SEPTEMBER 12TH-DECEMBER 12TH, 2018
CURATED BY YASMINA REGGAD
EUGSTER II BELGRADE
Eugster Belgrade is thrilled to present the first solo presentation of artist duo :mentalKLINIK: Catastrophically Gorgeous. In this exhibition the artists probe a speculative approach of the future in a world triggered by hyper consumption and governed by hyperobjects.
What has just happened? What is it about to happen? What might have happened?
In Catastrophically Gorgeous :mentalKLINIK becomes the mastermind of a myriad of possible scenarios that affects the present state of the gallery space. The duo’s work fluctuates between the potentialities of provoking the event, postulating a plot for a disaster, and simply leave the viewer as sole witness to the aftermath of a crisis or leftovers of the invisible.
In keeping with their usual provocative and audacious humour, :mentalKLINIK have created a seemingly seductive stage set, as if planning a highly personal farewell party to celebrate the end of the world, based on the latent dystychiphobia, the fear of disasters waiting to happen.
The promising use of the oxymoronic descriptor ‘Catastrophically Gorgeous’ could easily stand as the ideophone for the two sculptures Moët, 1804_A and Moët, 1805_A (2018). These large-scale replicas of the opened muselets, the metal wire cages that secure corks, leftovers from bottles of the renowned French Champagne, lie on the floor under the flickering lights, as if declaring: ‘Your time’s run out!’.
In the 24 hour-looped video installation Elevated Bittersweat (2015-2018), a stereotypically perfect female body invites us to take a determined walk to reach sparklers of glory and success. In vain, the sweatless stroll turns out to be disappointingly static and endless. It leaves viewers mesmerised, in a passive attitude, contemplating the unreachable absolute symbols of entertainment, happiness and desire.
Nearby, the sententious word ‘Crisis’ is cheerfully emblazoned on the wall. In this text piece Amazeballs (Crisis), 1801 (2018), the word is spelled in vividly hued colored glass gazing balls mounted on the wall. A popular form of garden ornament, steel versions of this gazing balls are used in the agricultural technique of electroculture as an alternative to noxious chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The balls act like magnets for static charges that fill the air with higher proportion of nitrogen, a natural nutrient plants require.
In an age of advanced consumer capitalism and inherent mass production, the future appears threatening and uncertain, yet we cannot deny it is coming. :mentalKLINIK’s on-going series of replicas responds to the enormity of such system and phenomena, too big to be fixed and whose damage to the environment will outlive us. These works attempt to grasp and map the infrastructures that enable contemporary capitalism, defined as hyperobject (not as ideology or economic and political system), to function and sustain itself. The term hyperobject - coined by Timothy Morton and developed in his seminal essay Hyperobjects. Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (2013) – ‘refer to things that are massively distributed in time and space relative to humans. […] Hyperobjects, then, are “hyper” in relation to some other entity, whether they are directly manufactured by humans or not’. Out-scaled by ultimate abstracting systems and by what one cannot represent, we still have an impact upon and are interconnected with hyperobjects such as capitalism or global warming.
Social control is intrinsically embedded in common street furniture and systems of textured ground surface indicators such as paving studs. Like urban planners, in their installation Under the Dark Stars (2018), :mentalKLINIK have inserted over 3000 golden paving studs into the entirety of the gallery floor, calling our attention to these powerful instruments of regulation of street populations. Initially designed and used in the urban environment as tactile signage for both sighted and visually impaired pedestrians, paving studs are also prevention or hazard warning devices for the mobility of a new category of visually impaired, the hyper connected urban creatures that walk the streets looking down at their phone.
LIKE, SHARE, LIKE,
LIKE UNLIKE, LIKE,
:mentalKLINIK, Violently Joyful 1802, 2018. From :mentalPOETRY (2018)
In the streets, these studs can be perceived as hostile deterrents in a defensive urban architecture. In the confined space of the gallery, however, the artists carefully choreographed the movements of the crowd so that making one’s way through this labyrinthine constellation of obstacles becomes an exercise of perceiving, preventing and managing risk. Should visitors succeed in finding their way through this maze, they shall be rewarded with the sound work Wow! Fucking Awesome (2018) that will, when they least expect it, remind them joyfully that a catastrophe is always imminent.
Yasmina Reggad, 2018