Angela Bulloch, Animal Vegetable Mineral Esther Schipper, Berlin
Angela Bulloch, Animal Vegetable Mineral
Esther Schipper is pleased to present Angela Bulloch’s Animal Vegetable Mineral, the artist’s 13th exhibition with the gallery.
On view are all new works, further developing the artist’s iconic series and her sculptures assembled from modular geometric elements, as well as a monumental wall painting and a projected digital animation.
The title, Animal Vegetable Mineral, refers to the three general categories comprising the totality of what exists in the world. As such the exhibition experience is equally all-encompassing: visitors enter a darkened space in which light and sound are programmed to shape the way the works are encountered. As illumination shifts from one work to the other and the video plays in an alternating rhythm, a specially arranged ambient audio-scape of synthetic noises surrounds us.
Pentagon Totem, 2021
Pentagon Totem works are the latest development in Angela Bulloch's ongoing series of sculptures. Installed in loose groupings in the exhibition space, the new sculptures are constructed from one to six modular elements based on pentagonal shapes.
The surface of the vertically assembled geometric modules—dodecahedrons, meaning each is made of 12 pentagonal flat faces—creates an optical illusion of pushing and pulling planes. In bright colors and distinct materials, the works range in height from 50 cm to 300 cm.
Each material—the sculptures are made from Corian, MDF, or stainless steel—has distinct properties that give the colors and surfaces of the works specific characteristics, modulating light and color.
By changing the appearance of the column in accordance with one’s point of view, Bulloch plays with our perception of sculpture while orchestrating our experience as gallery visitors.
In order to envision the work in its entirety the viewer has to turn around it, which at times seems graphic—almost abstract—shifting between two and three dimensions. Here, the artist transfers major themes of Minimalism into the present, and more specifically the aesthetic exploration of objects’ influence on spatial perception.
A group of three Pixel Boxes bring together major themes from the artist's work. It combines a Pixel Box—a body of works of rectangular units programmed to emit light begun in 2001—with a geometric element, a dodecahedron based on irregular pentagons.
In comparison with the regular forms of the cube, the multiple pentagonal planes seems to acquire an expressive quality. Akin to unlikely siblings, Pixel Box and dodecahedron appear to be engaged in a dialogue, an impression evoked by their similar color and shared ancestry in classical geometry.
Watch video documentation of each Pixel Box:
Aquila Winter Quartile, 2021
Drawing on star constellations, the work is an exceptional sculptural iteration from Angela Bulloch's body of work known as Night Sky, and is presented wrapped around the gallery’s existing floor-to-ceiling pillar.
The works of the Night Sky series are complex LED pieces that can be hung on the wall or ceiling and that convey an animated image of the night sky.
The blue background of the work is filled with numerous programmed LED lights, placed according to the pattern of three winter horoscope signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn which are referred to in the title as the Winter Quartile constellation. Gently flickering, the points of light simulate the changing starry nightscape.
Night Sky works are prepared using a program that maps the positions of the stars visible from the earth in a 3D virtual model of the universe. The artist selects an existing area of the sky but displaces the viewpoint away from the earth elsewhere in the universe, thus the final image represents the real stellar order but shown in a way that will not be seen in this way from the surface of Earth.
The titles refer to star constellations. Aquila, located in the northern sky, on the celestial equator. The constellation’s name means “the eagle” in Latin.
The constellation represents the eagle of the god Jupiter in Roman mythology. It was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.
Ursa Major Minor, 2021
Both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are constellations in the northern sky that were first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Ursa Major, meaning “the great bear,” or “the larger bear,” in Latin, is the largest northern constellation and third largest constellation in the sky. Its brightest stars form the Big Dipper asterism, one of the most recognizable shapes in the sky, also known as the Plough.
Ursa Major is well-known in most world cultures and associated with a number of myths. In Greek mythology, it is associated with Callisto, a nymph who was turned into a bear by Zeus’ jealous wife Hera. Ursa Minor—the constellation’s name means “the smaller bear,” or “the lesser bear,” in Latin—contains the famous Little Dipper asterism.
Ursa Minor is also notable for marking the location of the north celestial pole, as it is home to Polaris, the North Star, which is located at the end of the dipper’s handle.
Zero Gravity Portal, 2021
The title of the work combines references to the artist's solo presentation at Esther Schipper where the work was first exhibited. "Zero Gravity" refers to Audio Visual Mineral, a digital animation that depicted the works in the exhibition, some floating weightlessly. "Portal" draws on the work's original concept of leading into virtual space.
Audio Visual Mineral, 2021
A digital animation entitled Audio Visual Mineral is projected onto the wall. It mirrors the physical exhibition in the gallery as its virtual double, replete with a visiting cat avatar. A large-scale wall painting in the exhibition, formed from a pattern of pentagonal shapes stretching along an entire wall and across a corner, also appears doubled in the digital animation.
Animal Vegetable Pentagon, 2021
Animal Vegetable Pentagon is a large-scale wall painting based on pentagonal shapes, regular and irregular ones. The pattern stretch across the wall (and, as installed in the artist's solo exhibition Animal Vegetable Mineral, across a corner).
Near its center two sections overlap, creating a myriad of geometric forms. The monumental work refers both to the geometric pattern in ancient mosaics, as well as to the gridded spaces in which virtual reality environments are created.
Audio Visual Void, 2021
This work combines a wall-mounted blue felt sculpture with a sound and light program. The blue felt is a component of Angela Bulloch's body of work known as Night Sky works—felt panels with flickering LED lights placed according to astronomical constellations.
First conceived as part of this solo exhibition, the work functions as an evocative dark presence, evoking a passage into another realm. An electronic humming sound and the spotlights, apparently searching slowly, in varying degrees of luminescent intensity, for another presence, give Audio Visual Void a quietly haunting quality.