Neotene, Silicone, Evian, Viagra, Bionin, and Necrion, among others, are the materials from which Pamela Rosenkranz’s work is made of. We’re arguably more familiar with the esoteric promises with which some of these products are imbued than we are with the material substances which make them up. Yet the apparently pure and timeless aesthetic qualities they deliver have a biological basis. The immersive installation Pamela Rosenkranz has created for the Swiss Pavilion activates the knowledge mobilized in the technological, scientific, and conceptual development of products, subverting the culturally consolidated meanings of art. By guiding our perception of the Pavilion through a skilful interplay of supposedly immaterial elements such as light, colour, scent, sound and organic components such as hormones and even bacteria, Rosenkranz confronts the historically, religiously, and commercially transmitted image of what it means to be human with its biological genesis.
Rosenkranz isolates the large interior space with plastics, filling it with a monochrome liquid mass matching a standardised northern European skin-tone. This Eurocentric skin colour, reminiscent of the «carnate» used in Renaissance painting to render the visual qualities of human flesh, is employed in today’s advertising industry as a proven way to physically enhance attention. Rosenkranz contrasts this skin colour—the product of a natural history involving migration, exposure to the sun, and nutrition—with a verdant green coating the institutional mantle of the Swiss Pavilion. Whereas the artificial green light in the patio blurs the distinction between inside and outside, a special wall paint that is biologically attractive further dissolves the clean separation between culture and nature. Smells and sound penetrate the architecture. The synthetic sound of water, generated by an algorithm in real time, disseminates throughout the space, and a scent evoking the smell of fresh baby skin billows through the Pavilion. Invading all of our senses, this installation appropriates immemorial aesthetic reflexes that both art and commercial culture rely on, but renders them cognitively disturbing. As in a placebo effect, it’s hard to know here whether our physiological responses are triggered by imagination alone or if the effects we’re experiencing are the hallucinatory product of our bodies and their natural/cultural histories: “Our Product”.
Curated by Susanne Pfeffer
This publication is a thorough document to accompany this new work. Published in 2017 with text by Susanne Pfeffer.
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In the Holocene
João Ribas (Ed.)
Contributions by Berenice Abbott, Leonor Antunes, Marcel Broodthaers, Roger Callois, Hanne Darboven and Lucy R. Lippard, Eric Duyckaerts, Max Frisch, Frederich Froebel, Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva, Florian Hecker and Quintin Meillasoux, Alfred Jarry, On Kawara, John Latham, Sol LeWitt, F. T. Marinetti, Daria Martin, Mario Merz, Helen Mirra, Man Ray, Ben Rivers and Mark von Schlegell, Pamela Rosenkranz and Erik Wysocan, Robert Smithson, Paul Valéry, Iannis Xenakis
In the Holocene is based on a 2012 group exhibition of the same name at the MIT List Visual Arts Center that explored art as a speculative science, investigating principles more commonly associated with scientific or mathematical thought. Through the work of an intergenerational group of artists, the exhibition and book propose that art acts as an investigative and experimental form of inquiry, addressing or amending what is explained through traditional scientific or mathematical means: entropy, matter, time (cosmic, geological), energy, topology, mimicry, perception, consciousness, et cetera. Sometimes employing scientific methodologies or the epistemology of science, other times investigating phenomena not restricted to any scientific discipline, art can be seen as a form of inquiry into the physical and natural world. In this sense, both art and science share an interest in knowledge, realism, and observable phenomena, yet are subject to different logics, principles of reasoning, and conclusions.
Works by Berenice Abbott, John Baldessari, Rosa Barba, Robert Barry, Uta Barth, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, Carol Bove, Marcel Broodthaers, Matthew Buckingham, Hanne Darboven, Thea Djordjadze, Aurélien Froment, Terry Fox, Laurent Grasso, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, Rashid Johnson, Kitty Kraus, Germaine Kruip, Daria Martin, John McCracken, Trevor Paglen, Man Ray, Ben Rivers, Pamela Rosenkranz, Robert Smithson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Georges Vantongerloo, Lawrence Weiner
Copublished with MIT List Visual Arts Center
Design by Kloepfer-Ramsey-Kwon
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Piper Marshall (Ed.)
Descartes’ Daughter, edited by Piper Marshall, former curator of the Swiss Institute in New York, documents the critically lauded 2013 exhibition of the same name as well as continuing its ideas. Taking the historical account of philosopher René Descartes’ creation of an animatronic effigy of his deceased young daughter as its foundation, the exhibition explored the traditional divide between conceptual and expressive works, those dealing with either the mind or the body.
The reader includes five essays that explore the room in between this divide, both within the works exhibited and beyond. Fionn Meade, curator at the Walker Art Center, submits a poetic elegy to René Descartes, placing his ideas and the discussion around them at the center of this book. Jenny Jaskey, director and curator of the Artists’s Institute, writes on scale and the subjective, metabolic qualities of “human.” Piper Marshall asks how one can curate a feminist art exhibition, firmly merging the discussion.
Copublished with Swiss Institute following the exhibition“Descartes’ Daughter” (September 20–November 3, 2014), with works by Malin Arnell, Miriam Cahn, John Chamberlain, Hanne Darboven, Melanie Gilligan, Rochelle Goldberg, Nicolás Guagnini/Jeff Preiss, Rachel Harrison, Charline von Heyl, Lucas Knipscher, Jason Loebs, Ulrike Müller, Pamela Rosenkranz, Karin Schneider, and Sergei Tcherepnin.
Design by Li Inc., New York
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Andra Ursuta by Joanna Fiduccia; Shanzai Biennial by Kevin McGarry; Sergei Tcherepnin by Lawrence Kumpf; Yngve Holen by Pablo Larios; Petrit Halilaj by Elena Filipovic.
INSERT by Benjamin Senior
MAIN THEME – Post-i-Meta-Hyper-Materiality
Post-Materiality by Karen Archey; I-Materiality by Veronica So; Meta-Materiality by Rebecca Geldard; Hyper-Materiality by Ruba Katrib.
INSERT by Jochen Lempert
MONO – Massimiliano Gioni
Essay by Jonathan Griffin; Interview by Francesco Manacorda.
INSERT by Sterling Ruby
Futura: Amalia Ulman by H. U. Obrist and S. Castets; Vis-à-Vis: Carron meets Cornaro by Gary Carrion-Murayari; Producers: Alice Rawsthorn by Felix Burrichter; Panorama: Hong Kong by Leung Chi Wo; On Exhibitions: Black eyes and lemonade by Laura McLean-Ferris.
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