D-L Alvarez, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy | Casper
September 8 – November 14, 2006
The Party is over. The Survivalists pack their gear and head into The Wilderness. The name “wilderness” was given to the parts of the planet that humans hadn’t fucked around with yet. This was the naming of a negative space; if the city/civilization was being created, then “the wilderness” was that part of the canvas left blank. This blank space (the blue and green neutral space of nature) has become rapidly filled and transformed: ice transforms into water and then to sludge, moss is paved over and moss grows over pavement, trees turn into houses. In the city, green (emptiness) is rewritten as white. People have filled and spoiled the entire canvas with their doings. The work of art called civilization has gotten too busy and nature is forced into constant relationship with man-made space. All the forests have names, fields are filled with grass and cities are filled with people. There is almost nowhere for the viewer to rest because negative space (true wilderness) exists now only as an idea.
We collected some sticks to build a connection between these fluxing worlds. The work entailed a lot of ventures into the wilderness, where we hiked and swam, drank bottled water and beer, built shelters and decorated the woods, speculated the dangers at hand (diseases we might catch from insects or birds or even overexposure to the sun) and did what we could to protect ourselves from them. And we thought about cinematic futures where the only landscape is a spoiled wilderness: industry’s lousy masterpiece, such as the desert occupied by a leather-and-chainmaille-clad Mad Max. We’ve already seen a number of “ends of the world in our lifetimes and each of them had its share of dancing, drinking, and dark humor. We love to celebrate, be it our good fortunes or our undoing.What is on display in the gallery is a series of objects, many with practical functions. The video records things we made or found, or which were given to us by friends. The scenes are mostly unpopulated, some even feel abandoned (the dregs of a birthday party under a bridge for example).
The central sculpture evokes the embracing woods with its organic architecture. The drawings and silk-screens take images from the camping trips; they mirror the exactness of mechanical reproduction, but are hand made. There are two light sculptures. One is visible when the sun is reflecting light off the river into the gallery. The second echoes (or substitutes for) the first by producing rippled reflections with electricity. Lastly there is the filtered water from a project which undertakes the difficult task of making the Spree water drinkable. These waters are one thread connecting each of the works and they serve as an example of negative space (wilderness) that has been filled with human dabbling (pollutants). We collect the positive matter in the filters to find a small portion of the blank canvas.The first camp out was along side a river that connects to the Spree, 50 kilometers outside of Berlin. The last was here in the gallery, under a shelter of trees that once fed on those waters.The survivalists have come home: another party.