Dirk Bell | Gotcha Gosalishvili | Mariola Groener | Thomas Helbig | Sally Lewis | Markus Selg | Alexander Weiss
Our cultural landscape is full of the ruins of obsolete forms and discarded ideas. Within these depleted terrains some artists stitch together past and present meaning in an attempt, not to create the positivist meta-narratives of Modernism, but a functioning space of contingency and improvisation that amounts to a form of bricolage.
This exhibition presents the work of artists, who in various ways, employ these methods and concepts in their work. In ‘Savage Mind’, a 1962 anthropological study, Claude Levi-Strauss coined the term bricolage. Bricolage describes the improvisatory quality of ‘untamed’ human thought, and uses associations, connections and hybrid meanings rather than scientific thought processes. The latter, Levi Strauss characterises as having patterns of linear thought progression, whose object is to serve a purpose and yield returns. In contrast, the bricoloeur scavenges meanings and metaphorical associations to assemble, ad hoc, whatever they find useful and at hand in the culture that surrounds them.
The perceived lack of a ‘future’ places a premium on a knowable and reassuring past – of security and belief. Bricolage, in the practices of these artists, questions this anodyne mentality and the assumptions that lie behind it. Instead they propose a visuality that acknowledges the condition of the present, in looking to the future, without averting their gaze from the past.
text: Sally Lewis