SITUATIONS/ #174 - #179
Aya Bundurakis » Anna Ehrenstein » Andy Kassier » Sam Mercer & Anna Dannemann » Sam Mercer & Anna Dannemann » Adrian Sauer » Jean-Vincent Simonet »
Exhibition: 8 Jun – 13 Oct 2019
Fri 7 Jun 18:00
Tue-Sun 11-18, Wed 11-20
8 June - 13 October 2019
Exhibition opening: Friday, June 7 2019, 6–10pm
In the space between object and desire, the photographic gaze occupies a unique position: it satisfies many of our yearnings and fantasies as much as it fuels them. Might the increased circulation and consumption of images of today’s visual culture be driven by an impulse that is of a pornographic nature? From obsessive binge-watching to food porn or unboxing videos in which products are carefully unpacked in front of the camera, screen-based phenomena from the realms of digital desire and fetish test the boundaries of intimacy, perversion, compulsion and drive.
SITUATIONS/Porn takes a look at such artistic and cultural manifestations to investigate the dynamics between gaze and desire against the backdrop of the networked image.
SITUATION #174: Adrian Sauer, Unboxing Photoshop, 2011
Unboxing Photoshop by German photo artist Adrian Sauer deals with the popular online phenomenon of unboxing. This involves the unpacking of electronic, cosmetic and fashion products in front of the camera – sometimes in the form of a prosaic demonstration and sometimes staged as a sensual display with voyeuristic overtones. In the twelve-part photographic series, Sauer’s hands can be seen as they introduce us step by step to the object of desire – in this case, the image-editing software Photoshop: from opening the package and removing the shrink wrapping all the way to taking out the actual product. Unboxing Photoshop demonstrates a contemporary visual phenomenon that seeks, through the gaze, to (vicariously) satisfy a fundamental need of our consumer society, namely to own a product. At the same time, the reference to Photoshop illustrates the increasing shift of the photographic production process from analogue into digital form.
On Sunday, 22 September 2019, at 4 p.m., Adrian Sauer will be talking to Mona Schubert (assistant curator Fotomuseum) about his artistic practice and about fetishistic tendencies of modern-day visual consumerism. The conversation will take place in German in the SITUATIONS/Porn exhibition space (Grüzenstrasse 45).
More by Adrian Sauer: adriansauer.de
SITUATION #175: Andy Kassier, You Were Born To Stand Out – An Intimate ASMR Selfie Tutorial with Andy Kassier, 2019
The Instagram performance Success Is Just a Smile Away (2013–) by German conceptual artist Andy Kassier is primarily concerned with issues of self-marketing on social media. With a healthy dash of irony, conveyed in overstated selfies and overmotivated captions, Kassier exposes the deceptive world of self-dramatisation and the depraved ideals of influencers who act as role models day in, day out on online platforms. They express themselves in an increasingly uniform visual language of prosperity by posing with money and luxury items – the flaunting and simultaneous exploitation of their own bodies for the mere sake of clicks and likes, an over-egged striving for success and an almost compulsive self-optimisation.
For SITUATIONS/Porn, the artist created the ASMR video tutorial You Were Born to Stand Out – An Intimate ASMR Selfie Tutorial with Andy Kassier as a guide to taking the perfect selfie. In a few, simple steps, visitors can learn how to achieve media recognition thanks to an acoustically stimulating demonstration and then apply this directly next to a life-size cardboard stand-up of Andy Kassier.
More by Andy Kassier: andykassier.com; instagram.com/andykassier
SITUATION #176: Elena Aya Bundurakis, aus Eating Magma, 2017–
In her photographic series Eating Magma (2017–), the young Greek-Japanese photographer Elena Aya Bundurakis produces dreamlike compositions that revolve around her so-called “4 Fs: my Flesh, my Food, Fauna and Flora”. The series explores the boundaries between the artificial and nature, reality and fantasy, while reflecting on our condition as living organisms with the wish to convey an experience of “cosmic or organic sensations”. Bunduraki’s use of varied substances, materials and colours in close-up bring a textural and tangible quality to the images, enhancing the act of viewing with the longing to also smell, taste and touch. The viewers’ gaze becomes entangled in a game of arousal and repulsion, whereby their desire is stimulated, yet can never be fully satisfied by the image.
More by Elena Aya Bundurakis: freethecelery.com
SITUATION #177: Anna Ehrenstein, Zen for Hoejabi, 2019
In her multimedia installation Zen for Hoejabi, comissioned for SITUATIONS/Porn, Anna Ehrenstein explores the idea of authenticity and its present-day distribution, commodification and circulation. The work focuses on the everyday use of the religiously connoted hijab, which she has witnessed being repurposed as a fashion accessory and even as a practical mobile phone holder. Ehrenstein – herself a member of the Albanian diaspora in Germany – deals with this phenomenon and with the increasingly pervasive feature of digital networks, in two 3D-printed busts and two video works looped on Huawei smartphones.
Ehrenstein’s musings on the displacement of meaning and function in cultural objects are complemented by reflections on certain ideas and moral attitudes that are currently in flux – including our understanding of what constitutes an original, an appropriation or an imitation. For this purpose, the artist exhibits lenticular prints of fake goods, with references to ‘busta accounts’, which have emerged in the context of the fashion industry and are used to check the authenticity of branded products illustrated on photographs. The installations’ central elements ultimately address questions of representation and power relations in the dynamic realm in which cultural identity is forged and definitions are negotiated – processes that increasingly follow a capitalist logic governed by digitally circulating images.
More by Anna Ehrenstein:annaehrenstein.com