04/24/2018 - 07/22/2018
It is not uncommon for only a small shift within the states to be required, one could also say a shift in perspective, and all of a sudden the threads that were previously invisible to which our view of the world and our perception of reality are attached appear again. How arbitrary and accidental the nature of reality is, which we experience as given and self-evident in everyday life, is revealed to the viewer at such a moment - he pauses for a moment and is amazed at the contingency of the world. And maybe a new thought will arise.
The artists Alicja Kwade and Jorinde Voigt succeed in such a shift in their exhibition Shift Matters in the Villa Schöningen. The title already makes it clear that we are dealing with at least a twofold form of displacement, as it refers, with its twofold meaning, directly to the central difficulty of being able to pinpoint meaning and the creation of meaning at all.
The formula “Shift Matters” could on the one hand be read as an invitation to the viewer to direct his attention to the importance of such “shifts”, on the other hand the title (in terms of its meaning) with “move materials” could also be understood and translated much more specifically become - depending on the reading, the two words change their function, sometimes being a verb, sometimes a noun. Shift Matters, the decision is up to the beholder.
The works of Alicja Kwade, who lives and works in Berlin, have always referred to a reality behind the obvious. In her conceptual art she breaks physical laws and thus reliably undermines the trained viewing habits; it doubles objects that can otherwise only be imagined singularly, it separates and unites things that cannot be separated and cannot be united, or it transfers materials from their actual state to an unexpected new one.
In their expansive presence and objectivity, the works of Kwade's assembled in the exhibition are mostly conveyed to the viewer in a direct way: a boulder cut in the middle by a pane of glass, a slide rule whose spheres - no longer functionally - are no longer lined up on the pole, instead, on the floor in front of it, there is a four-fold mirrored table, divided and yet always whole, which only finds its actual form through this reflection; you do not need a proven analytical skill for this brilliant aesthetic experience. What if the world looked like Alicja Kwade shows it?
In addition to this direct form of shifting in perception, we also experience a kind of shifting in the exhibition itself - it is created precisely by juxtaposing the works of Alicja Kwade and Jorinde Voigt. While Kwade's sculptures and installations suddenly and instinctively penetrate our perception and cause unrest there, Voigt's works on paper target the viewer's subconscious.
The works of the classically trained musician can be read as visual compositions. Again and again shapes and structures shine through that the viewer thinks he knows, but in the next moment the ensemble of colors and shapes has eluded common understanding. We see lines drawn with fine lines, repetitive structures and patterns, scores and notations that can be read as a subtext of the work - but a final decryption must fail, cannot and must not succeed.
These are works that the critic Niklas Maak once tried to describe as "graphic world capture machines". Probably Voigt's complex picture-text associations target our subconscious precisely because they arise from hers.
The Shift Matters exhibition draws its dialectical power from the visual and conceptual contrast that becomes evident between the two artists. There, where they meet, there is still something undeveloped to be discovered, an open space of possibilities in which we may even be able to flip an inner switch by playing with our own perception.
Because that also means "to shift": switching.
The fact that Kwade and Voigt meet here in a joint exhibition is not only due to the conception: the two artists studied together for a while with Christiane Möbus at the University of the Arts, they are linked by a special friendship, mutual accompaniment and great fascination at each other's work.
Text:Timon Karl Kaleyta