Peter Freeman

Sofia Hultén - Wolfgang Plöger

29 Jan - 26 Feb 2010

Sofia Hultén / Wolfgang Plöger
Exhibition view, Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris

29 January- 26 February, 2010

Reconstruction, renovation and rearrangement are recurrent themes in Sofia Hultén's work.

The act of making, the materiality of the objects she chooses to work with, and their relationship with time are key. Hultén investigates cycle of transformation and change in the things around us through video, photography and sculpture.

For this exhibition, Sofia Hultén presents a new series of works which further ideas and approaches Hultén has been working with in recent years. The new work If you want to hide a tree, go to the forest (2010) consists of many pieces of found wooden beading from a house renovation in Berlin, with new variations on the found pieces made by the artist and 'hidden' within the arrangement.

Several pieces use found materials as a starting point for explorations of reconstruction, often using methods from crime scene investigations and furniture restoration to analyse the potential history of objects and materials.

This exhibition features a new series of works, which develop and broaden research she has been working on for a number of years. In If you want to hide a tree, go to the forest (2010), the artist uses lengths of wooden beading taken from a building renovation site in Berlin. Simply laid out on the floor or leaning against a wall, the nine original pieces are “hidden” amongst those actually created by the artist. The imitations are so precise that it is impossible to tell the originals from the more recent lengths of wood.

Some things are more than others (2010) plays on the same principal of original and copy. A “found” plank of wood is juxtaposed with another piece of the same dimensions, which has been treated using different furniture restoration techniques so that it resembles perfectly the original.

Test/Tat (2010) once again explores the theme of the double. This work consists of two photographs, which apparently show the same object: a stained piece of cloth found at a flea market. The first photograph shows the object in its original state. In the second the object is quite similar – apart from one or two details. In fact the object has undergone a number of different processes. It was first cleaned and the stains removed, then the artist attempted through the use of various techniques to restore the original marks.

The four photographs, which make up Individual features removed (2005), show various personal objects, from which any conspicuous characteristics have been removed. The twenty-five objects, which make up the series, were found in a house being renovated. The artist modified the objects in order to make them completely anonymous and then photographed them with all the rigour and detachment of scientific photography or a criminal investigation. Unlike in her more recent work, where the artist adds something to the piece through a long process of reconstitution, here she contented herself with simply eliminating and subtracting in order to remove any form of identity from the objects.

Born in Sweden in 1972, Sofia Hultén, lives and works in Berlin. She has exhibited extensively in Europe and worldwide. Recent exhibitions include Berlin 2000, Pace Wildenstein New York, Pop-Up!, Ludwig Forum Aachen, Back to Back, Konrad Fischer Oben, Berlin, and Drawn Onward, Perrot's Folly Ikon Gallery Offsite, Birmingham UK.

Wolfgang Plöger's fascination is with the moving image, in particular 16 mm and Super 8 film. Oftentimes he makes a series of drawings, which are then animated and projected onto the gallery walls. But many of his projections become sculptural as he lets the filmstrips run between the floor and ceiling of the exhibition spaces. Beside the changing image sequences and the rattling of the projectors, long film loops cut hurriedly through the rooms. In this way the celluloid itself along with the projectors become an essential and sculptural element of the works.

In Paris he presents the installation Keep going forward (2010) consisting of 3 Super8 film loops in different colors (blue/red/black). These loops are made out of leader-material, an industrial product which usually indicates the beginning and end of a roll of film. On this material the artist has handwritten several quotes from last statements' given by death row prisoners before being executed. The quotes were published and found on the internet. As the film feeds through the projector, the film loops become moving strips of readable text filling the given space like a kinetic sculpture. While the text is projected it becomes illegible like some strange calligraphy we cannot decipher.

On the ground floor, next to Sofia Hultén’s work, Wolfgang Plöger exhibits Blaue Diagonale (2008), which consists of two parallel neon tubes around which a Super 8 film has been wound. This work closely echoes Keep Going Forward through its components (film, light simulated movement), while evoking the process of its creation. According to the artist, this type of sculpture is the equivalent of a sketch, a stage in the process leading to the elaboration of his installations. It is accompanied by a photograph (which can be seen in our office) as proof of this research, which shows the same piece in situation of film in the artist’s studio.

Wolfgang Plöger (born, 1971) lives and works in Berlin. Among others he has recently held exhibitions at westlondonprojects, Artis den Bosch, KW-Berlin, The Art Institute, Chicago, and Kunstverein Bremen..

Tags: Sofia Hultén, Wolfgang Plöger