Straddling the physical and the digital, the nature of modern life is increasingly hard to pin down. Being There, currently on show at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, explores the relationship between these simultaneous states of existence via nine scenarios. Each takes technology and the distinction – or overlap – between real and fake as its focus, but with widely divergent effect, showing the vital relevance of this topic.
Hannah Levy (b.1991, USA), takes inspiration from the built environment, repurposing known shapes in sleek, high-spec materials, with the resulting sculptures being, as she puts it, “recognisable but not quite placeable.” This she refers to as “design purgatory” – a combination of known and unknown. Silicone has something almost human about its essential properties, yet cannot be considered apart from its association with the digital. The four pieces included are playful and deliberately flesh-like, aiming to provoke a sense of repulsion and fascination.
A deep interrogation of our desire to produce fiction underpins the questions posed by Dora Budor (b.1985, Croatia), who combines ready-made objects (rare modules by Verner Panton) with an installation in which ash falls, forming a thick coat, triggered by any presence, or “intrusion” in the room. As Budor explains, these works are reactive: “Without the human agent in the space they don’t happen, they don’t exist.” To what extent does something exist if nobody is watching? This is an age-old philosophical debate, but it has a new urgency in our perpetually switched-on, outward-facing world.
Along with the contributions of fellow artists – Bunny Rogers (b. 1990, USA), Louisa Gagliardi (b.1989, Switzerland), Ian Cheng (b.1984, USA), Cécile B. Evans (b.1983, USA/Belgium), Ed Atkins (b.1982, UK), Pamela Rosenkranz (b.1979, Switzerland), Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin (both b.1981, USA) – these pieces come together to ask essential questions about the contemporary condition. By turns funny, melancholic and even erotic, this show feels timely and essential.
Being There runs until 25 February at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Find out more here.
1. Loui Johannesburg and Yancey siana Museum of Modern Art, Being There, 10.10.2017-17.2.2018, Installation shot. Artist: Pamela Rosenkranz, Photo: Anders Sune Berg, Credit: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark.