Elena Damiani and Frauke Dannert

29 Nov 2013 — 18 Jan 2014 at Selma Feriani Gallery in London, United Kingdom


The exhibition will revolve around commissioned and recent works from the artists’ practices, focusing specifically on the possibilities of expanding collage into the space of sculpture and installation. In that, the exhibition is sought to comment on the fragmented nature of collage, in the light of its potential dimensionality when thought and approached spatially, architecturally. In so doing, the works themselves, rather than the gallery space, will become the support structure and stage for a more immersed and cinematic way of looking at fragments, materials and objects that become sequences within a comprehensive, all-encompassing environment.

An interesting connotation and shared value between the two practices is that the works are marked by a certain geographical anchoring: each work provides a number of landmarks in reference of a given (urban) site, a landscape, a bookwork, or an architectural construction. However, through the displacement, re–arrangement and editing of collected imagery, the positioning becomes ambiguous, the geographical retracing of a specific site dubious and unhinged. Arguably, the works could be seen as a form of spatial writing in which the underlying settings and resources have been stripped of their factuality: through a removal of their determining characteristics and the traceable pieces of information. Upon their disclosure in the space, the works are perhaps sought to comment on the nature of the site, but instead start to point in different directions, among a more introverted and self–referential attitude towards their material qualities and their fragmentary and abstracted nature in the key of the work as a unified whole.

For instance, the work of Elena Damiani (b. 1979 in Lima, Peru; lives and works in London) makes an investigation into the significance of archives, the historical linear readings and narratives they put forward, which are subsequently made unstable and disordered through image manipulation and the re–assembling of materials and documents – in the shape of collages, sculptures, video’s and installations. Thus, the loose annotations and references made in the work start to problematise history as an ordered sequence of events, and rather exemplify history as a discontinuous and interrupted set of cognitive spaces, in which the potential for establishing mental relations and associations is triggered through a multitude of scattered images, leaving the connecting of the dots to the viewer, he or she becoming the de facto investigator.

For the occasion of All the Pieces, Back Together two types of work will be presented. Two marble sculptures, constructed from various parts – marble rods, glass, books and a map – uphold as solitary signs of the passage of time: placing us in front of seeming historical accounts that indicate the passage of time by means of the stratifications that have formed the marble. Upon one of the marbles, man–made remnants are positioned, enticing us towards a reading of the planetary history where human action over matter is a mere event. Coinciding with the marble sculptures are a number of collages tracing back to the paper marbling commonly used in bookbinding and stationary as endpapers or book covers. Arguably, these collages – bringing together a collection of marbled papers – provide a reflection on the surface of a fictionalised past in which representations of nature served as aesthetic emblems and markers of knowledgeability.

In the artistic practice of Frauke Dannert (b. 1979 in Herdecke, Germany; lives and works in Dusseldorf and London) architectural ideologies present in, for instance, Brutalism and Bauhaus, The physical processes of deconstruction and reconstruction, and spatial phenomenologies are decomposed and restructured according to an abstracting and fragmentary visual language. In that, Dannert creates collage and installation works as assemblages – taking their shape from basic architectural components – generating new architectural landscapes as based on an array of photographic imagery. The transition from two–dimensional photographs to three–dimensional installations marks an interesting tension that moves from the reference, or the piece of evidence, to a more physical and grounded practice of working in the exhibition space.

For this exhibition Dannert will devise a site–specific floor–based carpet installation made of different shades of bleu: an installation that equally moves from the flat surface into a three–dimensional optical illusion, one that furthermore prompts a tension between the representations of the real and a simulated space. The optical and visual components inherent to these installations inform and direct the navigation within the gallery space, creating an immersive environment in which the work overshadows the characteristics of the space in which it is shown. In addition, a number of collages on various types of metal, among brass, copper and aluminium, will be displayed. These collages are created by cutting up fragments of photographic imagery of architecture, which are then reassembled into somewhat imaginary and fictional constructs, reflecting on actual lived experience in relation to seeing buildings in the urban landscape, and exploring how architecture exists in the collective memory, as commonplaces and common knowledge.