During the Amsterdam Art Weekend, Galerie Bart is opening Matter of Knowledge, a solo exhibition by Alexandra Hunts (1990, UA). For Alexandra Hunts, photography is a research tool that can be used to measure, test and explain her environment. She especially likes to investigate abstract concepts whose meaning we normally don’t think about, such as ‘kilogram’, ‘metre’ or ‘time’. Concepts such as these are intangible and invisible, both to the eye and to the camera. Hunts calls herself a sculptor or installation artist, as her work is not only confined to the two-dimensional world. Hunts digs into a subject, examining it from all sides and getting down to the bottom. As a way of coming closer to the essence of the matter she uses repetition, taking it to such lengths that it almost becomes an obsession.
The title of this exhibition, ‘Matter of Knowledge’, forms a bridge between the project Mass. Sublime Measurement from 2016 and her recent project, History of Desire. In Mass. Sublime Measurement, Hunts went in search of the standard, true kilogram. She did this by weighing kilo after kilo of apples in an apple orchard in an attempt to come as close as possible to the true kilo. The result is the installation ‘Search for the Kilogram’: 1000 individual photos of a kilo of apples and a photograph that stands for the object known as a metric ‘tonne’. In addition, she visited the Netherlands Measurement Institute (NMi), where she took an aesthetically pleasing photograph of the Dutch national prototype, copy number 53, of the international prototype kilogram in Paris. Hunts presents the work ‘Artefact #53’ on a pile of paper that again weighs a kilo, or to be precise, 1.0003 kilos.
Her latest project, History of Desire, is an investigation into the obtaining of empirical and theoretical knowledge about the rise of the production society. This is symbolized by the invention of the wheel in Hunts’ project. The first people to use the wheel were the Funnel Beaker Culture (4350-2800 BC). These ancestors left us a collection of beakers and other funnel-shaped ceramics. In the hope of gaining knowledge held by our ancestors, Hunts tried to create the perfect funnel beaker. After 61 trials, she succeeded. She photographed each of these attempts and put all of them in an installation.
Hunts’ conclusion remains the same for every project. No matter what subject you investigate and try to understand, in the end it always slips your grasp, like sand between your fingers. Just as the concept of the kilogram can never be made visible and tangible, it is not possible to experience and know exactly the same things as our ancestors did.
Alexandra Hunts graduated from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague and next year will be completing her Masters at the KHM Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. Recently she was nominated for the Somfy Photography Award, and in 2016 she was selected for FOAM Talent. Hunts has exhibited her work at the Cobra Museum, the LUMC and the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, among other places.