Solid Matter 2.0
With Solid Matter 2.0, DIEHL is pleased to present Amélie Esterházy’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. In the exhibition Esterházy, (*1982, Regensburg, Germany) explores the distinction between personal recollection and mass memory in our relationship to materials. In her series of seven reliefs “Momentum” Esterházy uses paper to sculptural effect: folding, cutting, stapling repetitive forms and patterns. The base materials for the pieces are colored posters derived from enlarged iPhone snapshots taken by the artist. There are two motifs, an image of clouds and one of palm fronds. These fragmented moments are personal and generic. They embody both Esterházy’s personal history as well as being a well-worn photographic trope, the subject of millions of Instagram posts, disposable images, easily taken, easily discarded. The images also extend the private to the public, the personal to the easily consumed.
Posters are a form of mass produced, disposable image material, the scourge of teenage bedrooms and wallpaper of the urban environment. Esterházy printed 750 of these for the reliefs, and the serial reproduction of her source images intentionally echoes her serialized working processes. The images intend to articulate the process of memory formation, capturing a short time-space and transforming it into a new structure. Paper, wood, concrete and found imagery are materials the artist has used throughout her artistic career, but for her, they also carry childhood connotations that in combination with collective cultural memory form a palimpsest. Are the associations, the smell, the touch, a specific memory or part of popular culture that has superimposed itself on the personal? Esterházy underscores this oscillation between the private and the public with her unusual choice of framing materials. Neonorange wood alludes to the color of the sun sinking below the horizon during the evening, but also to pop culture. Iridescent car body foil oscillate between aubergine and olive green, further ‘low’ materials alluding to sub-cultural aesthetics. Works are encapsulated in concrete – deliberate evocation of a West German childhood spent on Brutalist playgrounds, the product of progressive post-war architecture and new housing estates.
A further work “Engrailed Constitution #2” is based on the cutting board she used during the production period. Notes and scribbles adorn the board, a banal diary of telephone calls and fragments of ideas and conversations. Everyday experiences rendered as artistic work, and form a haptic memory through association. Esterházy thus deconstructs the art object into a process of serialized tasks and their associated managerial labour, breaking open mythologies surrounding artistic labour.
Rounding off the exhibition, are two sculptures, “Stamina” that are comprised of found tree stumps and stained black, their organic origins obscured by their treatment. They stand at head height, anthropomorphized objects segmenting the gallery space, heightening Esterházy’s surrealist approach to her materials.
Text by Jeni Fulton