The Atrocity Exhibition

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© Annika Larsson
The Atrocity Exhibition

Bernauer strasse 71-72
13355 Berlin
March 6th, 2010 - April 20th, 2010
Opening: March 6th, 2010 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

+49 1721849732
Wed-Sun 11-7
photography, installation


FEINKOST is pleased to present “The Atrocity Exhibition”, a group show
dedicated to the sensibilities of the late J.G. Ballard. The eponymous
book of stories from 1969 is a chimerical collage of writings that
laid the conceptual groundwork for a number of his subsequent novels.
The fractal structure of the text, what Ballard referred to as
“condensed novels”, acts as a template for this exhibition in an
attempt to translate the author’s acute understanding of the human

English artist Desmond Paul Henry’s drawings were made with the
Analogue Bombsight Computer, a device used to anticipate where bomb
drops would accurately cause the most damage. Made contemporaneously
to Ballard’s early writings, Henry’s unique works on paper are widely
considered to be the earliest examples of computer art as we know it
and evoke a technological imaginary that transcends the touch of the
human hand. Nearby, the obsessive and illogical sketches of
Berlin-based artist Benja Sachau perfect all the possible failings of
the gesture complete with faulty intuition even though the actions are
humanized by a machine of the artist’s own design. The mechanics of
the grotesque reach a baroque terribilia in Daniel Baker’s “Bouquet
looking glass” (2007), a painting that occupies an awkward space
between the copy and the original.

The counter-terrorism facility of Playas, New Mexico, a somewhat
re-inhabited ghost town documented extensively by artist Steve Rowell,
shows how, according to the artist,  “the war on terror is redefining
the American pastoral in an unexpected way.” Homes with a fresh patina
of abandon are wired in order to monitor the training exercises that
help strategize what to do when things fall apart. From an interior
view, the series “Porn Photos” by artists Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia
Tkáčová penetrates how quickly the clichés of domestic innocence and
daily activities devolve into rituals less subtle.

Ignacio Uriarte’s video “Immer grösser und weniger, immer kleiner und
mehr” (2006) is a dilating accretion into temporal and spatial
dimensions, abstracting perceptions to a point of collapse before
beginning again. This metronomic tension is furthered with
“Macroscopico e domestico…” (2008), a continuation of artist Arcangelo
Sassolino’s anthropomorphic sculptures and their often
autocannabalistic tendencies. And finally, how does one simulate
irreversible trauma without the baggage of pain and suffering?
According to the shifting protagonist of Ballard’s book, “Massive
cerebral damage and abdominal bleeding in automobile accidents could
be imitated within half an hour, aided by the application of suitable
colored resins.” Annika Larsson’s film “Blood” (2003) is a clinical
dissection into the aesthetics of violence using a voluntary donor.

A nature symmetried unto itself and redoubled again onto us through
simple reflection, an all-consuming catastrophe of kitsch, an
android’s tear duct, a machine’s last breath, watching the clock
forget, a lap of luxury gone sour, and/or a “geometry of murder”:
combined each artists’ work tracks a morphologic loop of observation,
hope, engagement, failure and destruction in a chicken or the egg of
violence and entropy. Ballard’s legacy, in books both before and after
The Atrocity Exhibition, has facilitated to better recognize qualities
of civilization both unsavory and transcendent and at the same time
determine what happens when things have reached their shelf life.