Mariechen Danz. Ore Oral Orientation

23 Jun 2018 – 28 Jul 2018

Wentrup Gallery

Berlin, Germany


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Wentrup is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Mariechen Danz at the gallery.


With sculptures, drawings, costumes, and installations, Danz examines the history of knowledge transfers. She places the body and language at the center of her process-based practice. Using a subjective mapping, Danz collects and links all sorts of images saved over time from a seemingly infinite vocabulary of handed-down symbols to a simultaneous representation. With an eye that is both critical as well as affirmative, Danz uses scientific imagery to study and document the process of an intentional construction of history where not facts, but people determine history. The artist undermines traditional and historical conventions of linear historiography, questions both intuitive and intellectual knowledge, and develops a dialog about the relationship between applied means and individual narratives. 

In Ore Orientation: modular mapping system, she uses as supports broad, industrial metal panels – the latest development of her cooperation with the Genghis Khan Fabrication Co., which began in 2013 – an infinitely expandable recording system. Just like the proverbial “ore,” the material aluminum is in the final analysis just processed soil, made flat and milled to become very thin, punched, and finally coded. The punched, preexisting templates are punching dies of various sockets, plug systems and ventilation slots from the sector of electronic information and data transmission, all of them enabler of data transfers, just as punctuation marks act as supporters of communication with the written word. The rearrangement and grouping results in an analog, codified system based on transmitters and support systems of knowledge transfer. On this, Danz traces stylized planispheres, in so doing isolating historic world maps and anatomical representations of various cultures and eras, and reducing them to their essential particularities. In this way, Danz traces a history of ancient information carriers that testify to continuously changing worldviews. The shadows cast through these matrices manifest the changeable perspective and result in new possible mappings where the formal vocabulary of data processing creates new independent maps.   

The individual metal panels and the organ sculptures writhing from the walls are at any rate autonomously functioning elements of a mapping that in their sum result in an alternative overall form. Strengthened by their root-like attachment, the organs mark and embody their firm locate in it.  

These learning organs are derived from models used to teach medicine: brains, hearts, livers, lungs, digestive systems. Like soil samples, these organs are created from a wide range of materials like sand, soil, grass, shells, pebbles, and waste glass; others are made of transparent synthetic resin with precious stones and organic materials. These naturally created “implants” jump-start an immanent process of fossilization and through their origin connect each organ with different parts of the world. Scattered loose letters clog up intestines and the brain, initiate processes of unlearning beyond the failed hierarchy of the Latin alphabet, and locate these within the body itself. 

At the center of the exhibition is a billowing costume made of silk and plastic on which world maps, meteorological hurricane maps, and historical anatomical pictures are printed. These different layers are interlaced with children’s drawings demonstrating in their colorful, still hyper-subjective understanding of the human body and the planet an innocent, unprejudiced worldview. Camera flashlight transforms the formerly colorful images on the light-reflecting fabric into flat, black marks. A parable about central problems of (historical) recording and translation technologies that are inherently prone to omissions, errors, and misunderstandings. 

With her simultaneous evocation of mapping and anatomy, Danz demonstrates how both have emerged directly from human bodies. Anatomy, biology, geology, cartography, astronomy are all conflated on one level in order to place these nations with, through, and in the body itself.

Exhibiting artists

Mariechen Danz


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