of the environment, her pieces connect the actual space and the allegorical narratives derived from belles-lettres which are the basis of her drawings. The light sculpture of Jakob Rockenschaub also interacts with the archive in terms of personal perception. Through the use of special high-intensity discharge lamps, he absorbs the space into an ever changing play of colours. The mysterious mechanism tints its surroundings and the works close by in a gradual movement of light temperatures.
The two vitrines of Sebastian Hoch contain a collection of objects he found during his walks along the River Thames. While the bustling city of London seems to follow a commercial drive, the river's periods of low tide offer possibilities of introspection. Looking onto the sand from above he collected various sorts of objects from different epochs and materiality. In an era of hyper capitalism his collections speak about the political power of personal notion which is proactively reorganizing value within transcribed social codes.
With its baffling dark red surface, Ma Jia’s blurry painting relates to the Chinese philosophy of I Ching. By abstracting the first chapter of the book, she entangles viewers into the depth of the material through candidly bridging the Chinese and Western means of perception. Mounted directly onto the metal shelves, her piece contributes to the intimate agenda of hide and seek that gently moves through the exhibition.
Photography: Foundation and Aljoscha Ambrosch
The exhibition was realized within the archive of a previous Bank Austria building at Parallel Vienna 2018.
With kind support of the district Wien Landstraße and Wien Kultur.