Anarcheology

Christoph Keller
September 19 – October 25, 2014

Christoph Keller: Anarcheology

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Herbarium Amazonas, 2014
Fine Art Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth
The works, installed on a wall entirely covered with a wallpaper showing colorful vertical scan lines, show leaves in different states of desiccation. The decay of both organic and man-made material (on which the leaves are seen to rest in the scans) suggests the impossibility of halting entropic processes, alluding to the realization that nothing can be preserved, particularly not states of cultural development.

Vertical Colored Scanlines, 2014
Wallpaper
The irregular pattern of the wallpaper is generated by a faulty calibration of a digital scanning device, which then produces an autopoietic color strip image, akin perhaps to a machine’s self-portrait. The combination of the wallpaper and the works hanging creates a visual equivalent of the conflation of nature, technology and its failure.

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Herbarium Amazonas, 2014
Fine Art Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth
The works, installed on a wall entirely covered with a wallpaper showing colorful vertical scan lines, show leaves in different states of desiccation. The decay of both organic and man-made material (on which the leaves are seen to rest in the scans) suggests the impossibility of halting entropic processes, alluding to the realization that nothing can be preserved, particularly not states of cultural development.

 

Vertical Colored Scanlines, 2014
Wallpaper
The irregular pattern of the wallpaper is generated by a faulty calibration of a digital scanning device, which then produces an autopoietic color strip image, akin perhaps to a machine’s self-portrait. The combination of the wallpaper and the works hanging creates a visual equivalent of the conflation of nature, technology and its failure.

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Herbarium Amazonas, 2014
Fine Art Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth
The works, installed on a wall entirely covered with a wallpaper showing colorful vertical scan lines, show leaves in different states of desiccation. The decay of both organic and man-made material (on which the leaves are seen to rest in the scans) suggests the impossibility of halting entropic processes, alluding to the realization that nothing can be preserved, particularly not states of cultural development.

 

Vertical Colored Scanlines, 2014
Wallpaper
The irregular pattern of the wallpaper is generated by a faulty calibration of a digital scanning device, which then produces an autopoietic color strip image, akin perhaps to a machine’s self-portrait. The combination of the wallpaper and the works hanging creates a visual equivalent of the conflation of nature, technology and its failure.

 

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Anarcheology, 2014
HD video, silent, duration: 12:40 min
 
Photo: © Andrea Rossetti

Anarcheology

Christoph Keller
September 19 – October 25, 2014
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Esther Schipper is pleased to announce Anarcheology, a special presentation by Christoph Keller.

 

As part of his ongoing examination of the history of science and of the way in which knowledge is gathered and organized, the artist continues his project investigating Western anthropology, in particular the history of Western European engagement with the Amazon region. Keller has created large-scale images based on digital scans of foliage he collected in Brazil. Works in the series Herbarium Amazonas, show leaves in different states of desiccation. The decay of both organic and man-made material (on which the leaves are seen to rest in the scans) suggests the impossibility of halting entropic processes, alluding to the realization that nothing can be preserved, particularly not states of cultural development.

 

The images of a green feathery fern-leaf and a velvety fur-leaf, scanned in far more range and detail than either a human eye can perceive, or a lens-based photographic systems could possibly depict, printed to measure 150 x 225 cm, are installed on a wall entirely covered with a wallpaper showing colorful vertical scan lines. The irregular pattern is in fact generated by a faulty calibration of a digital scanning device, which then produces an autopoietic color strip image, akin perhaps to a machine’s self-portrait. The combination creates a visual equivalent of the conflation of nature, technology and its failure.

 

In a small basement space of the gallery a new film entitled Anarcheology will be screened. Images of tropical landscapes devoid of humans alternate with text passages, creating a haunting essay film about Western engagement with other cultures and about the encounters of written language with oral tradition.

 

With these works the artist refers to a post-archeological situation, in which the narrative connecting an object or an image with a larger historical context is examined. His collecting of foliage from the Amazon region, for example, recalls the gestures of earlier Western European naturalists who assembled specimen (from flora, fauna and the animal world, both dead and alive) during their explorative journeys in order to deposit them in museums of natural history in their own lands. Part of a wider Enlightenment project to classify and map the world, in some sense these collections (and the processes assembling them) constitute the beginning of the modern notion of natural sciences. It is this procedural definition of a discipline by its approach, in this case by its scientific method, that Keller continuously addresses in his work on the history of scientific inquiry, exploring how the organization of knowledge influences our thought and results in the sometimes arbitrary distinctions between what is considered science and what is not.

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