The second installment of Berliner Luft features new works that Dorian Gaudin created in New York for presentation at Art Cologne. With the fair postponed, there is now the opportunity for the installation to be available in Berlin for exclusive view. Gaudin’s practice examines nature in contemplating simultaneously its beauty and violence, a concept suitable to the disruption and reset we are collectively experiencing at this time.
In I am home and I am unhinged jaws (2020), Gaudin physically wrestles and manipulates raw sheets of aluminum into crumpled, imperfect forms. Portions of the surfaces are finished in roughly polished chrome and a bold matte red paint; the works hang as evidence of sincere human actions and mechanical collisions. The reflections and folds distort space and compound light, resulting in a stimulating abstraction. They appear wrecked and bloody, but also luminous and seductive. Gaudin prompts the viewer to shift between the notions of the materiality of minimalism, gestures of abstraction, and empathy of anthropomorphous objects.
Also installed for the first time in Berlin is I follow the party (2018), a kinetic sculpture composed of a piece of tiger marble, gears, belts, and automated appendages. The machine is activated a single time. Red powder pigment is placed in the arm of the object, which, when triggered, jolts up, shooting a cloud of pigment into the air. Residue of red pigment rests on the wall and floor of the gallery as a record of the previous unseen action. Having dispersed all the pigment on the first jolt, the automated object lamely repeats this action but with no further results. As with much of Gaudin’s art, the setup is mechanical, punctuated by drama, tragedy, and comedy. As the curator and writer Kate Sutton has argued, his “works inevitably seem human, implying a choreography of actions that is not altogether under control.” (“Incomparable Theatre: The Splendid Ambiguity of Dorian Gaudin’s Machines,” in Dorian Gaudin: Rites and Aftermath, Paris: Palais de Tokyo, April 2017).