In his essay ’On Transience’, written in 1915, Sigmund Freud recalls a conversation with a poet (believed to be Rainer Maria Rilke) while being on a nature walk, which centred around one of the fundamentals of beauty: its transitory nature. The poet, in the advent of the First World War, is disheartened by the thought of the destruction of all that is beautiful around him, which resulted in him not being able to enjoy the surrounding landscape. He voices his anguish by noticing ”[a]ll that he would otherwise have loved and admired seemed to him to be shorn of its worth by the transience which was its doom”.Freud disagrees and argues, that due to its transience, an object, in particular beautiful objects, may have its worth increased by its fleetingness and suggests: “Limitation in the possibility of enjoyment raises the value of the enjoyment. It was incomprehensible [...] that the thought of transience should interfere with your enjoyment of it”.
This exhibition, entitled ‘transience and transformation’ aims to build up on Freud's remarks and tries to raise the question whether beauty is truly ephemeral, if it could be elevated or immortalised by transformation or if the transformative aspect is what truly encapsulates beauty. This show will bring together artists who take nature or natural processes as a starting point, or a cornerstone of their work.
Ephemeral art, getting noticeable attention in the 1960s with the Fluxus group, is by definition transitory, short-lived and gives a whole new objective to the art being created. As Freud pointed out, an intrinsic part of fleetingness: it inevitably points the direction towards loss and mourning, but by this fluctuating state of ephemeral things, it opens up a way for artists to work on themes of existence and decay.
The exhibition's second segment, the transformative aspect brings together artists whose practise utilises nature as a foundation to build upon, and by that directly or indirectly preserving or accentuating, one could say elevating it to another level. The artists are giving their surroundings the power to leave a mark in the artworks produced.
Thirdly there will be artworks featured that combine both, the transient as well as the transformative aspect. By utilising materials that are instable to some degree or receptive to their surroundings; be it humidity, temperature or light intensity. This approach creates artworks that will transform themselves throughout their lifetime, presenting the beholder with an ever-changing visual incarnation.
‘othergrounds’ is a non hierarchical collaborative platform formed by artists and curators with the aim to offer an alternative, uncompromised perspective to the status quo of the art world. This project is intended to be fluid in its structure, with a group of core curatorial team members, but open to collaborations with other artists and curators.