artist / participant
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary's fourth exhibition at Vienna's Augarten, Cerith Wyn Evans—The What If?… Scenario (after LG) borrows its title from Liam Gillick's eponymous work and resumes the latter's speculative character, projecting a precarious and notional sense of the future. The Welsh artist's luminous and eloquent works have been collected by TBA21 over the past ten years and are shown together for the very first time, supplemented by a newly commissioned abstract neon titled A Community Predicated on the Basic Fact Nothing Really Matters. 'Speaking' chandeliers, apparatuses emitting Morse code, installations that dramatize our perceptual habits and neon works with interleaving references disclose a web of artistic, literary and intertextual pointers waiting to be glimpsed, grasped and decoded by the beholders.
In the tradition of TBA21's Augarten exhibitions, which operate in essentially monographic yet specifically dialogical form, the show features the second iteration of Wyn Evans's collaboration with the German artist Florian Hecker, No night No day (2009), originally commissioned by TBA21 for the Teatro Goldoni on the occasion of the 53rd Venice Biennale. The work, a conjunction of two independently produced parts—a film edited by Wyn Evans and a pluriphonic sound piece by Hecker—is as much argument as it is dialogue. For this exhibition, No night No day will be configured for the first time as an installation, adapted to the spatial settings of the Augarten.
The new work, A Community Predicated on the Basic Fact Nothing Really Matters, takes its departure from representations of the trajectories of high energetic particle beams colliding at CERN's particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, superimposed with the chemical formula for LSD as synthesized by Albert Hofmann. Experience, vision and (speculative) perception introduced into notions of science, heuristics and faith, communication and illustration, give rise to an abstract geometrical figure essential for the formation and theoretization of a universal sub-atomic particle, the Higgs boson, whose provisional "discovery" was announced exactly one year prior to the exhibition's opening, namely on July 4, 2012.
The What If?… Scenario (after LG) creates a platform for a multitude of potentialities, contingencies and uncertainties about given conditions and structures of what we see, what we know and how we come to know. Rather than concretizing speculations into form, the scenarios offered remain suspended in "weak connections." Wyn Evans's artistic strategy interrupts our habitual access to the world of objects and meanings by disrupting our associative and cognitive recognition patterns, locating gaps, hinting at subliminal associations, anecdotal slippages, contingencies and errors in translation.
Working mostly with film, light, communication technologies such as Morse code, literature and quotations, the artist complicates the materiality and structural aspects of coded communication and text at the threshold of installation. Exploring and exploiting the limits of vision, the reticence of the retina and the analytical processes of structural film, he plays with the viewers' psychophysical condition, approaching their sensorium in multiple audiovisual languages that are waiting to be translated, decoded and examined within an open horizon of meaning, without ever fully losing control of the frame of interpretation.
Catalog: Cerith Wyn Evans–The What If?… Scenario (after LG) published by Sternberg Press and edited by Eva Wilson and Daniela Zyman/TBA21. Essays and contributions by Cerith Wyn Evans, Florian Hecker, Liam Gillick, Carsten Höller, Robin Mackay, Jeannie Moser, Molly Nesbit, Olaf Nicolai, Martin Prinzhorn, Maria Spiropulu, Eva Wilson and Daniela Zyman. English, ca. 130 pages.
Cerith Wyn Evans
The What If?… Scenario (after LG)
Cerith Wyn Evans