Toggling between modes including video, sculpture, audio, and even scent, Christian Friedrich frequently employs elements of the sexually outré—e.g., bodily endurance and violence, foot fetishism—but plays them against formalism, aestheticism, and structural contradiction. In, for example, his highly rhythmic and accelerating videos that mix footage from sex dungeons with touristy imagery of New York and aquatic life (Untitled, 2010–11), delicate glass sculptures of feet scented with pungent foot odor (various titles, 2017–), and ominous audio-visual installations involving water dropping (Are You Warm? Did You Have Trouble Getting Here? Have They Treated You Well?, 2017), Friedrich leverages a mood of risk and unacceptability that is maintained by the works’ avoidance of easy resolution and embrace of sustained internal disputation. Accordingly, reminding viewers that the artworld is a latently conservative sphere that is supremely adept at normalizing and defusing, his art wanders beyond the pale while evading full interpretative capture. It’s notable that in Want (2017), a series of suspended hybrid sculptures conjoining brains and legs, everything in the middle of the body is elided. The heart, the gut, the groin: these, emphasized by their absence, are receptors that Friedrich’s kinesthetic art brings from margin to center. In the exhibition, Friedrich’s combinatorial approach extends to the interplay between two time-based works, each a darkly playful prism for the other.
The exhibititon by Christian Friedrich at KW takes place in the framework of Videoart at Midnight Festival ‘18.
Videoart at Midnight Festival ’18 (VAM) celebrates 10 years and 100 artist with a two-day artist film and video program at Kino Babylon, accompanied by a symposium at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), and Akademie der Künste; the VAM-Campus event with students of the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB), the Kunsthochschule Kassel, and the Berlin University of the Arts, as well as exhibitions at Berlinische Galerie, Galerie Pankow, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.