signs and symbols is pleased to present Fiction of a Non-Entry, a video exhibition by Mischa Leinkauf as part of the gallery’s series of online-only solo presentations of video works.
“Fiction of a Non-Entry depicts Leinkauf crossing the invisible borders on the ocean floor between Israel and Jordan or Egypt in the Red Sea and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and Morocco in the Strait of Gibraltar. The respective regions are militarily guarded and secured by border fortifications, some of their fences protrude 30 meters from the banks into the water. Behind them, a landscape opens up to which visual separation has to surrender: the sea. By leaving the overland routes, Leinkauf traces the national interspaces. Where systematic gaps arise, he reveals the absurdity of control systems in a performative way. Instead of tearing down the architectures of isolation, Leinkauf overcomes the borders of the regions by walking in the dystopian-looking tranquility and expanse of the sea and opens up a space of absolute freedom.
“Despite the general hope that German reunification would also dismantle borders worldwide, the construction of national barriers has been experiencing an unanticipated renaissance for two decades. Whereas in 1989 there were 16 border fortifications in the world comparable to the Berlin Wall, today more than 70 barriers separate states and cities. Where borders are secured with military force and privileges of national identity are organized hierarchically, they reinforce the feeling of social separation and exclusion. Wars, struggles and conflicts are legitimized through national isolation. Walls, fences, passports and security agencies cement the spatial order and the power relations associated with it. A radical renunciation of this structure, however, does not transcend the mere dismantling of its material artefacts: the totality of borders has been anchored as a paradigm in the mind, although countless areas of human relations have long since been unaffected by territorial limitations.
“Fiction of a Non-Entry sets politically motivated border demarcations visually out of action and brings a critique into play that is directed against topographical and symbolic barricading. In recourse to Situationist theory and practice, Leinkauf reveals the permeability and absurdity of border fortifications. Neither the natural resources of water, air and earth nor social lifestyles, solidarity and intimate relationships suggest spatial demarcation. Against this background, his works put the objectification and naturalness of boundaries up for discussion. Leinkauf‘s works refer to the commonality in what is separated visually. Where hermeticism seems oppressive, he peacefully infiltrates. His body becomes a body of resistance in the sphere of borders: by withdrawing himself, walking, circling and roaming, Mischa Leinkauf resists the architectures of isolation and subtly opens up a limitless space of possibilities for connection.”
— Almut Poppinga
*Please note that Leinkauf’s video will be viewable online from Wednesday, January 6 at 6:00pm until Saturday, February 6 at 6:00pm. Following the end of the exhibition, the video will only be accessible via private link and password. We trust that given our current circumstances, everyone will act in good faith and good will, understanding that these are primary artworks by our artists that are collected and which would otherwise be password protected.
Berlin born and based artist mischa leinkauf deals with the hidden possibilities of urban environments and various kinds of limitations of spaces through borders, rules and architecture. Through interventions in quasi-natural systems of order, he provokes situations that create temporary confusion and open up spaces for a possible recoding. His actions are subversive antics in the unruly and playful Debordian tradition of the dérive, but here the experiential immediacy and spontaneity is counterbalanced by a conceptual framework of precise planning and execution. Leinkauf is part of the artist duo Wermke/Leinkauf and has received numerous awards worldwide and exhibited internationally at venues such as Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Japan, Helsinki Art Museum, Moderna Museet Stockholm, ZKM Karlsruhe, Kunstmuseum Bonn and Manifesta 11.