In Control

Event  |  Reviews  |  Comments
His Master's Voice (video still), 2011 Mixed Media
In Control

Leipziger Strasse 47
10117 Berlin
February 25th, 2012 - April 14th, 2012
Opening: February 24th, 2012 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

030 30874690
Wednesday - Saturday 12:00 - 18:00
mixed-media, installation, video-art, sculpture


No less than two pieces of the exhibition “In Control” deal with the subject of weather – a sphere that is even until today beyond human control. The work “Weather Piece” (2011) though, has literally caught a piece of weather – a small glass case has become home to an endless shower of rain and therefore contains the uncontainable. Also the video installation “His Master's Voice“ (2011) shows a tropical thunderstorm raging on two screens. Palm trees are bent by gusts of wind and rain, houses are unroofed, pylons snapping. Here, the set up of the installation contradicts the ravaging forces, as it seems as if a small device – an old reel-to-reel player, installed between the two screens – is controlling the spectacle of nature. Not only does the position of the player between the screens suggest that it is the source of the film, it also appears as if the small device is responsible for what happens on screen: Whenever the tape stops, the sound of the roaring wind fades and whenever there is a turn in direction of the reels the wind changes its direction, too. The title, “His Master's Voice“, reflects the immanent ambivalence of the work. On the one hand it alludes to the idea of a force beyond human control and imagination that manifests itself in the storm. On the other hand it is in fact the brand’s name of the reel-to-reel player. Therefore, the nature of the events remains unsettled.

Having dealt with impacts of gravity in the past and with the idea of its reversal in particular, for “In Control”, Stefania Batoeva is investigating means of influence in more general terms. Because even beyond the laws of physics, for example in our imagination, things exist in relation to one another, control or change each other, or at least try to do so. In doing so, Batoeva is also concerned with aspects of control in regard to formal questions: What visible and invisible forces are significant? Which aspect gains the upper hand, controls the shape and determines the aesthetic of an object?

In the case of the piece “Give And Take” (2012) the distribution of parts seems to be evident: The heavier bowling ball pushes softer rubber ball against the wall. The latter looses its round shape and has to act passively as some sort of cushion that absorbs the seemingly imminent collision of the ball with the hard and relentless wall. “Try And Stop Me” (2012), however, creates a more complicated web of relationships since this time the seemingly more active part is not the one in control. While the upward moving ball is stretching an elastic rubber band and shaping it like an upside down V, a metal weight is securing the band to the ground. Even though the ball in some way shapes the sculpture, ultimately it is the passive weight resting on the ground that limits its influence.

Batoeva also investigates, as described above in regard to the pieces dealing with weather, the freedom and limitations in the way we think and perceive. Again and again she creates scenarios in which the actual qualities of her objects are replaced by fictitious ones and thus uses her works to confront pre-established notions with the actual experience. Another example of this within the exhibition would be a series of sculptures made out of glasses that stick together like magnets and therefore, in contrast to the viewer's expectations, are prevented from crashing to the ground (“Still I“, “Still II“, “Still III“, 2012).