Mathias Kessler
Forever and Sunsmell

11 May 2019 - 22 June 2019

Mathias Kessler

Forever and Sunsmell in reference to John Cage’s 1942 composition, will showcase a new body of work created during the last two years in his New York studio.

After 20 years of working on large-scale production of monumental bodies of work, Kessler returned to his studio to focus on experimenting with new materials and production techniques. In his New York laboratory, he transforms laser cutters into laser printers, burning bitmap images into a form of graphic paper. He has been testing 3D-printed honeycomb architecture that will be used as skeleton to grow crystals hulls, which he sees as a new future for sculpture. His drawings on A4 tracing paper, mark impressions from his experiential walking tours and participatory performances that he has been developing over many years. These new methodologies are carefully chosen to aesthetically carry on the ethical discourse and environmental concerns that Kessler has been engaged in throughout his practice. For instance, images from the California wildfires are produced using the “printing” method that uses lasers to burn the images onto paper.

These new works will be exhibited at Galerie Heike Strelow for the first time, along with a new shor t film on the 3D-printed honeycomb structures, presented in a virtual world animated in 4D Cinema.

These new bodies of work will be juxtaposed with Kessler`s ongoing documentation of light phenomena, representations of outdoor experiences of light in air. They are produced in meticulous color representations, made possible by the use of airbrush and materials like rare marble or aluminum dibond. Many of the colors we see in the sky today that Kessler is reconstructing are colors that are new to the human experience, created by particles produced from burning fossil fuels and other chemicals that have been emitted into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

This exhibition ties together Kessler`s ongoing research on how image culture commodifies our way of interacting, and how it creates ar tificial communities that turn into mirror-halls of the false-self. Today, more and more aspects of our lives are commodified through communication and participation on social media platforms. We are confronted with the freedom of sharing our lives with our loved ones and the outside world, but not without consequence. In return, we give up the intimate space for personal experience, desires and fears.

While power structures use knowledge and data to sell products and political ideologies, Kessler focuses on poetic ways in which to propose alternative insights about our modern existence, while shifting the reality around us. This shift is obtained by introducing a subtle change; like for example by illuminating a mountain in pure darkness with cinematic lighting. The images and abstraction of images created by the artist, grant the viewer an escape from the daily barrage of images that try to sell commodities, or provide click bait for stories of horror and disaster. Kessler`s critical approach helps us understand the mechanism behind contemporary image creation, by proposing new ways of seeing, reimagining social interactions and institutions, and exploring alternatives ways of coming together.

Forever and Sunsmell marks an exciting new development in Kessler´s practice, with a forward-thinking poetic, aesthetic and
political reflection on the current world and its avenues of representation.