press release

Opening Friday, January 13, 2012

The group exhibition Big Fish presents three Swiss artists with distinct approaches. Similarly to how the boundaries between wish and actuality, fiction and reality, are overcome in Tim Burton's film Big Fish (2003), the three exhibited artists each attempt to alter and redefine reality and perception in their work through their own individual approach and method. The work Zwischen Kapstadt und Nordkap, by Swiss artist Klodin Erb (1963, Winterthur), shows 48 small-format representations of landscapes that were formed in black-and-white acrylic paint like reliefs on the image surface. Upon closer observation, we develop the feeling of being exposed to a flood of abstract, undefinable forms and outlines. Only when we view the entire group of images at a distance does a shift in perception occur, making the landscapes visible. Klodin Erb creates the pictures from actual memories as well as from fictions, joining these together like individual, sketchy notations. Central to this is a “desire to preserve” the landscape, a type of conservation of memories and nature. The fictional title allows for broad, personal interpretations. The viewer is urged to connect his or her own fantasies and experiences to the references found in the works, so that a subjective image arises. With his work Flashlights, Dominik Hodel (1986, Lucerne) shows a series of architecture and landscape photographs that are invaded by white structures and only depict image fragments. The strategy of the work is based on an aesthetic approximation of computer-generated images that are only produced by photographic means. Photographed with a flash, the architecture or landscapes in the foreground are transformed into erased white forms. The objects and buildings are reduced to outlines, robbed of their content entirely, and introduced into the images as pure form. The detail-rich backgrounds begin to define the supposedly erased foreground, to situate it, and to give it content. In his photographic work, Dominik Hodel repeatedly reduces everyday objects, nature, and architecture to its fundamental geometric forms. In the work Headlights I, as well, reduction recurs as a visual language. Individual car headlights are presented before a black background in a number of large-format photographs. Hodel removes the object from its original context here as well, so that the isolated thing functions as an empty shell, allowing him to investigate the object and its surface anew. The artist Luc Mattenberger (*1980, Geneva), from Western Switzerland, is above all a mechanical inventor: a designer of machines and technical instruments. Characteristic of Mattenberger's works is that they function. With his constructions, Mattenberger wants to draw attention to the ambivalent relationship between humans and machines. The work Moteur oscillant comprises a stainless steel body with a two-stroke engine hanging in space. If the chain is pulled, the installation envelops the viewer in an acrid atmosphere of benzine fumes and the body commences to swing in a constant motion. Moteur oscillant evokes religious symbolism, showing the role of faith in technology and machines. Yet, not only the machines become liturgical objects; also the space they occupy and penetrate with benzine fumes becomes a place of worship – viewed in this case as a piety of machines or else of art.

only in german

Big Fish
Klodin Erb, Dominik Hodel, Luc Mattenberger