Paul Ferens is a Berlin-based artist who engages in his paintings and sculptures with moments of transition, embracing the optical clash that occurs if you combine new and old, artificial and natural. Ferens' experiments with different techniques of painting, mark making and spatial interventions, form a dichotomy between the materials and symbols.
Mingrui Jiang. ”Channeling love, fear, instinct, desire and excitement to create an absurd world. I use myself as an element, a movement, a fact to show and to experiment with different realities. I want to create a joyful chaos, an uncanny home, a positive tragedy, a serious joke.”
Georg Nordmark is a Swedish sculptor based in Gothenburg. Nordmark’s art practice stems from instruments and objects used in the handling of animals. The works are both informed by and aimed to critique the concept of ‘enrichment’ – the idea that captive conditions can be made tolerable with the provision of stimuli that evoke species specific behaviours, and the practice of constructing objects and situations that accommodates these behaviours within a restricted and man-made space. ‘Enrichment’ substitutes the abundance of a natural habitat with set behavioural responses that are deemed crucial for the mental welfare of the animal. While questioning the idea of enrichment as a measure of well-being, the works utilises a wry behaviourist approach to the art experience by transposing the forms,
functions and aesthetics of animal husbandry – its toys, feeders and puzzles sourced from animal conservation, domestication or industry – to the conceptual and social context of contemporary art. In the repurposing of these ideas and forms to the context of contemporary art, specific art historical affinities have emerged, from the behavioural orientation and scientific address of relational aesthetics, the dominant spatiality and industrial harshness of minimalism, to the absurdist assemblages or teasing tactility of surrealism. These conceptual and aesthetic meeting grounds are then probed by means of paraphrasing, advancing the works toward an inquiry about the function and concept of art, with the referential framework acting as a critical spectrum.
Jon Rafman is a Canadian artist recognized for an interdisciplinary practice that spans photography, sculpture, video, virtual reality, and installation. Rafman studied Philosophy and Literature at McGill University and received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work explores the impact of technology on contemporary consciousness, incorporating the rich vocabulary of online worlds to create poetic narratives that critically engage with the present. Like a visual anthropologist, Rafman delves into the subcultures of the online world, analyzing the behaviours of users of multiplayer video games and 3D virtual communities like Second Life in his videos. His work is frequently populated by obsessive characters whose lives revolve around gaming and other digital activities, and who are possessed by a hyper-individualized mindset that exists somewhere between real life and digital reality. Rafman’s work offers a nuanced exploration of this phenomenon, without moralizing or making judgments. His videos and installations are witty and full of wonderment, yet often tinged with a profound melancholy. Rafman’s recent solo exhibitions include The Mental Traveller, Fondazione Modena Arti Visive (2018), Dream Journal 16’ - 17’, Sprueth Magers Berlin (2017), I Have Ten Thousand Compound Eyes and Each is Named Suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016), estfälischer Kunstverein, Munster (2016), Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal (2015). Work by the artist is represented in major museum collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and Moderna Museet (Stockholm), amongst others.