The Near and the Elsewhere
The Near and the Elsewhere marks Kristin Wenzel’s first solo exhibition at SUPRAINFINITgallery, an exhibition that continues her research into architecture and the production ofspace. Drawn to her interest in architecture as a cultural symbol, as well as a space for en-counter, Wenzel’s artistic investigation is taken further to a liminal realm.
Growing up in the eastern part of Germany, Kristin paid close attention to the socialistarchitecture and the transformation processes that have started in the early ‘90s. Her patternsof perception have been developing around forgotten things, things that are left behind,re-purposed or about to disappear. Her current large-scale installation references the artist’spersonal memories in relation to a public swimming pool, while also engaging the viewer in aplayful reinterpretation of the gallery’s floor plan. The swimming pool is a ‘visible sign of whatused to be’*. In full advent of the ‘acceleration of history, excess of time and spatial overa-bundance’**, the creation of a micro architectural context for social and artistic encounter isessential in Wenzel’s practice.
As the modernist utopia fails under the artist’s eyes as well as the others’, the artist workswith that failure in seeking to analyse and preserve it so that it might in turn be convertedinto other states of being and beginnings. Delving into her ongoing Re-collection work, thetransformation through casting and molding processes of certain stucco ornaments fromthe artist’s personal archive<>collection** creates new ceramic objects. Although carefullyshaped and glazed, traces of time are still visible and added versions of history and materia-lity are unveiled. Kristin’s involvement and works always balance between ‘the near’ and ‘theelsewhere’, the familiar and non-familiar, the present and the past.
After Milița Petrașcu, the artist’s replica of an existing bas-relief –made by female Romani-an artist Milița Petrașcu in 1935 at the entrance of a modernist block of flats built by MarcelIancu– is both an alarming and preserving gesture, an attempt to re-evaluate a part of therecent history through her subjective lens.
As a central piece, the fountain is related to the idea of a community space, of an infra-structure that can be found in public and semi-public spaces destined for people’s use. Alsoas comment on the use and location of the drinking fountains in Bucharest, this vernacularobject adds even more to the peculiarity of the whole transformation of the gallery space.Further explored here, Kristin Wenzel’s practice is strongly related to the forging of site-sensitive spaces and contexts for social encounters and collective knowledge production.
In this context of social encounters, the artist organises a parallel programme through whichshe invites other artists and practitioners to engage with the space.
*Pierre Nora cited by Marc Augé in Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Super-modernity.
**Augé, Marc, 1995, Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity,London: Verso Books.
***Kristin Wenzel’s work Re-collection (2018 – ongoing), is a growing collection of foundstucco façade ornaments in Bucharest and it started on a Sunday morning after a storm.
text written by Cristina Vasilescu