Contemporary art does not claim that it needs to be completely understood or comprehended by everyone. In fact, for many, it evokes a feeling of discomfort and is often outwardly rejected. However, one cannot deny contemporary art the simple fact that it is the only sphere of intellectual activity that provides us with such a subtle and accurate perception of our time on an emotional, visual, and psychological level.
One of the fundamental understandings of archeology is the “artifact,” which is a portable item that carries the footprint of human activity. The exhibition “Bad Planet” is a collection of artistic artifacts that convey the pain, nerve, accomplishments and blunders of mankind at the beginning of the 21st century. This is a “geological” cross-section by which our progeny will be able to objectively judge the problems and worries of our contemporaries.
The exhibition consists of works from nine actively working artists that reside in Germany and the United States – countries of the trendsetters, who dictate the current tendencies and directions of contemporary art. Among them are: Sarah Morris (USA), Tony Matelli (USA), David La Chapelle (USA), John Miller (USA), Roxy Paine (USA), Ryan McGinnes (USA), Jonathan Meese (Germany), Andreas Slominski (Germany), Anton Henning (Germany).
Artists – guides, psychics who soar amongst the ideas and emotions that fill the air. In the visual sense, they are able to give form to that which has not yet been verbally formulated nor has there been a diagnosis established or a judgement carried out.
A world that is relieved of any substance or meaning tries to replace it with the luxurious brilliance of its wrapping. The world of a triumphant surrogate: from food and material things to organs and ideas. This is a world, in which the substitutes have ceased to function as a required necessity and have instead become superfluous.
The last series of works by David La Chapelle are, in fact, representative of this notion. These clown and transformer people are unable to obtain any form of belief or meaning and are entirely focused on themselves and the fine tunning of their external appearance. La Chapelle’s photographs convey a sense of inquietude, as if on the threshold of a catastrophe or an apacolypse resembling that of Pompeii, in which a civilization tainted by its sins was buried underneath the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius.
In the world of glitz and glamour, everything that fails to shine is also devoid of any value. In the gold-covered reliefs and sculptures of John Miller there are items of everyday activity in which even the waste products, and, likewise, the instruments of abuse and murder, acquire an enitrely different meaning within their gold membrane. Everything that is covered in gold becomes a fetish and everything that remains does not even require attention.
It is a world in which the manifestations of the living and natural, ranging from the emotional to the indigenous environment, have become anachronisms. At first, everything must be rolled out with asphalt, and then, to “animate” the sterile interior of the typical concrete box that is built upon it, one must insert flowers and grass made of silicon and latex. The question of equivocality regarding certain achievements of our civilization emerges as the keynote in the entire body of work by the young American artist Tony Matelli – spanning from his Fuck’d series to his artificial plants and “vegetable” people.
What does Andreas Slominski’s sealed, airtight container constrcuted from metal and plastic and filled with a randomly collected combination of banal items that have no connection to one another mean? Analogously, a note in a bottle which has been thrown into the sea with the dim hope of finding its addressee or a tellurian message that is periodically cast into outer space with the intention of reaching extraterrestrial civilizations. This information about us today is for those who will receive it tomorrow. It is a slice of our daily life with all its mindlessness and chaos.
Bad Planet is representative of our very own planet that has been marred far less by meteorites than by the constant poisoning and mutiliation resulting from human activity. Bad Planet is an exhibition that provides us with a perspective of our world through the lense of exaggerated criticism. Is it possible for us to ignore this particular view of our world? We can all agree that according to the laws of nature everything that exists in this world gravitates to a certain balance. Therefore, a time for an exhibition entitled “Wonderful World” is not far off.