Post-digitalism on the make
27 April - 15 June 2019 / Eberswalder Str. 30, Berlin
born 1974 in Sursee, lives and works in Switzerland.
He has shown his works internationally in exhibitions at museums, galleries and festivals including: Museum
Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich; MUDA Museum of Digital Art, Zürich; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart;
EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finnland; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Futurium Berlin; Hek, Basel; Bian Biennial,
Montreal; Centro de Arte Santa Museum Mónica, Barcelona; Galerie Mazzoli, Berlin; Galerie Denise René,
Paris; Galerie Anhava, Helsinki; Galerie Standing Pine, Nagoya; Diapason Gallery, New York; bitforms Gallery,
New York; ISEA, Singapur; Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam; National Art Museum of China, Bejing;
Borusan Contemporary Istanbul; San Francisco Art Institute; Kunsthalle, Bern; Kunsthalle, Luzern; Kunsthalle Aarhus,
Aarhus; Artphilein Foundation, Liechtenstein; Boghossian Foundation, Brüssel; Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Mischigan;
ICC, Tokyo; Kunsthaus L6, Freiburg; Växjö Kunsthalle; Kunsthalle Rotterdam, Rotterdam; Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; Fondation Vasarely;
Aix-en-provence; Selected Awards and Residencies: Sitemapping/Media projects Award, Swiss Art Award, and artists-in-labs residency
at CSEM, Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology.
PE LANG - POST DIGITALISM ON THE MAKE
Galerie Mazzoli is proud to present "post-digitalism in the make", the new solo exhibition by Swiss artist Pe Lang.
Pe Lang creates kinetic systems that provoke questions as to their mechanisms of action, reaching beyond pure contemplation to trigger insight.
On a formal level, these installations can be connected to the tradition of abstract geometric art wherein the artist aims for the greatest possible
simplicity and clarity on the structural level.
Their visual formula is often similar to that of a monitor screen by virtue of being framed and hung as
objects on a wall. Yet the differences are significant and important. With Pe Lang, we are not looking at surfaces that hide the technical machinery
of image generation behind them, but instead, at the actual structures of a materiality from which the functionality of the machine directly emerges.
The structural elements are not ornamentally embellished with Pe Lang. The underlying principle of each of his works is, in fact, a maximal minimalism
that reduces things to their functional skeleton. The forces at work within are designed for surprise, even enchantment, yet at the same time, no magic or
illusion techniques are at play, but rather, the laying bare of intrinsic mechanisms of action. This always concerns not only the creation of a visual event,
but also the generation of noises and sounds that belong to the aesthetic experience of the constructs.
In a long series of experiments, the artist tested the physical characteristics of the material and the effects of mass, gravity, friction, magnetism,
or wave interferences. What inevitably comes to mind in Pe Lang is the association with a mechanical watchmaker, whose profession consists in creating
a perfectly aligned system of gears, not least of which involves controlling the forces of friction and the correct adjustment of the so-called balance
wheels and escapements.
Yet Pe Lang’s works neither serve as timekeepers nor as signal generators. The “clockwork” has no purpose other than the visual and acoustic interaction
with the observers. Upon closer look, one recognizes that Pe Lang has embedded a kind of self in the choreography of mechanical movements.
This “spirit of the machine” is responsible for small irregularities, ostensible abnormalities, that intentionally disrupt the mechanical processes
prescribed by the artist-engineer* and that contribute to the impression of an organic intentionality or even intelligence of his devices. For instance,
in the works with the rotating, partly overlapping polarizing filters, Pe Lang varies both the elasticity of the drive belts as well as the
diameter of the axes, so that the pattern created by the gradations of the filter constantly changes, never repeats and, in effect, breathes.
In Pe Lang’s art works, a clear counterposition to the digital, to the disembodied and ephemeral, is palpable. They are based on a solid understanding
of physical laws and principles. But they are equally based on the knowledge and practice of a cyberneticist who is literate with algorithms,
i.e., writing programming code. AI research is not about the creation of some sort of artificial consciousness.
Intelligence can work without recognizing itself. AI systems such as those that will, in the near future,
drive our cars, are complex interactive instruments onto which we automatically focus projections of humanization.
In this sense, the grace and mysterious beauty of Pe Lang’s kinetic artworks are likewise based on our collaboration as observers.
Marc Wellmann, 2019