Wentrup is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Mariechen Danz at the gallery.
With sculptures, drawings, costumes and installations, Danz examines the history of knowledge transfer, placing the body and language at the center of her process-based practice. Using subjective mapping, Danz links elements from a seemingly infinite vocabulary of handed down symbols towards a simultaneous representation. From a critical as well as affirmative perspective, she studies and documents the process of constructing history through scientific imagery, in which it is people and not facts who determine history. The artist undermines traditional and historical conventions of linear historiography, questioning both intuitive and intellectual knowledge and develops a dialog between applied means and individual narratives.
In Ore Orientation: modular mapping system, Danz employs industrial metal panels – the latest development of her cooperation with Genghis Khan Fabrication Co. which began in 2013 – as a carrier of an infinitely expandable recording system. As the proverbial “ore,” the material aluminum is ultimately processed soil, made flat and milled to become thin, punched, and finally coded. The pre-existing templates are punching dies of various sockets, plug systems and ventilation slots from the sector of electronic information and data transmission, all enable data transfer – just as punctuation marks aid in the communication of the written word. The rearrangement and grouping results in an analog, codified system, which is based on transmitters and support systems of knowledge transfer. Danz traces stylized planispheres and in doing so isolating historic world maps and anatomical representations of various cultures and eras, reducing them to their essential particularities. In this way, she traces a history of ancient information carriers that testify to continuously changing worldviews. The shadows cast through these matrices manifest the changeable perspective and result in new possible mappings where the formal vocabulary of data processing creates independent cartographies.
The individual metal panels and the organ sculptures writhing from the walls are all autonomously functioning elements of a cartography that in its sum results in an alternative overall form. Strengthened by their root-like attachment, the organs mark and embody their location within it.
These learning organs are derived from medical teaching models: brains, hearts, livers, lungs and digestive systems. Like soil samples, these organs are created from a wide range of materials such as sand, soil, shells and trash; others are made of transparent resin in which semi-precious stones and organic materials are embedded. These naturally created “implants” jump-start an immanent process of fossilization and through their origin connect each organ with different locations in the world. Scattered loose letters of the alphabet clog up intestines and the brain, initiating processes of unlearning beyond the hierarchy of the Latin ABC and locate these processes within the body itself.
The costume Cloud / Vessel / Vein, made from silk and plastic, is printed with world maps, meteorological hurricane imagery and historical anatomical illustrations. These different layers are interlaced with children’s drawings, demonstrating in their colorful, hyper-subjective understanding of the human body and the planet, a still unprejudiced worldview. Flashlight transforms the previously colorful images on the light-reflecting fabric into flat, black marks, thus creating a parable about the central problems of recording and translation technologies, that are inherently prone to omissions, errors, and misunderstandings.
With Danz’ simultaneous evocation of cartography and anatomy, she demonstrates how both have emerged directly from human bodies. Anatomy, biology, geology, cartography and astronomy are all conflated in order to place them with, through, and in the body itself.
Mariechen Danz (born 1980 in Dublin, Ireland) lives and works in Berlin. Her works have been featured in institutions such as MAK Wien, Vienna; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; New Museum New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; GAK- Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen and CAN Centre d’Art Neuchâtel, France. Currently she’s part of the group shows Blind the Faith: Between the Visceral and the Cognitive in Contemporary Art at Haus der Kunst in Munich and Agora at High Line in New York. In 2017, she participated in the 57th La Biennale di Venezia Viva Arte Viva curated by Christine Macel.