Photos: Gunnar Meier, Ivana Franke
Twilight. Neither perception nor non-perception
Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, June 11 - August 07, 2023
Ivana Franke’s exhibition brings the question of seeing and perception into full view. We live in a world that is ocular-centric. Sight dominates every aspect of our lives. In law, evidence-building is often centred on sight—witnessing is the ability to have seen a crime being committed and/or the perpetrator, outweighing what was heard as proof. Scent on the other hand is not even considered even if victims of assault remember it more vividly than vision. The evidentiary rules and governs our world. Every act must be validated by a readable document. [...]
Ivana Franke’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland provides a moment to recalibrate our habitual ways of seeing and being in the world, opening apertures to other viewpoints. Franke is known for her site-responsive works which question the thresholds of our perception by creating a connection between the viewer’s consciousness and the environment. Her multi-disciplinary work draws on neuroscience, mathematics, optics and architecture, pointing to a wider understanding of artistic practice and its relevance to other disciplines, as well as to the validity of entangled practices.
You enter a dark room. You are completely immersed in it. Your eyes need to adjust to this new environment. You are unsure of your next step. You stop and move slowly. There is a time of uncertainty before you regain your sight. Before you start making meaning based on what you are seeing and what you already know. Before you make quick associations and judgements. It is in these few somewhat negligible seconds that are emptiest from associations. In those seconds while adjusting, you are more alert, you are more aware of the rest of your body in relation to the space, and your place in it. I find this moment to be most productive, the moment where we are not sure—when we are most open. This is a moment of attention. I would like to ask us to hold on to this moment of openness, free from what we already know and open to other possibilities of moving and being in the world.
Seeing and feeling, an internal process is informed by exteriority—how we have been socialised to make meaning. What I see is coloured by my experience, background and socialisation, making a seemingly objective act inextricably biased. On top of that, memory is unstable—your reading of the world often colours how you make meaning of what you remember which in turn changes as your perception shifts.
Twilight. Neither perception nor non-perception poses compelling questions; “Do we only see what we know? What can dislocate us from our comfortable, predefined point of view, and challenge our gaze on the world?”3 And potentially, can we read the world anew if we suspend for a moment our habits and biases?
From the text by Kabelo Malatsie
Draw a small total dark ready to move. Through-line through line exploded as life lived in stride—mid-resolution slide. Soup of muffled whispers on a cheap vacation. Something happens for 40 minutes. Gossamer when the thing escapes. Gossamer cowboy lasso for sensory mechanics. Tension held to infinite thought. Cognition pitched to a kind of waiting elasticated to loading. That as a kind of looking. Sight skewed to epochal pause of recognizable. Incandescent red dotting apertures. A black hole assembled, then disassembled, packed, shipped, unpacked, then reassembled again, lockstep with many signals buoyed somewhere 18 degrees beyond event’s horizon. Maybe glimpsed, maybe not. Midnight
rounded floating a landscape, dragging parabola spilled over arms-length. Something rises, then lowers to depth. Some sort of score that withholds relief. People emerge looking like something happened to them.
From the text Rounding Midnight by Lantian Xie
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