Xavier Mary at Neuer Aachener Kunstverein

Artist: Xavier Mary

Exhibition title: Dance Floor of Emergency

Venue: Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (NAK), Aachen, Germany

Date: January 21 – March 11, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein

Belgian artist Xavier Mary chose the subtitle Dance Floor of Emergency for his works presented in the exhibition Jan Hoeft / Xavier Mary. In his artworks Mary broaches the issue of socio-economic problems of a present-day affluent society, at the same time crafting an almost modern fable about fading dreams and virtues in the afterglow of the bygone industrial age.

The two scultpures Harry (2018) and Henry (2018) in the central exhibition space on the ground floor of the Kunstverein are composed of two different tractor elements dating back to 1965, a John Deere 710 and a Massey Ferguson 165.

Surrounding these two pieces the site-specific wall installation We’ll roll coal until we die (2018) was created by grit blasting the walls with carbon dust. Now the exhibition space resembles a garage, a car repair shop or a tractor factory, the smell of petrol and oil filling the air. On the one hand Mary’s intervention unearths residues of exhibitions long past at NAK1 and on the other hand it emblematizes metaphorically the dust of time, refering to the anecdotic story of the handshakeagreement2 between Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford. Said verbal contract lead to the mass production of Harry Ferguson’s innovative tractor model. The Ferguson system revolutionized and restructured agriculture in the USA and replaced the horse as draught animal. Due to the missing written agreement Ferguson sued Ford for damages in patent violations in 1948. The legal dispute lasted for years, resulting in Ford having to pay amends in 1952, as Ferguson won in court. Afterwards he sold his firm to Canadian competitor Massey-Harris. Hereupon Ferguson founded Ferguson-Research and started to develop a new, innovative automobile. Two years before the planned completion of this endeavour Ferguson commited suicide in 1960.

By the re- and deconstruction of the historic facts Xavier Mary hints at the mechanical origins of the western industrial society and in addition relegates to the competitive situation between European and US-American corporations in the emergening capitalism of the 20th century.

In the foyer Mary furthermore presents the sculpture Dance Floor of Emergency DJ Booth (2018), consisting of the tractor cabine of the Massey Ferguson 165 and which was used during the opening; a mix of electronic, trap, dark grime and bold ballroom music by Belgium DJs Ssaliva, Liyo and Munix filled the space.

On the terrace of the outside section of the Kunstverein Mary’s sculpture Too Many Parties (2017) blazes into the interior as well as the surrounding municipal park in equal shares. Too Many Parties (2017) resembles a massive motor block in form and is composed of various vehicle’s lighting bulbs. A variable programming regulates the intervals and sequence of the illumination of the headlights similar to a lighting console in a discotheque and once more directly alluding to an excessive, subcultural nightlife.

Completing Mary’s presentation at NAK is his piece We have the same scale (2017), which was previously shown in other exhibitions as well. The relief of an eagle made of aluminium recreates a belt buckle from childhood days of the Liège born artist and therfore could be read as a signature.

___________________

1 In 2003 NAK presented the first institutional solo exhibition Brian Eno by Lucy McKenzie; inadvertently the site-specific trompe l’oeil paintings became visible again via Mary’s intervention. „McKenzie nimmt den NAK ein, verwandelt und verunklärt die Ausstellungsräume (…) durch eine Installation aus trompe l”oeil Wandgemälden und Siebdruckplakaten im Untergeschoss“.

2 „C’est le fameux accord, le plus extraordinaire accord que deux hommes de ce poids aient jamais conclu: le «handshake agreement» , une parole d’honneur pour contrat, une poignée de mains pour signature“.

Dance Floor of Emergency Drone Video, 2018, color video, 1’37’’, video by Arnaud Eubelen, Music by nevrland, Music performances by Ssaliva, Munix, Liyo

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Harry, 2018, John Deere 710 tractor parts, iron, 186 x 94 x 185 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry, 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry, 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry, 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry (detail) 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry (detail) 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry (detail) 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry (detail) 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Henry (detail) 2018, Massey Ferguson 165 tractor parts, bottle jack, 185 x 98 x 195 cm

Xavier Mary, Too Many Parties, 2017, Aluminium, truck headlights, truck rear lights, neoprene cables

Xavier Mary, Too Many Parties, 2017, Aluminium, truck headlights, truck rear lights, neoprene cables

Related Post

Leave a Comment