While maintaining qualities that are both graceful and mechanic, Jonathan Schipper's electronically engineered investigations are a complex set of visual contradictions. This two-part kinetic installation titled Slow Room is now on view at Dittrich & Schlechtriem (formerly Pool Gallery) and is Schipper's first solo show in Germany.
The exhibition is divided into two works: a mobile-like structure and a full room installation. The more understated of the two, Sexy Shameful Nude Naked Statue Sculpture, 2011, is a hanging sculpture that is viewed upon entering. It consists of an elaborately assembled metal device hanging heavily from the ceiling. Black strings are attached around the peripheral circle and on their ends they are holding up jumbled ceramic sculptures inches above the floor. The automated top continuously moves and circulates the hanging white objects, gyrating them into an ongoing reorganization of broken shapes and dust: a metaphorical and literal suggestion of a classical cultural breakdown due to technological progress.
The show's namesake piece, Slow Room, is a site specific installation of retro furniture in the gallery's store front window. At the vernissage, a typical living room had been arranged, each piece of furniture also affixed to a web of strings radiating outwards from the lower back corner of the gallery room. Behind the wall a hidden motor is gradually winding at the rate of one centimeter an hour for the duration of four weeks. The room is constantly being pulled backwards and downwards, bending and breaking the various objects as they are pulled into the hole. These gradual degradations create a subtle auditory experience in the gallery; creaking wood and ceramic objects clanging together like a perverse wind chime.
For both works, the destruction is calculated but never concrete, leaving the visual end result up to happenstance. As two works that progress very slowly, one is attracted by the palpable pull of destruction. While some viewers are lucky enough to bear witness to a climatic tipping of a lamp or breaking of a sculpture in Slow Room, the kinetic aspect is to the eye less discernible on the first visit. This degeneration reveals itself only by revisiting the gallery, whereby the work has noticeably progressed- or regressed- into a less recognizable state, a subtle reminder of our own entropic fates.
~ Devon Caranicas, a writer living in Berlin.
(Images:Courtesy DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM and Jonathan Schipper)