1 March 2023 — 6 April 2023
1 Mar 2023 — 6 Apr 2023
To be naked is to be oneself.
To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself. A naked body has to be seen as an object in order to become a nude. (The sight of it as an object stimulates the use of it as an object.) Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display.
To be naked is to be without disguise.
To be on display is to have the surface of one’s own skin, the hairs of one’s own body, turned into a disguise which, in that situation, can never be discarded. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
Form is a fragile thing. The form of a body, the form of a mind, the form of a self in general. Materially and conceptually departing from his recent films, which explore fabled accounts of creative absurdity – be this through theatrical productions (Bird in Italian is Uccello, 2021) or hand tattooing (Turtleneck Phantasies, 2022) – Gernot Wieland’s solo exhibition, Halb Nackt, gives a playful form to the fragile nature of psychological selfhood.
Stripped of the liveness seen in his film-based works, Halb Nackt (translated as, Half Naked), alludes to the ways in which a self is always already more than its bare presence. That is, how a self is a complex, contradictory, constellation of states of mind, times, and cultural inferences each lingering at different depths within a body, a mind and across different realms of consciousness. Rather than seeking to resolve this incongruous layering of cognitive grains, the half nakedness at the heart of this exhibition leans into the “cruel discovery” that a self is more than a simple object, beyond an objective analysis and interpretation. Here, psychological selfhood is seen as an unfixable multiplicity, something uniquely fragile. And in this way, through Halb Nackt, Gernot questions the logical frames that confine a self to a plain form, a nude form, nothing more than a cinematographic disguise.
Through reconstituted vases, psychogram-esque maps, and rudimentary drawings, the artworks in this exhibition visually reference the montages so prominent in Gernot’s filmic aesthetic. Rough and wriggling, drawings such as Caravaggio, 2022, have an almost childlike quality. Akin to sketches collected on familial fridges, that narrate a life through the eyes of a becoming child, the figures in these drawings perform with cutlass smiles. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a delicate vase, broken and half repaired, overtly points to psychological rupture and practices of healing minds seen as fractured.
Halb Nackt is a playful journey into the skin of a mind. As a collection of rag-tag forms and fragments of personal narrative writ in scribbly line, the exhibition can be seen as an absurd rumination on the fragility of selfhood in an era of sociological formality.
Gernot Wieland (b.1968, Horn, Austria), studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and at the University of Fine Arts Berlin.
Through video, and other media made performative, Gernot subtly voices the complexities of living in our secular society. Through scribbly line, grainy film, and absurd presences, Gernot composes his works through a process of rag-tag blending. Here historical accounts, personal memories and speculative imaginings become complex narratives; humorous and psychologically pointed.
Most recent solo exhibitions: Kindl – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2022); Quartz Studio, Turin, Italy (2021); Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria (2020); Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Switzerland (2020); IBB Video Space at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany (2020); Museum of Modern Art, Berlin, Germany (2020).
In 2022 Gernot was awarded with the German Short Film Award (in the category experimental short film up to 30 minutes), the most important award for short films in Germany. Further awards include Best Film Award at the 24th edition of the Festival des Cinémas Différents et Expérimentaux de Paris, Paris (2022); Best Film Award at the VIII Kinodot Experimental Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia (2020); the EMAF Media Art Award of the German Filmcritics (2019); in 2017 he won the MOSTYN Open.