With If the hours were already counted, Kunstverein Arnsberg presents the first institutional personal exhibition of Angelika Markul (born 1977, Szczecin) in Germany. The exhibition focuses on works that create narratives about the origins of life or past cultures and bear witness to an inevitable imminent end.
Bathed in yellow, red and blue light, Markul’s drawings, sculptures and paintings from the series Land of Fire (2018/2021) open the exhibition. Named after the South American archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, the works address the disappearance of Patagonian glaciers and the ancient cultures that once shaped and inhabited this land before being displaced by European settlers and climate change. . They write a speculative story of disappearance and disappearance as it could be buried under the masses of melting ice.
The subject takes its starting point with the video work Glacier memory (2017) which traces the origin of all life on Earth. Here, the narrative is introduced by black and white images of comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko shot during the Rosetta mission (2004-2016). Along with the video material taken in space – which in its mounted form is more reminiscent of early science fiction than the scientific background of the images – Markul places snapshots of the Patagonian glaciers, creating a short poetic history of the evolution. Water, as the source of life, becomes the central motive from which the two geological bodies are partly constituted. As the protagonists of this story, the comet and the glaciers provide a glimpse into a thousand, if not billions of years ago. Both can bring life and death. And so, with the music of CÃ´me Aguiar, Glacier memory could ultimately be understood as a visual and acoustic symphony of the forces of nature, the cycle of becoming and disappearing.
If the hours were already counted (2016) also speaks of a place apparently from another world. People in protective gear walk in a crystalline dream landscape like pioneers on another planet. Once again, the work is based on images taken during a scientific expedition: in 2000, miners at the Mexican Naica mine discovered a cave about 300 meters underground containing huge crystals that could reach eleven meters. The cave has been made accessible to scientists looking for traces of the origin of life on Earth. The documentation of the expedition, first published in Markul’s work, testifies to the immediate experience of the sublime. Wonder and shock are written on the faces of seekers, as is physical exhaustion; with temperatures between 45 and 50 Â° C and up to 100% humidity, conditions in the cave are threatening. Cooling combinations and cooling chambers are vital. Markul deliberately kept the images in black and white and thus refers to the famous etchings by Ãdouard Riou for Jules Verne. Journey to the center of the world (1864). In an interview, the artist describes his fascination with the blurry lines between fiction and reality that emerge here as follows: âWhat amuses me is that what seems to be fantasy at one time becomes reality and trite at one time. another, delusional speculation. (ARTMargins, 2017)
Markul’s works always move between the seemingly opposite poles of science and fiction. As “science fiction”, they internalize the discoveries of ecology, geology, archeology and astronomy. Time and time again, the artist adds mystical and spiritual elements to this context. His work can ultimately be understood as a tribute to the sometimes dark secrets of this Earth.
The artist lives and works in Paris and Warsaw. His works have been exhibited around the world in renowned institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), the CSW Zamek Ujazdowski Museum (Warsaw), the Jewish Museum (New York) and the National Art Museum of China (Beijing) .
With the kind support of the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation; the town of Arnsberg; the district of Hochsauerlandkreis; the Plastic Arts Office of the French Institute of Germany and the French Ministry of Culture; Sparkasse Arnsberg-Sundern and Veltins. In cooperation with LETO Gallery, Warsaw, and the Polish Institute in DÃ¼sseldorf.
Curriculum and text: Lydia KorndÃ¶rfer