BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY
With Kari Altmann, Florian Auer, David Jablonowski, Pierre Lumineau,
Metahaven, Pamela Rosenkranz, Anne de Vries
Curated by Melanie Bühler
Brands, consumer goods, and logos play an important role in the work of artists interested in internet culture. These artists comment on and celebrate the surfaces, visual regimes and aesthetic potentials of branded goods and work with the glossy shininess of brands, turn consumer goods into sculptures and rework, assemble and collect images of branded goods. BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY looks at this fascination and investigates the visual alliance between online culture and brands. It departs from the notion that images of branded commodities are powerful and attractive to work with because they express the most valuable characteristics of online image-sharing culture: they are instantly recognizable on a global scale, they implicate social relations, and they have affective qualities.
Like digital images, brands can exist in different, potentially infinite versions. They are reproduced through modularity, much in the same way as digital content evolves and gains popularity through modulation and adaptation. Their evolution is dependent on gaining visual capital, by being spread, liked and adapted. Like visual organisms they build a structure of references that is embedded in the DNA of the currently actual version of the image of the brand/good. Within this process, affect plays a key role as a relational force through which brands circulate and nestle themselves in our collective unconscious.
With the rise of the internet the context for art – its currents and networks – has changed. The circulation of images has intensified: categories and labels proliferate in the flattening and accelerating streams and feeds of Facebook and Tumblr, where images accumulate visual capital through shares and likes, regardless where the images are from, who has made them and for what purpose. As David Joselit writes "The emerging image is a dynamic form that arises out of circulation. As such, it is located on a spectrum between the absolute stasis of native site specificity on one hand, and the absolute freedom of neoliberal markets on the other."  This raises the question whether images of branded goods are so powerful for artists to work with because the neoliberal market strategies are already embedded in them. By building on the corporate images, which are carefully crafted to be successful on the market, artists are thus arguably intensifying the value of their own visual capital.
BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY investigates the parameters of this slippery terrain, with works that oscillate between adaptation and identification, celebration and perversion of branded imagery. Exhibited in the stasis of the exhibition space while building on the visual capital of branded goods, these objects and images manage to frieze, intensify, critique, and pay homage to the commercial cosmos they have departed from. If contemporary art is, as Hito Steyerl says "squarely placed in the neoliberal thick of things"  this exhibition highlights and questions this position by examining how the visual language of our contemporary entrepreneurial consumer society impacts art making.
 David Joselit, After Art, 2012.
 Hito Steyerl, Politics of Art: Contemporary Art and the Transition to Post-Democracy, published by e-flux, 2010.
With Kari Altmann (1983, USA), Florian Auer (1984, Germany), David Jablonowski (1982, The Netherlands), Pierre Lumineau (1986, Switzerland), Metahaven (The Netherlands, founded in 2006), Pamela Rosenkranz (1979, Switzerland), Anne de Vries (1977, The Netherlands)
List of works: BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY
Not Yet Titled (punching bag), 2013
leather cloth, textile, chain
155 x 70 x 35 cm
Not Yet Titled (sky), 2014
Digital print posters
84.1 x 59.4 cm (each)
I almost forgot that ASICS means Anima Sana in Corpore Sano, 2007
ASICS sneakers, plaster, silicone
Silkroad: Nomadic Chess, 2013
Silkscreened leather tiles, metal rings
130 x 130 cm (each)
Anne de Vries
Steps of Recursion – Tuned (classic), 2012
Photo prints on PETG plastic between wall and floor
30 x 110 cm
Anne de Vries
Steps of Recursion Tuned (on rail), 2012
Stainless steal construction with photo prints on PETG plastic
220 x 150 x 65 cm
Ttoshibaa: 10,000 Impressions, 2009 - ongoing
Blanket, monitor, slide-show
Powerslave, Revolution Main (Signature Series), 2011
Glass, asphalt, sneakers, shoeboxes, monitor
31 min video with sound
100 x 90 x 50 cm
Lasercopy on paper and inkjet on paper
84.1 cm x 118.9 cm and 29.7 x 21.0 cm
Soft Brand Abstracts: World Exposé, 2012-ongoing
To be released during BRANDS – CONCEPT/AFFECT/MODULARITY
Yves Scherer's practice revolves around the various forms that communication can be channeled through. By means of texts, designs, cyber and internet tactics, the way technology at large influences our everyday life, the artist explores not merely the meaning of the message itself but moreover how this message can be captured and thus displayed in alternate settings. What container carries which image or which image in turn gets projected or inscribed onto what surface, Scherer is vividly changing the interface of all his surfaces, their (sur)face becomes content and thus the display-strategy for each new environment. Film works, sound-installations, objects which are haphazardly set against theatrical settings shift from "virtual" interiors, the insides of PCs, their housings to a real encounter. Large perspex boxes that normally serve to protect an artwork become the protagonist in Scherer's work, the perspex as transparent housing for nothing but volume, or rather the idea of the potential. Sometimes these boxes are scratched, written or sprayed on, they can serve as screen for a recorded Skype conversation that is projected against them or one the other hand hold an artwork inside them, such a fake piece of grass, old carpets, et al, heralded (or poked fun at?), as another form of new painting. These large boxes of perspex can hang, stand or lean against the wall and become sort of mirrors for the audience; they leave enough space for interpretation and simultaneously they allude to the desire that Scherer insists of capturing, one of transcendental omnipresence if one permits to mix philosophical ideas with the mundane and virtual "all-knowing" web content. This strategy is repeated in other works by him such an empty computer tower, with its side open, but stuffed with a winter's down-jacket. The computer tower can also become a source of light, hanging from the ceiling, a “tattoo” like form is stenciled out through the metal siding, the light emits from there. A nice parable to the knowledge and importance of this construct which processes and channels all the information we come across in the web, our source of information today.
For this exhibition, Yves Scherer has taken the former garages outside at SALTS, closed them almost entirely and created a self-sufficient story-cycle within this now window-less cubicles. The two rooms are an attempt to bring the virtual, the digital information he collected from the net, the hypothetical and the obsessive elements from the world of glamour, stars, communication and longing into the physical space, a sort of three dimensional rendition of a two dimensional sourcing process, a personal adaption of what it could feel like if we were to find ourselves inside a computer filled with various thoughts, feelings and physically felt confrontations. Its a long shot from the vision of the hollywood film Tron, the 1982 film where the protagonist gets caught inside a video-game and ends up having to fight for his life but in fact, if he dies in the game he dies in real life. Here we find ourselves in less violent and more surreal setting, two rooms, one dominated by white day like setting, the other by a dark, more night setting tell the story of a young woman who is trying to find herself. A set of perspex boxes, inscribed with a poem, a small Manga Style drawing, a portrait, is taped to the wall, the recorded sound of a ventilator hissing, emits from a loudspeaker sitting on the floor – the other room, adjacent emits an even louder sound, the room is insulated, hardly lit - a woman is standing in the space, with her back turned the entrance, the viewer. The hyperreal encounter makes these living quarters bizarrely a sad place, a gritty room, a dream like, isolated space which seems to be missing some information, which is lacking some details, a rendering not complete. Welcome to Coney Island.
Yves Scherer – List of works
230 x 260 cm
More than distance between us, 2014
Perspex, fake flowers, marker pen, smear
Diptych 210 x 140 x 5 cm (each)
Inkjet print on canvas
170 x 85 x 4 cm
Pencil, inkjet print on paper, tape
29.7 x 21 cm
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, 2014
Steamed beech, necklace
165 x 48 x 35 cm
Coolermaster Silencio III, 2014
Industrial fan, foam