Beck & Eggeling is pleased to announce the opening of Five Minutes of Random Love, an exhibition of new work by Tamara K.E. Five Minutes of Random Love is a multistructural show that mainly features series 'Farewellig Junkyard' and small group of works on paper 'Smart Mascara', both of which K.E. began in 2014 in New York.
It is K.E.'s first solo show in Germany since 2007.
Five Minutes of Random Love
The very title of Tamara K.E.'s exhibition is provocative–'Five Minutes of Random Love!' Is she talking about a quickie, something which is, as Duden puts it, dealt with, handled etc. in an abbreviated fashion, or even, doubtless more appropriate when talking about random love, a colloquial expression for a rapid act of sexual intercourse? Love may be random, but only five minutes of what is generally seen as the most important emotion in life would not really provide the profound, soulful devotion and intimacy suggested by the word.
However, it is by no means the case that the exhibition itself can be addressed rapidly, in an abbreviated fashion. Both the pictorial works and the entire setting are somewhat unsettling, taking us to the depths of the psyche and speaking of trauma. One piece is framed with bird's eye maple, a number of works on paper have figurative elements, body parts or heads, their appearance and the actions they portray reminiscent of wounds and torture scenes, other items have been executed on photographic slide film. Just as unsettling is the bronze swing in the style of an African mask, hanging by jute ropes from the ceiling and suitable for use–guests are welcome to swing. Masks, armour, harnesses, chamber plays and the evident use of violence. The horror is not an illusion, and yet imagined. A 3D video animation can be integrated, one that shows female wrists brushing against one another by chance and forming a 90-second loop. What is going on there?
Physical suffering as a symbol of emotional pain, with the search for appropriate shapes and colours? A search for meaning when confronted with the meaninglessness of our existence? The main body of these works is taken from the series 'Farewelling Junkyard'. The semi-transparency and the shiny, light appearance of Tamara K.E.'s pictures are accentuated by the heavy bronze substance and glistening blue monitor.
Our present-day world as a social factory full of noise, escalation and acceleration challenges us to reflect on, reimagine and redesign new and not so new sociopolitical issues in order to move forwards. Tamara K.E. not only moves forwards on these issues, she in fact moves simply and unswervingly towards that certain ID, directing her own and our eyes towards what has already been suggested as the 'unknown future' of the EGO, a poisonous mixture of the humanly incompatible, but one served up with great gusto; the SUPEREGO, possibly?
Both the individual exhibits and the exhibition as a form of staging utter the final departing cry from the junkyard of life, something reminiscent of the complexity of hysteria (an illness that was once exclusively reserved for women and is nowadays no longer considered a medical disorder but to describe speech). In the 1980s, the first scenarios of doom, scenarios such as overkill or forest dieback, started to influence the way that people were thinking and a large number of critical discussions were published on the concept of hysteria, which dates back to the 18th century, with the result that the term was deleted from medical terminology. Stavros Mentzos (1930–2015) was at the forefront of a school of thought that rejected the description of symptoms, preferring the notion of a mode of neurotic conflict-handling behaviour, drawing a line from people who really show off their sexuality to the kind who very much underplay it. The term is still used in the vernacular and tends to be used to refer to a person or a type of behaviour characterised by theatrics and the exaggerated expression of feelings, often with an undercurrent of sexuality.
The components of Tamara K.E.'s exhibition reflect the dynamics of our cultural memories, which are so suffused with great psychological tension, and the continuously braked process of transition. It combines a plethora of configurations that brings together several entities ( the digital vs. the analogue, the handmade vs. the manufactured, values vs. ideologies, and somewhere on the fringes, even a female individual) to create and visualise a discrete body in both the spatial and the emotional senses and bond them finally in the sound of the mothers.
In short on the matter of wordplays and semantic puns. 'Verhaltenslehren der Kälte' and 'Sound der Väter' about Gottfried Benn are two of the most important and highly complex books by Helmuth Lethen, in which the id's armour is praised–as a measure against the 'blows' and 'wounds' as it were that time, the world and history inflicts on us. Meaning: Grow a callus round your heart! And weals round your brain? Is there no stance at all that pre-empts history, grasps it and tries to advance it? And it is certainly no consolation that our trammeling to our bodies only fan this suspicion and confirm it. So five minutes of random love? Tamara K.E. alludes to the unredeemed promise of illusionary identity, in which the Other remains outside but is still indispensable, and to this extent the construct of a healing and whole world has become more doubtful than ever; phantasms and phantoms everywhere you look, first and foremost virtual and imaginary; their unsettling power can be deciphered as violence. The symptoms of display (the power of the eye) and the tricks of perception between art and the human psyche are perfectly and precisely the dimension of the uncanny, contemporary enigmatic image of and in Five Minutes of Random Love, a wonderful new but old horror story. Love is a strange game, or so a popular song of 1960 would have it: It comes and goes, from one to the other. It robs us of everything. Yet it also gives us much too much. Love is a strange game. And back then neither Tamara K.E. nor I were born, but the phantasms were already very much afoot amongst us.
'It is the phantom of our own selves, the close relationship with which, and its deep operation on our mind, casts us into hell or transports us into heaven. (E.T.A Hoffmann, The Sandman, 1816)
Press release courtesy Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art. Text: Gregor Jansen.