Galerie Mario Mazzoli is proud to present the second solo show by Serge Baghdassarians and Boris Baltschun.
The German duo is known for producing installations with various techniques and media. Their basic methodology consists of re-contextualizing professional tools and objects in order to transform them into living artifacts. The intent of their creations is sometimes that of glorifying the erroneous, emphasizing phenomena that are usually considered transient or secondary, or at times that of transforming everyday practices and commonplace devices into artistic endeavors. In both cases, however, a higher order of purpose emerges: a reflection on what we consider banal or not worthy of attention, and how that can instead be manipulated into a compelling form.
This goes beyond the idea of the objet trouvé, as they do not stop at an alternative presentation of the object itself, but rather focus on its behavior. The question is what is the inherent potential, the capability of the object when in use, rather than in its idle state. For this reason they often realize time-based installations - to give life to objects, and to enable their reuse for a different purpose from that which they were designed for.
The minimal and concentrated design of their installations reinforces the idea that the viewer will experience elaborate rearrangements that emphasize the functional aspect, namely how the devices actually operate. Baghdassarians and Baltschun imbue their task with a sense for irony and a dose of playfulness, and often use tools related to their practice as electronic musicians.
In a work such as “memory palace”, for instance, a set of guitar tuners is arranged in a circle, and deprived of its original function as a tuning device. Indeed, its display is completely reprogrammed to create a dance of light - a film - that refers to the mnemonic of the standard guitar tuning: “eddy ate dynamite good bye eddy”. This mutates the necessary but at times tiring practice of tuning an instrument, a quasi-nightmare and definite nuisance for every musician, into a reflection on how our memory functions. With the Method of Loci, the so-called memory palace, things to be remembered are associated with specific locations. In the aforementioned film this memory palace is - metaphorically speaking - constantly built and blown up again, leading to an ultimately cathartic effect.
In “abwicklung” (meaning ‘unreeling’ but also ‘liquidation’) on the other hand, a magnetic tape and two reels made by once industry standard brands “AGFA” and “BASF”, are transformed into a device for sonification. The history of two companies and their various buy-outs unfold as a very slowly shifting chord: from the pitches B, A, S (Eb), F to A, G, F and A. This of course recalls the tradition of the musical cryptogram, where the notes of a melody are set to spell a certain word, if read through their letternames. Historically countless composers have used this technique, typically to pay homage to an esteemed colleague or to a commissioner; here instead the two artists use it as a means to unreel the hidden history of two major magnetic tape producers.
Serge Baghdassarians (1972) and Boris Baltschun (1974) live and work in Berlin. They collaborate since 1999 and have exhibited and performed at places such as the Sonic Acts Festival / Amsterdam, singuhr hoergalerie / Berlin, Kid Ailack Hall / Tokyo, Sao Paulo Bienal - Mobile Radio / Sao Paulo, Moderna Museet / Stockholm, Musee d‘art moderne et contemporain / Strasbourg, Beyond Baroque / Los Angeles and Diapason Gallery / New York. Last Year they were awarded the “Karl-Sczuka-Preis” for radio art for their piece “Bodbuilding”, and this summer they will be Artists-in-Residence at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles.
Galerie Mario Mazzoli will present their works in a solo show at Volta Basel in June 2013.
Tuesday - Saturday
From 12pm until 6pm and by appointment