TOP 10 SUMMER SHOWS
Rank 4: “The Still Life of Vernacular Agents,” at
Kraupa Tuskany, Berlin
August 2 2012
Fascinated by non-Western cultures and their philosophies, Ettore Sottsass’s memories of his journeys are as vivid and sensual as his color lithographs, two of which are on view in Kraupa Tuskany’s current group show “The Still Life of Vernacular Agents.” In his design studies for teapots from the “Memories of India” series, the functional objects are imagined as temples or “‘super-instruments’ in which to take drugs, have sex, listen to music and watch the stars.” The exhibition also includes Poster for Olivetti’s Philos 33 (1997), showing Sottsass’s laptop design set against the portrait of a Kouros; a now-pixelated archaic smile animates the screen. In line with the suggestive nature of the show’s title, most of the works brought together here seem strangely infused with life, despite their inanimate materiality.
Hybrid forms, oscillating between subject and object, are at the heart of this thoughtfully curated show. Take for instance the Voodoo-inspired sculptures by Getho Jean Baptist and Celeur Jean Herard, composed primarily of found objects. These creatures take on an eerie presence. Michele Abeles’s seemingly high-tech still lives defy definition; and trigger 3-D effects through multiple overlaps fuse body parts with objects, frames and screens, to achieve a three-dimensional effect. Fatima Al Qadiri’s electro-tropicalia sound-piece paired with Thunder Horse Video’s psychedelic animations make up the exhibition’s soundtrack. Put together, these “vernacular agents” are about to take on a life of their own. (Anja Isabel Schneider)