Subsequent to Gaudin’s kinetic installation titled Rites and Aftermath on view at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, through May 8, 2017, the artist’s first show at the gallery in Berlin introduces a performance-activated sculpture at its center and a series of aggressively distorted planes of aluminum and plaster dominating the walls of the gallery at Linienstraße 23.
As the Palais de Tokyo curator, Julien Fronsacq, has noted, Gaudin’s installations involve the interplay of correspondences between the organic, physical, and material worlds. His oeuvre moves back and forth between automation and living systems. He mobilizes, dislocates, and mechanizes in an amalgamation of genres: absurdist theater, science fiction cinema, burlesque and minimalism.
However, with Dirty Hands On, rather than mechanization, the exhibition indicates a new degree of physicality—not entirely wholesome—in the interaction with and animation of materials by Gaudin himself. Slickly stained aluminum surfaces and arrangements of industrial and familiar forms appear wrestled with, smashed, bound and knotted. A sublime cocktail of danger and epic beauty; attractive, but the implication of incident is evident. With Dirty Hands On, this added perspective of criminality or compromised values in our relationships with inanimate objects proposes a parallel in the #currentmood of broader cultural, technological, geographical and social landscapes.
On April 28 at 8 PM, Gaudin sets off the exhibition with a self-activated performative installation. The artist will be present for several minutes, physically energizing the materials, exercising action and consequence, allowing the objects within the exhibition space to transform and establish a new context within the space. This novel hands-on ignition now complements evidence of the more mechanical kineticism often present in his practice.
The antidotal degradation of materials continues in the three corresponding wall objects. Sheets of raw aluminum, portions painted and finished in chrome, are manipulated into crumpled imperfect forms then fitted with plaster appendages. False light and color reflect on the surfaces, deceivingly, compounding with true surface reflections occurring in the context of the physical space and arrangements. Gaudin’s distortion fetishizes the components while reassigning value through disruptive action.
In Gaudin’s clever corruption of material in Dirty Hands On, a theatrical—at times comical—drama unfolds. Breaking the tenacity of minimalism with the instability of abstraction, the animated artworks point also at figuration, taking on the playfulness and absurdity of a Tex Avery cartoon.
A full exhibition publication in English and German will be released in conjunction with this exhibition. Please contact Owen Clements, owen(at)dittrich-schlechtriem.com, for information, images and with any further inquiries