Artists: Nils Alix-Tabeling and Barbara Kapusta
Exhibition title: In Middens
Venue: Gianni Manhattan, Vienna, Austria
Date: January 21 – March 4, 2017
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Gianni Manhattan
‘It’s daybreak. The break of day. Toby turns this word over: break, broke, broken. What breaks in daybreak? Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light?
She shifts her binoculars. The trees look as innocent as ever; yet she has the feeling that someone’s watching her – as if even the most inert stone or stump can sense her, and doesn’t wish her well…The floating orange triangle, the talking crickets, the withering columns of vegetation, the eyes in the leaves. Still, how to distinguish between such illusions and the real thing?’
The Year of the Flood — Margaret Atwood
The items still need to be categorised: a carcass, fake eyelashes, a fist, 8, a pair of shoes.
Archaeological artefacts excavated at two different locations within the same site are not necessarily from the same era. The strata of the earth can vary. The purpose of these objects can fluctuate over time, matter has a tendency to accumulate in events. We move backwards through stories, peeling layers of events away like flaky dead skin.
We decipher relics, materials, reconstruct usages and beliefs. The evidence only makes sense when cross-read against our own blueprints. To code and decode language, tokens and DNA. We analyse and slice, copy and sequence, and assemble a scenario. Left with the shells of a culture we colour in the blanks. Ponder terms like communities and politics, borders and identities, trying them on but they feel like a skin that no longer fits.
A log of something that has happened. Half snake, half woman, half animal, half culture. It’s unclear yet wether these relics are from a muddled past or
a monument to a future yet to come.