The beautiful and the harmless in Maria Loboda's sculptures, installations and collages conceal the partly uncanny, partly threatening essence of things. Cristina Lucas has drawn attention to herself in Spain in recent years with her political installations, films and performances.
Maria Loboda (born 1979 in Cracow) has a penchant for encrypted messages and meanings. The beautiful and the harmless in her sculptures, installations and collages conceal the partly uncanny, partly threatening essence of things. In the process Loboda develops a very special form of contemporary archaeology in which she creates completely new interpretations and associations by rearranging signs and restaging old symbols. Her pieces consequently reference enigmatic legends and protagonists as well as historic circumstances, whereby they likewise join together to form a new, constantly changing narrative. In her contribution to dOCUMENTA 13, This Work is Dedicated to an Emperor (2012), for example, Loboda exposed nature's romantic beauty to be an incalculable camouflage: 20 potted cypresses on the Karlsaue simulated military formations from old written documents, rearranging themselves daily as if by magic.
Loboda not only takes up the relationship to nature in her art but also the spiritual comprehension of space and interior from the early 20th century. In complete accordance with Sigmund Freud's statement that 'The ego is not master in its own house' the unconscious and long forgotten take possession of the spaces in Maria Loboda's exhibition Dead Guardian at Kunstverein Braunschweig. The early classicistic residence built in 1808 becomes an enraptured place where objects and fragments seem to lead a hidden life of their own. But lacking human presence, nature has also already recaptured its territory. The otherwise so sublime and proud villa is subtly brought out of balance; the shelter almost unnoticeably comes apart at the seams and a wondrously tension-filled silence dominates - the proverbial 'calm before the storm'. Maria Loboda's art turns to the viewer in this silence with the languages and forms of mysticism and alchemy, of classical antiquity and ancient Egypt.
At the core of the exhibition is the dichotomy of culture and nature, order and chaos, reason and instinct, high culture and the archaic. There are signs and omens in both worlds that condense and connect with each other before untamed nature takes over complete control in the end. The patron saints as they are repeatedly to be found before and in the Villa Salve Hospes in the form ancient symbols seem to have lost their effectiveness long ago and mirror at the moment the human primal fear of the collapse of his arduously created cultural bastion. The prophesy equating the consummation of culture with its end formulated by Oswald Spengler in his book 'The Decline of the West' (1918) finds an impressive image in her works and their assembly. The signs indicating an approaching downfall are increasing and an old archaic culture is on the rise again.
Maria Loboda studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt under Mark Leckey. Aside from dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel she also took part in numerous other group shows, among them at the Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2013) and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2011). Solo exhibitions devoted to her work have been seen at the Kunstverein Bielefeld (2010), Ludlow 38, New York (2012) and the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2013). Mousse Publishing will issue an artist's book accompanying her exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig in the summer of 2014.
Exhibition and Catalogue are funded by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung.
The exhibition is furthermore supported by: Veolia Environnement, Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, the Polish Institute in Berlin
The artist Cristina Lucas (born 1973 in Jaén, lives in Madrid) has drawn attention to herself in Spain in recent years with her political installations, films and performances. Focal Distance, her first institutional exhibition in Germany, shows two films that deal with the archetypical dream of flying developing its critical potential, as is so often the case with Lucas, in an ostensibly light-footed manner. The title already suggests the technical ap-proach and shift in perception undertaken by the artist. The fulfilment of the dream of flying and the conquest of the sky in the early 20th century not only opened up new perspectives from above but also meant the end of a myth. A new era in the conduct of war was heralding in at the same time.
For her video Piper Prometheus (2013) Lucas attached a long white banner to an airplane circling around the Catalonian city of Badalona, which played an important role during Spain's industrialisation. In doing so, the world-changing lift formula (L = (1/2) d v2 s CL) printed on the banner is visualized in real life. In From the Sky Down (2013), Lucas focuses by contrast on the destructive force of the technological achievement: The starting point for the nearly three-hour 3-channel-installation in the main room of the Remise is Cristina Lucas's wide-ranging research on the history of aerial attacks. The filmic cartography meticulously records and condenses all documented aerial attacks with civilian casualties since 1912. The project is divided into three chapters. The first part extends from 1912 to 1945, the year that the first atom bomb was dropped. The second chapter con-tinues until 1989, ending with conclusion of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain. The still uncompleted third chapter, which is to be ready in time for the gallery talk in May, comprises the subsequent time period, running to the present, a time when military demonstration of power and progress and are increasingly being determined by remote-controlled aerial attacks. Cristina Lucas's works often examine cultural, social and political power structures and the mechanisms they produce to limit individual freedom. She produces in the process highly effective images, often weaving them into iconoclastic narratives that draw their discursive power from banal, everyday contexts.
Cristina Lucas studied at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and University of California, Irvine. Solo exhibitions devoted to her work have been shown, among others, at the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), the Museo de Arte Contemporanea (MAC) in Santiago de Chile, the Museo Amparo Puebla, Mexico City and the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Her works were most recently on view at the comprehensive solo exhibition at Matadero, Madrid. She has also participated in numerous international group shows, for example at the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemizsa in Madrid and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA).
The exhibition is supported by: Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony and the Spanish Embassy
Image: Maria Loboda, The egyptian blue coat, 2014, Courtesy: the artist
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