« No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. »
« Repetition is not generality. ...Reflections, echoes, doubles and souls do not belong to the domain of resemblance or equivalence; and it is no more possible to exchange one’s soul than it is to substitute real twins for one another. If exchange is the criterion of generality, theft and gift are those of repetition. There is, therefore, an economic difference between the two. »
− Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition
Difference is forged, not given. Representation is no abstraction, no function mapping an already defined set of points to another; it’s a fabric of irreducibly multiple enactments of memory, foldings and unfoldings upon yet another umwelt, which must be played on their own terms, always resistant to the tactics of the last narrative, relentlessly working around distinctions rendered superficial, relics of a static regime of codes fixed in place as tautological permutations of a fully matured grammar.
Life travels with the waves, intensities in themselves defining forces, ripples, currents, rhythms that inexorably comprise the raw vectors for their own notion of space, motion defined not by any coordinate system of “possibility” but as an annealing of prior materials, temperature turned up dangerously high, in order to create velocities, inextricable dyads of direction and magnitude, in lieu of points or distances: arrows predicated on nothing more and nothing less than markings drawn directly on a physical diagram, each a geometry knowing no equivalent to its passage of time. Turbulence becomes superfluity, a magma of functionalities spilling into wrinkles and crevices on the page, instantiating nascent clevages of subject and object as they collapse into channels of equivalence that cool down a congenitally unstable matter at hand into a laminar flow of relationships and compositional rules.
Transmutation: from the ferality of ontology to the mathematics of sociality.
Every story is rooted in such a conflict, its specific formalisms a lattice crystalizing around a focal point barely able to hold itself together, actors in search of a director bricolaging whatever catalysts they can from the incorrigibly physical substrate of the text in order to channel raw affective magnitudes into a passage from one state of affairs to another, into the ideation of a coextensive sense of direction. Wherever there’s conflict, there’s a synthetic a-priori ready to germinate from the ensuing story to be played out, an eleutheric leap to overcome dread through dogged tinkering, tidal gesticulations relentlessly separating and resynthesizing a substance that can only be peripherally glimpsed as the axis of this indefinite cycle.
The relentless labor of the particular, eschewing all promises of certainty or comfort, craftsmanship simpliciter: the means of any and all differentiation.
Using your hands to comprehend what’s right in front of you, to take constraints at face value and tacitly acknowledge that the only way out is through, to slog across that same river again and again: there is nothing “beyond” or “behind” the toil and joy of this eternal return. But when we respect this ostensible banality, when we keep moving along the surface of our world instead of lying down in resignation, our movements naturally compose into an idea of where we stand in relation to the stars in the sky as inhabitants of a larger universe, and in doing so bear witness to the way in which our never ending circles never entirely bring us back to where we started.
Text by Alex Boland
Johanna Odersky (born in 1993) is a visual artist and musician based in Berlin, Germany. She is a graduate from the Städelschule (Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule) in Frankfurt am Main and studied in the class of Judith Hopf. She did an exchange semester at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York.
Multidisciplinary in her approach, Odersky is an active figure in both the fine art and music scenes, asserting that the two practices complement each other. Much of her work revolves around exploring how human experience is organized and embodied and how relationships between body, mind, and the external world are always and necessarily situated in discursive power relations. These questions are echoed in her musical work and performances, which she produces under the alias Iku. Johanna Odersky’s work interrogates how repetition is used to track the passing of time. She explores how dissonance, harmony, or synchronization can occur when different cycles of daily life are merged together, and how they can be fractured and stretched by changes and events. The artist is interested in how representation and figurative language influence the way we read reality, and how these knowledge systems in turn inscribe themselves as a cultural form onto our bodies and the landscape we live in.
Her work has been shown in festivals, galleries, and art spaces across Europe, Japan, Mexico, and the US. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Voyeuse’ at Sans titre (2016), hosted by Galerie 1900-2000 (2021); ‘Time Keepers’ at Intersticio, London (2020); ‘Ruffles’ at Joanne, Frankfurt am Main (2020). Johanna Odersky has participated in several group exhibitions such as Les Urbaines Festival, Lausanne (2021); ‘Lemaniana: Reflections on Other Scenes’ at Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (2021); ‘Claro del Bosque’ at Intersticio, Madrid (2021); L‘Esprit – Absolventenausstellung at Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2020); ‘DOCH!’ at Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt am Main (2020); ‘In Between Uneven Stairs’ at TunnelTunnel, Lausanne (2019); ‘Grace Over Nature’ at Yaby, Madrid (2019); ‘Use Tools, Make Other Tools’ at SVA Flatiron Project Space, New York (2019); ‘Out of Eye’ at Laure Genillard Gallery, London (2019); ‘Cut-Up’ at Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2018); ‘Back to Them’ at Gärtnergasse, Vienna (2018); ‘A thin silver of night’ at Alienze, Lausanne (2018); ‘INFRA’ at Yamamoto Gendai, Tokyo (2017); ‘The Blue Hour’ at Future Suburban Contemporary, Copenhagen (2016); ‘Design im Fenster’ at wellwellwell, Vienna (2016).