Cassina Projects is pleased to announce Counterpain, Louisa Clement’s first solo show at the gallery. For the occasion, the artist’s visionary universe encompassing photography, video, installation and site-specific interventions transforms the full extension of the gallery space into an eerie, dystopian setting at the intersection of virtual and real world.
Reinforcing her ongoing artistic investigation on the hybridization and standardization of the human body, the display of works gives voice to the heterogeneity of Clement’s practice providing conceptual framework for the presentation of her latest project to date — Representative -. Her own avatar, an artificial clone about as close to human nature as technological advancement can get today, shaped around her figure and her personality alike, capable of interacting with the public yet also programmed to develop its own language and absorb external inputs therefore confront with random factors and grow as a ‘unique’ being.
Biological data have been generated using microphotography, filmic motion studies and the latest 3D body scanning technology. In cooperation with a specialized sex-doll manufacturer, Clement has converted the data into an ultra realistic life-size TPE doll supported by a wired aluminum skeleton which enables movements. Furthermore, an algorithmic simulation of the personality of the artist has been encoded by a team of the Saarland University lead by Dr. Vera Demberg and fed into the clones creating a backlog of experiential cognition based on the artist’s profile.
Existential questionings concerning the binary notion of self and other resonate as Clement explores the dichotomy of the digital age — absence and presence, online and offline, integration and isolation — morphing our existence and critically reshaping paradigms of individuality and consciousness. Addressing the ethical, philosophical, social and legal implications inherent to the recognition of the self at a point in time when technology and social media enact valid extensions of our persona, her AI-equipped, sexually functional doppelganger also lays bare issues of control and authority in the sphere of interdependence between human experience and machine learning.
Alongside the Representative, Louisa Clement showcases a selection of bodies of work which also expand on the ever-thinner divide between real and artificial. Depicting larger than life details of a doll nude body, almost undistinguishable from that of a living person, the photographic series Body Fallacy reflects on the media-induced constitution of a fluid collective visual memory where artificiality and reality overlap. The mannequins featured in the Gliedermensch series on display upstairs and the Disruption series on display at ground floor are also foreboding symbols of the dehumanization of bodies. Clement’s figures here incarnate lifelessness yet they retain a palpable physicality. Their artificial nature is counterbalanced by an intimate allure.
A general feeling of helplessness pervades the show, as if a glitched irreversible reality had taken over. Figure Poses stretch across the glass elements of the space making the gateway into liminal sceneries. Human Error, a brand-new animation on communication disruption and the quest for an original, authentic connection, emphasizes the idea of failing and struggling.
Flirting with trans-humanism and drawing on a vast spectrum of literary references, Counterpain is the stage for Louisa Clement to speculate on the commodification and homologation of identity and human thinking, while enacting a radical attempt to give recognition to the self, vulnerable entity doomed to dissolve into data.
Louisa Clement (1987 Bonn, Germany) lives and works in Bonn. She graduated in 2014 from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf where she was a student in Andreas Gursky's Master's program. Through the use of different media including photography, video, sculpture and VR Clement analyses the objectification of the human body and questions the evolution of personality and connections between individuals within an increasingly urbanised and highly digitalised society. Clement has exhibited in major international institutions and museums, including Kunsthalle Gießen, Germany, Kunst Raum Riehen, Switzerland, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne Germany, the Sprengel Museum in Hannover. He received the prize of the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and the Förderpreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.