empathy

Let’s Play Art!

When I’m walking up to most galleries in the back of a Berlin Hinterhof I feel like it looks how people describe dying. You’re surrounded by darkness, it’s eerily quiet, and you’re walking towards a luminous, glowing white destination. Supportico Lopez’s spot within an enclosure is such an example. With it’s beaming incandescent gallery lights and large windows, it’s really no surprise that visitors really do flock to it’s doors like moths to a flame. When entering their space recently, rather than falling into a bleached paradise as promised from their illuminating façade visitors were greeted by a poetic combination of colorful floor tiling and psychedelic wall pieces by Natalie Häusler.

A DIY Interior Decorator

There was certainly no attempt at clean professionalism with Häusler’s installation at her opening for “Case Mod.” The temporary flooring was naively painted and placed without proper adhesive to the ground, causing the tiles to disperse throughout the gallery during the opening. This was, of course, Häusler’s intention, for what better way to disrupt a gallery’s sober architecture than with DIY interior decoration? I watched in amusement as visitors tripped on the amateur tiling as they came into the space.

supportico-lopez-3Häusler’s playful floor tiling that looks eerily like my nephew’s play room. Photo: Chris Phillips

 

Aligned along the wall were several hanging sculptures adorned with a mixture of diverse audio players. Each wall piece was fabricated from stained glass and featured pieces of paper with poems printed on their surface. Attached were computer speakers one can find at garage sales and thrift stores playing a recording of someone reading the unique poems placed on every artwork. Each entitled with banal captions like bar, bed, and street, I would lean my ears as close as possible to each speaker and focus on the dictated poem provided by the whole lot. This was a difficult task, considering the cacophony of the other mp3 players and visitors. It was nice, however, because it forced me to concentrate on each artwork far longer than I would normally for a piece at an opening.

Generation ADHD

While at most exhibitions visitors are constantly either in line for more booze or feverishly looking over everyone’s shoulders to find the “right” person to talk to, because of the impossibility to walk glamorously on the disordered ground and the forced intimacy with the wall pieces, the installation provided a warm environment to look at art. Like Bruce McLean’s latest show at Tanya Leighton or KW’s epic group show last year it seems that artists are trying to combat our short attention span with artwork. Häusler, however, takes on this challenge by aggressively forcing visitors focus on her work by manifesting a chaotic atmosphere. Definitely a show to see with a party. 

  • Supportico Lopez – “Case Mod” Solo Exhibition of Natalie Häusler – January 11th – February 16th, 2013

Article by James Shaeffer