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In The Shadows of Tall Necessities

Opening Friday 9 September, from 7pm

With Wang Bing, Annika Eriksson, Matt Fitts, Ada Frände,
Bastien Gachet, Nöle Giulini, Rei Hayama, Marc Kokopeli,
Graham Lambkin, Matthew Langan-Peck, Megan Plunkett,
Josiane M.H. Pozi, Dani ReStack, Raphaela Simon,
Gianna Surangkanjanajai, Yuu Takamizawa and Gérard Traquandi

Curated by Annika Eriksson and Fatima Hellberg

It involves a kind of person who is at the mercy of the world, who can’t quite figure out how to manage. This world now is made for might and ownership. I think you recognise in childhood the strategies that are necessary for being alone or adapting to surroundings, whatever they are. One example being how you go through school, from elementary, to middle, to high, to college, to a job, and you have to be somehow able to figure all that out, the timing and what you have to do to get to the next step. All this takes an understanding of the world based on ancient customs of domination and territory. There are people wandering around who don’t get it. – Fanny Howe

In the Shadows of Tall Necessities is a show which leans into a limping logic. The exhibition has grown out of a long-running preoccupation with the animal shelter as form. The concern is partially focused on the specificity and intimacies of these sites and their non-human and human relations, but above all a structural question of compromised cohabitation. That is, a system of interdependency based both in asymmetry and dysfunction as well as an effort to keep things alive.

Annika Eriksson’s Mission is a newly conceived work drawing on, and abstracting the form of the animal shelter. The shelter is contemplated both as a container focused on care, rescue, even love, and simultaneously connected with (and brought into existence) as a by-product of trauma and neglect.

A stubborn question in the work and exhibition at large is one of sustainability – of a logic which is systemically out of joint, and the negotiations of surviving within its confines. If there is an underpinning sense of the interrelated quality of beings and their environment – of the fundamental state of interdependency – so is the recognition of the very asymmetry of the strain. Within this negotiation, the question of entanglement, not only as subject matter but as form loops back. This is a negotiation embedded in the curatorial work, realised between artist and curator but also mother and daughter. The collaboration is in itself a recognition of a method which does not have, nor claims to have, neutrality.

As part of the show, some works inhabit the structure of Eriksson’s installation, others are semi-autonomous. Megan Plunkett’s The Great Suggestion is a newly realised set of photographs with a tilted-sense of perspective. Propped up on an armchair is a pillow covered in newsprint – headlines run across, one announcing, “Vicious man bites dog; community intervenes.” One corner of the photographic image is zoomed out of focus, as if dissolving into abstraction. There is a quality of crisis, unreality and stand-ins of urgency that Plunkett’s work evokes. What The Great Suggestion seems to hint at is less a “suggestion” as such, and more a state of inhabiting a space of fragility, staying put in its unfolding contradiction of hopelessness and hope.

For the exhibition opening, the courtyard of Bonner Kunstverein is being transformed into an installation and gathering point with music, food and drinks.

Image: Megan Plunkett, The Great Suggestion 01, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Realised with the generous support of Stadt Bonn, Sparkasse KölnBonn, UmArts, Research Centre for Architecture,
Design and the Arts at Umeå University and Carolin Scharpff-Striebich