Is That Art or Can We Toss It?

It must have been a really boring day. Melbourne-based artist Lou Hubbard’s video Hack (2006) shows her playfully dragging a small rubber horse through a makeshift obstacle course. Curator Chris Sharp chose this image for the invitation, thus illustrating the theme of the group show “Antic Measures”. It features an unlikely cast of characters from Europe, North America, and Australia, brought together by virtue of a kindred interest in and valorization of unusual materials and shifts in scale. In particular, the works share a certain casualness and a flippant, even childlike quality.

Children games and sculptures made of plasitc bags

Lou Hubbard documents a kind of self-invented children’s game that, like so many of them, makes no sense. It’s not even particularly exciting. She drags various objects on a string through a makeshift obstacle course. The casualness of the artist’s production is reinforced by the technical shortcomings of the video recording – an intentionally dispassionate act as opposed to the possibility of an artistic search for or creation of meaning. She evidently shares this attitude of defiance with the other artists whose work is represented here.

  exhibition view Antic Measures

Photo: Marcus Schneider, Courtesy Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin

New York-based sculptor B. Wurtz, who like Hubbard is exhibiting for the first time in Berlin, will show a small selection of his sculptures: a sock perched on a tin can; cheap plastic bags form a sculptural triad. Wurtz presents pedestrian, worthless and boring objects in an equally boring and casual manner. Paradoxically, like the entire show, the sculptures are anything but boring despite the rather depressing subject matter. The consistency of composition is especially convincing.

Does it make any sense?

It’s as if a conscious effort were being made by an entire generation of artists to shy away from any kind of pathos. London-based artist Ian Kiaer’s monumental proposition, Endnote, Pink (Inflatable) (2010) fits right in. It is composed of an enormous polythene cushicle partially inflated by a fan, uncomfortably hunching over in a space for which it is clearly too large.

You leave the show with the queasy feeling that none of it made any sense somehow. But it doesn’t matter either. And that’s exactly what the show is about.

  • Galerija Gregor Podnar, “Lou Hubbard, Ian Kiaer, Esther Kläs, Jochen Lempert, Manfred Pernice, B. Wurtz. Antic Measures”, November 19th – January 21th 2012, Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm