Judith Egger & Mirjam Kroker
Curated by Susana Bañuelos & Begoña M. Deltell
We are not conscious that we make a mistake seeking the sources of knowledge through statics, since history has shown us that nothing is fixed, stable or permanent. This deals with reading or learning how to interpret the world around us by recognising our sources on the ground we walk on, as well as in the sky, the mountains, the clouds, the rocks and the rivers, the seas, the trees, the animals, and people who have been in our lives.
The Primacy of Movement, fluidity and friction in nature, exchange of the earth, the sky, the wind, the climate, etc. Experiences of light, sound, what is changing, what is nomadic, what is imperceptible, and what is illegible do not lack of existence for being invisible (Tim Ingold, Being Alive, 2011:12). We are walking through a space having no reference, being labyrinthine, infinite, lacking scale or centre, being a synaesthetic space, the smooth space (Deleuze and Guattari's work A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 2008).
This exhibition is conceived as a dialogue between two artists, Judith Egger and Mirjam Kroker, both of German origin. They identify themselves as citizens of the world, sharing concerns that contemplate many synchronicities and analogies. In this dual project, life is proposed as a process of walking, a new idea of movement, knowledge and being alive at the moment when events are taking place. The idea of transformation or vision of environment and life from the perspective of art is common since art moves away from the existing. This occurs in order to create new formulations and possibilities of observing the world through different proposals, from a fundamentally experimental approach: Judith from the point of view of science and Mirjam from anthropological perspective.
In her work, Judith Egger explores the relationship between nature and art, science, and humanity, investigating the processes of transformation that affect the matter and, consequently, human beings. Egger uses scientific methods to question her limitations in giving clear answers to the meaning of our existence. Through her ironic actions filled with poetry, the artist makes us reflect on the processes of dehumanisation while appealing to our conscience, forcing us to wake up from intellectual lethargy we are suffering in a society that ignores its origins and that is destroying its environment. Judith is driven by the question of "life force", so that Élan Vital concerns her in her facilities, drawings, photographs, and performances. The principle behind the origin of life has fascinated her for years, as well as changing manifestations of energy.
She presents a set of videos, photographs and drawings being related to different issues which have been raised here. It is called Origins (Silicium I and II) and it is part of a project in collaboration with biophysicist Professor Dieter Braun for the creation of Origin/Origins -an experimental approach to self-organisation of the matter and the origin of the first life on Earth-.
Field notes from the wild is a unique publication being displayed in the gallery space. Its constituent elements became a facility themselves. It is a pseudo-scientific magazine, a portable exhibition, in essence: a whole universe in a box. Along with photographic material, traces of nature printed on paper, notes, poems, conversation records, official documents and preparatory drawings are also included, and all of them emerged during the creative process. Following scientific procedures, Judith Egger presents to us the results of a research in progress being based on the observation of natural events that attracted her attention, and that she pursued, analysed, photographed, drawn, described, and tried to come into contact. Throughout her images, she combined family life and absurdity, creating visual narratives full of humour and also melancholy.
Judith Egger continues her field research via night-time expeditions in the forest or by sea. These experiences (Naturerfahrung) are represented in her photographs and videos, showing the magic of nature. Her three videos exhibited at the gallery: Transmission Wood, Transmission Wave and Transmission Wind, allow Egger to construct her own tools in order to establish some kind of communication with the "wild". In the first one, Judith equipped herself with large antennae made of an amalgam of branches attached to her body, while exploring the deserted streets of Paris seeking remote signals; in the second one, a series of antennae are provided on the shore of Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to communicate with the sea and the waves as they break against the shore; in the third one, a sort of elements or artefacts are constructed leading out to the wind, as she walks through the greenery of a country and rural landscape.
Her videos are part of an ongoing artistic project aiming her to analyse the complex relationship between contemporary Western society and the concept of "wild", while focusing on tensions between civilisation and nature, between human construction and natural chaos.
Mirjam follows a frame of thought which is different from canonical Western culture thought. She is interested in some anthropological research methods, especially for artistic creation such as fieldwork. From there, she attempts to formulate anthropological and historical approaches, as well as conceptual art, not necessarily taking it as a contradiction.
Her work often captures moments where something that is appreciated as being opaque or invisible, or even only temporarily accessible, becomes visible and audible.
Mirjam is resistant to strict or established categories that tend
to reduce the nature of things through rationalisation, exoticisation, idealisation, and utilisation. In other words, a
complex pattern of control to maximise resource exploitation. The artist explores different ways of knowing during
the process of adapting, inhabiting, and transferring. So, certainly, what we call "nature" is inextricably connected
to culture, economy, technology, social organisation, and law. Kroker moves away from dystopian ideas about the
future or the end of nature, being more interested in inventing new narratives outside what it is established or
dogmatised. Her work is thus closer to a poetic approach, not relying on specified vocabulary to explain things, but
making room to little moments of reflection. Mirjam is actually attempting to accept uncertainty, trying to listen, as
well as welcoming the instability of knowledge for a short moment1. Instead of homogenising knowledge, she
proposes us to think like a mountain, that is to say: to think vertically, make interruptions, against this flat worldview.
The work Think like a Mountain deals, in a poetic manner, with questioning why we think what we think, why we feel what we feel and why we listen to what we listen to. This is the starting point of an experimental research in which she tries to listen to the mood of the world ("tuning of the world", a term coined by Murray Schafer).
The main work presented at gallery International Cloud Archive No. 1 is an ongoing attempt to establish a stable ground through capturing, collecting, and archiving as many clouds as possible. Thinking about this practice to stimulate a thought process between our contemporary condition at the present time and its socio-cultural, political, and poetic implications. One of the first clouds collected was found on 18 January, during the winter of 2017, in Madrid.
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