Ceal Floyer

Ceal Floyer
September 6 – October 20, 2013

Warning Birds, 2002

Self-adhesive stickers on window

Works by Ceal Floyer play with the process of construction of meanings and associations. The artist often uses everyday or ready-made objects to explore the dialectical tension between the literal or the mundane and an imaginative meaning.

 

Rock Paper Scissors, 2013 (at the far end)
C-prints on aluminium Dibond
The names of the objects refer to the popular game in which two players repeat the title's phrase to count down to the moment when both will imitate the objects. The work may also playfully refer to One and Three Chairs (1965), a founding piece of Conceptual Art by the famously serious-minded Joseph Kosuth.

 

Photo © Amelie Proché

Bucket, 1999

CD, portable CD player with a single, active audio speaker, black plastic bucket, electrical cable

An ordinary black plastic bucket emits the irregular sound of dripping water landing in its base, leading to a puzzling disparity between visual and acoustic perception.

 

Warning Birds, 2002

Self-adhesive stickers on window

Works by Ceal Floyer play with the process of construction of meanings and associations. The artist often uses everyday or ready-made objects to explore the dialectical tension between the literal or the mundane and an imaginative meaning.

 

Rock Paper Scissors, 2013 (at the far end)
C-prints on aluminium Dibond
The names of the objects refer to the popular game in which two players repeat the title's phrase to count down to the moment when both will imitate the objects. The work may also playfully refer to One and Three Chairs (1965), a founding piece of Conceptual Art by the famously serious-minded Joseph Kosuth.

 

Photo © Amelie Proché

Warning Birds, 2002

Self-adhesive stickers on window

Works by Ceal Floyer play with the process of construction of meanings and associations. The artist often uses everyday or ready-made objects to explore the dialectical tension between the literal or the mundane and an imaginative meaning.

 

Photo © Amelie Proché

Rock Paper Scissors, 2013
C-prints on aluminium Dibond
The names of the objects refer to the popular game in which two players repeat the title's phrase to count down to the moment when both will imitate the objects. The work may also playfully refer to One and Three Chairs (1965), a founding piece of Conceptual Art by the famously serious-minded Joseph Kosuth.

 

Warning Birds, 2002

Self-adhesive stickers on window

Works by Ceal Floyer play with the process of construction of meanings and associations. The artist often uses everyday or ready-made objects to explore the dialectical tension between the literal or the mundane and an imaginative meaning.

 

Photo © Amelie Proché

Ceal Floyer

Ceal Floyer
K├Âlnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
September 6 – October 20, 2013
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Recognized internationally for her refined, apt and poetic conceptual art, Berlin-based artist Ceal Floyer presents a site-specific exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein. The exhibition reflects on the particular architectonic conditions of the building and provides wide-ranging insight into the artist‘s creative work.

 

“Ceal Floyer’s intervention in the main exhibition hall of the Kölnischer Kunstverein seems rather far reaching, even though the means she has employed appear more or less minimal. Countless stickers in the form of the black silhouettes of birds – like those familiar from the facades of public buildings – have been installed on the pavilion’s large windows. They feature the shadow-like contours of buzzards and are intended to protect real birds by scaring them off , thus preventing them from flying into panes of clear glass. In contrast to the manner in which they are normally installed, with the stickers placed only sporadically, the ‘buzzards’ in Ceal Floyer’s 2002 work Warning Birds – the central work of the exhibition – are placed directly next to one another. The view through the panes of glass is thus restricted to such a degree that the windows are hardly able to fulfill their actual function. By altering familiar parameters Floyer achieves a fundamental semantic shift insofar as the work permits a wide range of associations, despite the fact that it displays nothing but warning birds – as the title implies.

 

The understated humour that can be recognised in the apparently absurd intensi cation of the task of the warning birds in this piece links it to a great number of works by Floyer, so that this aspect can almost be seen as a de ning characteristic of her artistic practice. This distinctive form of wit has also shaped the 1999 work Bucket, which Floyer has very deliberately integrated into the context of the installation of the Warning Birds. Although Floyer’s work makes reference to a tradition of deception long anchored in the history of art, it seems to run counter to this tradition in a certain sense. Her work creates an illusion only to expose its basis and to dispel it a moment later.

 

In contrast, the 2013 work Rock-Paper-Scissors – which complements Bucket within the context of the Warning Birds installation, which may be said to function as a framework encompassing the other pieces – gets by without any tricks of deception. The work consists of three square panels, each of which shows a rock, a piece of paper and a pair of scissors, thus making reference to the game of the same name, in which players imitate the di erent signs with their hands. On the one hand, the three motifs that make up the work illustrate the title of the piece; on the other hand, they also point to the semiotic and semantic system linked to the real objects – a system that is connected with rules and acts within the world of the game.

 

However, Ceal Floyer’s exhibition in the Kölnischer Kunstverein begins before the pavilion of the Riphahn building. Immediately upon entering through the large, brightly sunlit doors of the building’s entrance, visitors are greeted by a quiet but thoroughly expressive music that draws them towards the double doors of the cinema. In the darkened auditorium they are then confronted with Floyer’s 2013 lm Untitled Credit Roll, which – in a certain sense –instils viewers with the impression that they have arrived too late to the presentation of a lm. White, abstract and – in some cases –cloud-like forms and patterns slowly progress from the lower to the upper edge of the screen and, in combination with the music, make reference to lms’ traditional closing credits. After a few minutes the credits end and, instead of a new lm, the closing credits begin once more. In the context of this work the often overlooked conclusion of a films’ presentation, during which many viewers already leave the auditorium of the cinema, is placed in the foreground and elevated to the status of the actual attraction.

 

Floyer inverts the significance of things and diverts attention from the essential to the incidental. The subtlety and ingenuity which she reveals in the process demonstrate that the artist is a master of her trade, and they provide the fundament of the characteristic quality of her diverse practice.”

 

Moritz Wesseler 

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