Matthew Bown Gallery
Keithstrasse 10
10787 Berlin

+49 30 2145 8294/5


U-Bahn: Wittenbergplatz

Open 12-6, Tuesday-Saturday, during exhibitions

Sasha Auerbakh

18.11.10 - 15.01.11
Tuesday to Saturday, 12.00-18.00

Reception for the artist: Wednesday 17 November, 18.00-20.30

Press: Tagesspiegel.
Press: Dekorativnoe Iskusstvo (pdf download).
Press: Photographer.ru.

Matthew Bown Galerie is proud to present a show by the young Russian artist Sasha Auerbakh. The exhibition runs from 18 November to 15 January.

Manual is a three-channel video based on bomb-making instructions found in the Anarchist’s Cookbook, a notorious publication of the counter-culture age (it was published in 1971), easily found and downloaded on the internet. The three videos present the ‘recipe’ for making a bomb in contemporary terms, as a cooking show on TV presents the recipe of a meal to be eaten. The translation of bomb-recipe from the public realm to the gallery context updates Duchamp’s Readymades. Just as an urinal selected and exhibited by Duchamp ceased to be a functional object and became instead the object of aesthetic contemplation, so the bomb recipe ceases to be a practical instruction and becomes instead a work of art whose meaning, like that of Duchamp’s urinal, is non-specific and open to interpretation. At the moment the bomb is absent, it is merely a theoretical product to be derived from the video work, but the collector who purchases the artwork may, for additional payment to cover expenses, have a bomb made by the artist. In the context of a collection of contemporary art, the physical object – the bomb - will function not as an instrument of destruction but as an example of a possible response to the work.

The physical, phenomenological experience of an artwork – or of any object – is only a small part of its existence. After viewing, or even before or without viewing, it lives in the consciousness. This allows for the existence in the imagination of artworks and objects which have been lost or destroyed, or which have not yet been created, and for these to be in essential respects equivalent to really existing things. Objects Of Art is comprised of three white-painted plywood cubes, each 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre. At first sight they look like a constellation of minimalist sculptures. A closer inspection reveals unpainted rectangular patches of plywood on the top of the cubes, which are thus transformed from artworks into plinths or pedestals from which artworks which we can only imagine have been removed. What we first thought was ‘art’ becomes a merely technical object and the ‘art’ it references exists only in the imagination.

Auerbakh was born in 1985. She works in Moscow and Vienna. She has shown widely in Moscow. Her work may be seen concurrently at Modernikon, curated by Francesco Bonami and Irene Calderoni at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy. This is her first solo show and her first show in Germany.