artists & participants
Voices, noises, causes, poses, losses - all seem to be a set of propelling narrative paradigms, potential characteristics which may allow access to the work that has emerged within the contemporary. Artists' voices, more than ever before in the history of art, are redolent of a desire to scrutinise that assists in re-arranging the facts of the dense, dark and turbulent histories and archives of the contemporaneous condition; as Gayatri Spivak has argued, 'access depends on where we stop'.
In managing and starting artistic conversations that end or begin in engaging us with examining their result and effecting our minds to think further and deeper of its meaning, artistic works can start to create an interstitial space between ourselves and our obsession with finding a context.
Culture and cultural production concerns itself with the notion of temporalities, including space, time and site. The relations of this world in its time acts as co-ordinates to these facts which often provide invaluable vectors for artistic journeys, evaluating context, married as this often is in artistic discourse, to material reality. The three voices in my head are an inspiration for the first of a series of exhibitions by the curator, Shaheen Merali, who looks at such diverse individual voices and their notations of the world in such contrary ways.
In the work produced by all three artists, the one concern that remains stable is their differing relationship to the notion of a globality and its uncontrollable wanton of consumption. This is mediated in incredibly differing ways by each individual; in the case of Volz, it remains an important concern yet one that is located in the way aspects of the human body remain dislocated within the maze of the energies that surround their daily realities, whilst in the work of LeFevre it is in its main 'target' of attack as an act of destruction that consumption becomes dislocated. A second factor that binds the three disparate positions together is their writing and speaking from out of the urban sprawl and, through it, recognising their cultural guardianship, of an urbanity, developed under the aegis of a modernity spellbound by an unrealistic emphasis on progress. All three artists, but most particularly Mattern, work to make this sphere of misunderstanding about the positives of modernity's myth. She creates a subtext in the way her assembly of lasers and fluorescent lights create a quiet beauty that dissects the urban, exposing its vulnerability, which now has come to haunt us as the fear and the terror of living a lie.
We find ourselves at an awkward threshold within these works, wherein we are left with evaluating battered values and our own impotency to fight the moral high ground, which seemed the imperative of our hard work and a given in the west. In this frozen godown of the new millennium, alongside these voices, we look within the imaginary for answers in recognising a future for these disturbing encounters in times that remain at their best uncertain and tainted.
Shaheen Merali is both a curator and writer, currently based in London and Berlin.
(Text by Shaheen Merali)
Three voices in my head
Yvette Mattern - Gregg Lefevre - Ulrich Volz
Kurator: Shaheen Merali