BERLIN ART LINK | 17 July 2016

Romily Alice reviews Annka Kultys Gallery’s exhibition Zero Zero for Berlin Art Link.

Exhibition // ‘Zero Zero’ Proposes A New Post-Internet Landscape

By Romily Alice

Curated by Molly Soda, Arvida Byström and Ada Rajkovic, ‘Zero Zero’ at Annka Kultys Gallery presents the work of 12 artists who are exploring the confluence of reality and virtual space. Across various digital and physical mediums, the contributing artists critique the ever-growing influence of the online world. Here, the term “Post-Internet” has evolved to transcend materiality; from Cao Fei’s virtual cities to Ivan Liovik Ebel’s hand-painted digital structures, we see work that reflects the artists’ every day exposure to the digital.

The complexity of the physical-digital divide is documented in the work of Ivana Basic: ‘Ungrounding’ is a slab of wax, silicone and steel standing in contrast to the white gallery wall; the form of the work is exaggeratedly angular, while the lower half of the piece rolls softly like excess folds of skin. The video ‘Blue Under’ takes the viewer from the inside of our physical bodies outward to our dissolving ethereal presence, questioning the imprint of our physicality within our digital presence, asking what form we take when we begin to exist predominantly outside of ourselves.

The natural world is used as an obvious antithesis to the digital, with the artists challenging the validity of the natural by exporting and manipulating it within digital media. Maisie Cousins’s ‘Flora’ presents snails navigating dew-laden flowers; hyper-focused and colour-seeped, the work is overtly sexual while only showing the mundanely natural. It is the framing of the organic, in tech-inspired close-ups, that allows the one to transform into the other. Arvida Byström’s photographic prints have their roots in classical still life portraiture: the fruit bowl has been replaced with an iPhone, the flower arrangements are manifest in both physical and digital forms, the overall essence of the work is a questioning of our understanding of “realness.”

There is a strong focus on painting throughout ‘Zero Zero’, albeit removed from its classical pedigree. Molly Soda’s work is created using the digital painting platform New Hive and printed onto a soft panel of jersey fabric, a nod to the intimacy of her better known, bedroom-based video work. Konrad Wyrebek’s ‘TTTNPL BB’ uses 7 layers of oil paint to depict a natural image that the artist has corrupted beyond recognition. Signe Pierce, meanwhile, creates digital paintings that are so eerily realistic that they easily pass for still life photography, with a hyper-glossy, uneasy after taste.

‘Zero Zero’ serves to remind us that the positioning of the ‘virtual’ and the ‘real’ in binary opposition to each other no longer reflects the modern experience. Post-Internet art seems to be an inevitability; as we are surrounded by the presence of the digital, it is only natural that we see this new landscape present in the work of today’s young artists. What is so effective about the selection of work at Annka Kultys Gallery is the scope with which this paradigm is reflected. No longer limited by materiality, every artist in this show is grasping for their own way to navigate the ever-widening influence of the digital.

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