Great Expectations • Leopold Kessler, NEOZOON, Benja Sachau, Dana Sherwood, Roman Signer, Virg • 17.01.–22.02.2014

Presented by Klara Hobza

With best intentions we carry our grand ideas into the world. We create a scenario in which the material of reality clashes with the material of our imagination. We fall in love with the world in this moment that cannot be directed, when reality accelerates our intentions to high velocity, transforming them into something irrefutable.

The artists of Great Expectations do not shy away from addressing the transformative forces of death, nor are they afraid of inserting themselves into grand landscapes and their animal worlds.

Leopold Kessler
Forchetta delle Dolomiti
(The Fork of the Dolomites)
Video, 2013, 06:36 min.

On the top of Schlern mountain, near Bolzano, Leopold Kessler erected a monument to the victory of Italian cuisine. In his video, we see a gigantic fork with a perfectly wrapped bundle of spaghetti defying the windy gusts of the Dolomites. A while later, a group of well-equipped mountaineers dismantle this fork of triumph with considerable effort and devoutly carry it down the mountain.

Buck Fever
Video, 2012, 05:51 min.

Buck Fever is an assemblage of amateur recordings by game hunters found on YouTube. We hold our breath as we accompany these hunters, carefully sneaking up on the animals and waiting for a clean shot. As they fire, all their tension is released and morphs into ecstasy over their perfect kill. We can´t help but watch in awe as the hunters pose with their beautiful animals set against grand American landscapes.

Benja Sachau
Zeitliche Segnungsanlage
(Facility for Timed Blessings)
Sculpture, 2012

Before its official discovery in 2012, Benja Sachau discovered the Higgs particle—an elementary particle—in 2010. To honor his monumental triumph, he combined two Tibetan meditation vessels with a microprocessor to create his Facility for Timed Blessings.

Over the duration of the exhibition, each vessel periodically transmits its blessing in the form of a ringing sound. The frequency of rings is programmed according to the rules of the Fibonacci sequence, which represents perfect beauty. One vessel is installed outside the gallery, the other inside. Blessings from the outdoor vessel gradually decrease in frequency, ringing less and less over the duration of the exhibition. The indoor vessel does the reverse, increasing in ringing frequency (i.e. blessings). Accordingly, the outdoor blessing tones gradually shift indoors. The vessels ring out simultaneously only twice: at the very beginning and very end of the exhibition.

Dana Sherwood
Nights of Coyote and Cake
Set of two photographs, 2013

“In August of last year, I was staying on the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts. Late one evening I noticed the eerie and cacophonous howl of wild dogs. Indeed, a pack of coyotes was camping out in my yard. I heard it again the next night, and I decided to make them a marvelous cake. I made a gigantic meat cake full of beef and jellied pate, surrounded by hot dogs and raw marrowbones. For the last few years I have been doing projects in which I create a decadent feast for a group of wild animals. Based on extensive research into the diet of various species, I tailor the recipes for the particular animals I am likely to encounter in a given region. These experiments in the natural world have given me some insight into the behavior of non-human animals. With this in mind, I set this spectacular food out for the coyotes late one evening. When I awoke at dawn the next morning I went out to the spot where I left it, only to find that it hadn’t been touched at all. Nor was it eaten over the next four consecutive nights. Coyotes, being mercilessly exterminated as pests, have adapted to this by being constantly on the move. One thing for certain is the unpredictability of wild creatures. No matter how well an investigation may be researched and prepared, there is always a very strong element of chance. For example, sometimes your collaborators never even materialize.” (Dana Sherwood)

Roman Signer
1-channel-video, 2000, 5:20 min.
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

We see a man in a kayak. To his left is a river. Instead of paddling down the river, he has chosen to be dragged down a road, towed behind what seems to be a truck. The road has the same width, shape, and color as the stream. The man might have missed his entry point. But he is wearing a motorcycle helmet—he must have intended to take the gravel road instead of the waterway. By no means, however, could he have anticipated the overwhelming surprise that reality throws his way: his rowdy method of transportation causes a herd of cows to break into a run alongside him and his kayak. For a brief moment, the minds of these two different species, the work animals and the artist at work, seem to merge into a single consciousness of astonishment.

Intervention #14
Photograph, 2007

In this series of interventions Virg glued glitter onto the wings of dead insects. She then placed them in a variety of windowsills in cafés, libraries, and bars. On the off chance that someone took notice of this very subtle intervention, this may have given rise to rather large-scale questions of death and beauty. Perhaps this wasp felt an irresistible pull towards the glittering beauty that ended up killing it? Perhaps it took a last bath in glitter before smashing itself against the window in a final act of kamikaze? Or perhaps it took a human to pay tribute to a magnificent death, which would have otherwise been too easily overlooked?