Not All That Falls Has Wings (9 June–18 September 2016) @ARTER
Curator: Selen Ansen
Artists: Bas Jan Ader, Phyllida Barlow, Cyprien Gaillard, Ryan Gander, Mikhail Karikis & Uriel Orlow, VOID and Anne Wenzel.
|All falls and keeps falling.
That hasn’t changed. This was already the case before Newton came on the scene, before the call of the ground was established as a universal law. It still occurs. They fall, says Lucretius as well – not about apples, hammers, buildings, or feathers, but particles too small for the eyes to notice their descent and yet capable of great feats; invisible particles leaping downwards as if charging towards their destruction, then swerving a little from their downward trajectory, due to an unknown cause, meeting and colliding, and forming visible bodies. In this ground common to things and beings, a movement which knows no boundary on this finite plane, has the power to disturb, if not suspend, the established hierarchies between the living and the inert, the material and the intangible, that which stands vertical and that which does not.
In the meantime, the cycle of rise and fall continues to organise the course of history and worldly existence around an inescapable verticality with its two opposite poles. But if there is only a way up and a way down, so then, we must be going down eventually. And as we go down, we are bringing down with us the living, the tangible and immaterial edifices, words, thoughts, feelings, memories, which we can’t manage to raise, elevate, keep intact or simply preserve from decline. Now, if all this happens on the same plane, if to go up is no more than a little shorter or longer than to go down; if, again we fall nowhere else but from here to here, how do we sustain the illusion of flight and elevation? Revolving around the notions of “gravity” and “gravitas” the exhibition “Not All That Falls Has Wings” investigates the act of falling as more than a mere curse or a sign of impotence. Provided that all falls and keeps falling, the movement here points to a shared condition that ties the destiny of a dust particle with that of a word on the tip of a tongue. In this ground common to things tangible and ethereal, the exhibition seeks to highlight the productive force of a disorientating movement that bridges the unexpected and the mundane. Breaking from artistic conventions that are based on the sublimation of reality, falling makes it possible to trace an artistic gesture which creates the conditions for dealing with the surface, and coming to terms with the bottom – for falling and failing better. Focusing on the equilibrium between rising and falling, the exhibition explores the permanence of downfall that affects individual trajectories, the products of human endeavour both artistic and physical, and even the course of societies.
The works in the exhibition manifest the invisible forces of gravity working on small and large scales, and contextualise an all-time, trans-historical dynamic by offering post-mythical ascents and descents that are “contemporary” in the way that they bear witness to their own zeitgeist.