Artists: Thea Djordjadze, Estrid Lutz & Emile Mold, Vincent Knopper, Amaury Daurel, Victor Delestre
Exhibition title: Everything you need to bring bathrooms to a shine
Venue: Deborah Bowmann, Brussels, Belgium
Date: October 9 – November 30, 2015
Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Deborah Bowmann, Brussels
Deborah Bowmann Brussels, its representatives and Deborah Bowmann herself are pleased to present the new collection Everything you need to bring bathrooms to a shine, a collaboration with Thea Djordjadze, Estrid Lutz & Emile Mold, Vincent Knopper, Amaury Daurel and Victor Delestre.
Ever ything you need to bring bathrooms to a shine focuses on the ascendancy of and our fascination with industrial production and how it affects our consciousness and our relation to the world in the domestic sphere, in both practical and symbolic ways. Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago, modern man has been accustomed to seeing, desiring, buying and consuming products, which are a direct issue of machines. The characteristics of these cutting edge technologies are almost always identical and on a huge scale.
The enormous change that this has brought about in terms of our relation to objects and images is still diffcult to gauge. These industrial goods – or ‘phantasmagoria’ as Walter Benjamin put it – possess magical qualities, both reassuring and perplexing. These little miracles are both submissive and neat, available and effcient: the perfect assistant. Even better, the shiny exteriors of refrigerators, televisions and cars endlessly throw our image back at us as we approach them, as if telling us that they are made us, for us the individuals and the subjects. Despite mass production in series and mass standardization, the publicity apparatus, as well as the exhibition apparatus, have succeeded in transforming these repetitions of the same into seemingly unique objects. In these the singular and the standard are blended into a standard singular, crafted for our individual desires. Furthermore, there industrial commodities present a paradox: their short lifespan and constant remplacement by superior models created by rapid technological progress induce a sort of lack of interest in their consumers – consumers that we could perhaps no longer deem as being ‘materialist’, since one can be less attached to an object when one knows that better ones will soon be coming. However, there is a virtual fetishism attached to these same objects that somewhat contradicts such an interpretation. As such, our relation to objects is primarily virtualist. The idea that the domestic space is one of the last bastions of identity and intimacy is slipping away. Not only does commercial imagery suggest how we should use and relate to these object – the ways in which they might participate in our intimacy and identity – but the very possession of said object constitutes a particular shifting of terrain. This produces a form of alienation from our own ways of behaving, using and repairing, a dispossession by the possession. Everything you need to bring bathrooms to a shine gathers together artists whose practices call upon and investigate these virtual and phantasmagoric relations to objects, casting doubt on using itself. If these artists adopt codes and vocabularies belonging to industrial imagery or actual industrial objects and their products, their rereadings of them are complex – oscillating between imitation, tribute, serious parody and destruction. It resolves in a form of fascination which does not act to prevent the re-orienting of these objects for other uses, but rather makes them work as joyous profanations, made for doing with. In their various ways, the works presented in Everything you need to bring bathrooms to a shine highlight some of the defciencies of these industrial phantasmagorias, which are not necessarily materialistic, but maybe even idealistic. Sculptures, pictures and design pieces allude to taking revenge on usage and on the prefabricated functions of the objects, as the objects themselves coming to life and becoming conscious of their condition. As the anthropomorphic vases and containers from pre-Columbian civilizations show us, our objects made to our image as we are made to theirs; they work upon us as much as we work upon them. These vases seem to tell us silently that they are vessels that could hold different contents.