until 30.09. | #3132ARTatBerlin | Sexauer Gallery currently presents the solo exhibition “Matter & Mind” by artist Isabelle Graeff.
In her solo exhibition, Isabelle Graeff reflects on the relationship between spirit and matter with ceramics, large-format photographs, a neon sign and a video installation. People have always sought answers to these questions in myth, religion and science. In her works, Graeff combines science with spirituality and contrasts a world view that is solely focused on the material and the principle of duality.
In her second solo exhibition at SEXAUER, Isabelle Graeff uses photographs, ceramics and a video installation to explore the question of matter and spirit, body and soul, atom and emotion. People have always sought answers to these questions. In myth, in religion, in science – a search with intellect, mental techniques and spirituality. The artist is particularly interested in the tension between matter and consciousness.
In the video work Quantum, three naked pregnant women recite a lecture given by Max Planck in 1944 on the primordial cause of matter. Planck postulates that there is no matter as such, only a vibration of particles behind which stands an intelligent mind.
In her serial installation Ständer (Community), hundreds of glazed ceramics stand in an organic formation. Belly-shaped hollow forms that taper upwards and, when viewed from below, are painted in different shades of red on the inside. Candles made of beeswax are stuck in the upper openings. Between the stands are acorns, since time immemorial symbols of fertility, life and immortality. The mastery of fire is considered one of the great cultural achievements. Already hundreds of thousands of years ago, fire prolonged the day through light and warmth and thus enabled an expansion and deepening of interpersonal communication.
Cosmic Soup, four vertically and horizontally mirrored photographs of a puddle, reflects the emergence of life. As a four-part overall image, the photographs are reminiscent of a toad. The animal that goes through various metamorphoses in its development from water-dwelling tadpole to hopping land animal.
In the work The Cloud of Unknowing, Graeff arranges very similar yet different ceramics into a circle. The ceramics are moulds of the artist’s body during meditation. When meditating, the boundaries of the body and consciousness are expanded. This can lead to overcoming the subject-object split (of ego and world), to a literally undifferentiated state that resembles pure potentiality in the sense of Chinese philosophy. In this pure potentiality there are still no differentiated objects and yet it is at the same time the origin of everything. This potentiality, called wuji, is also reminiscent of theories of quantum physics, according to which the universe, i.e. space, time and matter, emerged from a vacuum, a void, through quantum fluctuations.
The diptych Infinite Echo also reflects the analogies of form and the cycle of things, the connection of all beings and the transformation and entanglement of everything. Two analogue photographs: on the left a stone studded with shells, on the right a shimmering golden textile. Seemingly different objects, but actually related because everything is constantly transforming. A shell becomes dust, the dust becomes part of the earth. Here, too, the hermetic principles of analogy, polarity and vibration shine through. Everything mirrors and repeats itself, everything is twofold, everything is vibration. The second principle of analogy: “As above, so below; as within, so without; as the spirit, so the body”, the third of vibration: “Nothing rests; everything is in motion; everything vibrates” and the fourth of polarity: “Everything is twofold (…), opposites are identical by nature, only different in their expression”.
The illuminated inscription All help all above the exit door seems simple at first glance, but is actually ambiguous. Even by our omission we can help. Enabling a crime, damaging the environment or undermining public spirit. Every action and every omission has an effect. People tend to think dualistically and divide everything into right and wrong, good and evil. If one broke away from this dualism, the question arose as to whether further connections could then be recognised. Irrespective of this, however, it seems clear that “Everyone helps everyone” should have no less a claim to truth than “No one helps anyone”, the title of a work by Jörg Schlick from 1991, the motto of the Lord Jim Lodge, to which Martin Kippenberger also belonged. Which dictum is contemporary as a starting point for thinking would in any case be worth discussing.
Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 18th August – Thursday, 30th September 2021to the gallery
Exhibition Isabelle Graeff – Sexauer Gallery | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin