Galeria Plan B is pleased to announce the group exhibition Werethings curated by Mihnea Mircan with works by Raymond Barion, Becky Beasley, Camille Blatrix, Patricia L. Boyd, Sarah Browne, Erik Bünger, Lauren Burrow, Alex Impey, Ana Maria Gomez Lopez, Victor Man, Nicholas Mangan, Jacqueline Mesmaeker, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Ana Prvacki, Mladen Stilinović, James Williamson and Ran Zhang.
'In his 1996 essay Vogel's Net, the anthropologist Alfred Gell proposed that animal traps can be thought of as functional artworks and vice versa, that there is an operational similarity between traps apprehending their prey and the capture of attention in artworks. Both types of mechanisms intertwine environments, perspectives and intentions: traps and artworks rearrange, in the form of a weapon or in that of a question, perceptual or technological thresholds between worlds, or ways of being in worlds, boundaries that are turned into lures, snares or meandering interpretive pathways. While it does not focus on works explicitly preoccupied with the forms, signs or mechanics of trapping or on artistic projects that explore the posterity of the essay in conversations about the post-Duchampian canon and indigenous artefacts, this exhibition revisits Gell's argument through a series of oblique takes that reproduce the sway between potential energy and kinetic burst in the hunter's design and the prey's demise, between the concealment of the trap and the moment it reveals itself by springing shut, that narrate scenarios of capture and entanglement. Werethings brings together works that inhabit spaces between species and modi operandi, ways of form- and sense-making, visual and symbolic agency: the sketched outlines of a museological space for 'promiscuous' objects, Gell's word for artefacts that move freely between transactional domains to activate an indefinite range of potentials. The exhibition thinks about things that draw and detain our thinking and make thinking accessible or imaginable as a kind of thing, things that do things and thus borrow the traits of personhood or usurp the prerogatives of the self, about relations between things that were and might return, futures and pasts, extinctions and emergences, about werethings that mutate, veer and swirl in much the same way that medieval werewolves and other metamorphic beasts transgressed the moral frontiers of the monstrous.
Being captivated might be to do with something that has not yet fully revealed itself, a 'premature' affect, a vivacious anticipation, but also-simultaneously-with a belatedness, with it being too late to disentangle oneself from the critical and sensuous effects of having encountered the work: too late to flee the springing shut of its symbolic devices, the closure of the cage, its 'yet-at-the- same-time's and its 'on-the-other-hand's. The trap's prosthetic extensions of selves, species and environments, have as correspondent art's assemblage of framing devices and fragmentary vistas, of functions that contradict and undo the very notion of function (just as traps have to vanish in order to work), of expectations and intensities, protraction and acceleration, stillness and vertigo. Images not encompassed by a single explanation, enriched rather than exhausted by being decrypted, and never interpreted without remainder–artworks exist as residues of complex intentionalities, lattices of words woven to contain or hold together the simultaneity of a thing's existence and non-existence, as compositions from and separations into theoretically incompatible parts.'
Press release courtesy Galeria Plan B. Text: Mihnea Mircan.