Jun 15 – Jul 30 2016
von Bartha, Basel
Christian Andersson presents an exhibition of new and recent works at von Bartha, Basel. The artist employs a mixture of sculpture, installation and video to examine the relationship between science, reality and fiction. Often appropriating tropes from science fiction, Andersson’s work speaks of an intermediary space existing on the periphery of our everyday experience. Rather than presenting a singular approach to reality, the artist explores multiple viewpoints simultaneously, providing the viewer with a broader perception of the world as we know it.
For this exhibition, the artist has created distinctive realms within von Bartha’s 850m² gallery space. The gallery’s entrance hosts Column Shred (2015), six hanging floor-to-ceiling prints. Creating the illusion of architectural columns, the installation is in fact a series of paper documents, printed on one side and shredded at the bottom. Here architecture and history are reduced to a printed sourcecode. Yet, these fragile membranes charge the space with a binary function; seen from one side they seem to be architectural structures, seen from the back, blank pieces of paper. Passing through the space, the visitor constantly has to reconfigure their perspective moving through this changing landscape.
In the mid-part of the gallery we encounter a new work, Chroma Key Twine (2016), based on green screen backdrops, commonly used in TV and film production to create virtual backgrounds. By braiding two screens together, which both allude to the existence of an imaginary world, Andersson suggests the existence of two future universes in parallel.
At the rear of the gallery the film Dreamcatcher (2015) plays on a double-sided screen. Described by the artist as a recorded dream inside the mind of an artificial intelligence, Dreamcatcher tracks a journey through a montage of imagery, including paintings by the Surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico, science fiction illustrations and animations, all of which equoke the feeling of a space beyond their two dimensional form. The final moments of the film focus on one of de Chirico’s paintings in particular – Le Creveau de L’Enfant (The Child’s Brain, 1914) – which depicts a male figure facing forward, his eyes closed. As the camera hones in on the figure, the hand of a robot reaches out to touch the painted face and as it does the man’s eyes open suddenly and stare vacantly at the viewer.
In Inside the Evil Genius of a King (2016), Andersson uses another of de Chirico’s paintings as a starting point. One hundred years after the Italian artist painted his iconic metaphysical images, Andersson reflects upon the virtual nature of our world today, identifying with the author David Foster Wallace’s observation, “For our generation, the entire world seems to present itself as ‘familiar’ but since that’s of course an illusion…maybe any ‘realistic’ fiction’s job is opposite what it used to be – no longer making the strange familiar but making the familiar strange again.” Using history as a point of departure, he imagines what it would be like not to simply look at a landscape, but to physically and practically go back to the mystery of a site. Propelled by his study of older metaphysical theories, Andersson presents an updated metaphysics for the 21st century.
The exhibition will coincide with Art Basel 2016. A special Open House event takes place on 14 June to celebrate the exhibition opening.
In 2016 Andersson will participate in group shows at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg and Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. This autumn, together with curator Erich Weiss, he is planning a solo project for the Mies van der Rohe pavilion in Barcelona, and in 2017 he is taking part in a major commission in Le Havre, France, curated by Marc-Olivier Wahler.