Opening—28 April 2023, 6 to 9 PM
Alexandra Bircken’s Musterung returns to the artist’s recurrent fixations, with insides and outsides, surfaces and volumes, bodies and machines. Her works enact transformations that are less clear-cut dichotomy than moments of transition or smudging overlap. Her imagination creates a mobius loop that links humans to their supportive machinery as entities that can never be neatly separated. Anthropomorphic and mechanical associations bear equal weight in these human-object cross pollinations.
The artist’s work begins as an enquiry and aims to enact the smallest possible gesture to make an object’s flipside apparent. Surgical procedures such as amputations, transplants, biopsies and dermabrasions are applied to inanimate things. Motorcycle gas tanks, sanded down and flipped on their axes, are repurposed as armored torsos, both container and protective shield.
Each work is, in a sense, a prototype, or Muster: a one-off proposal designed for an ambiguous purpose. A Muster or Musterung can also be a pattern, however, such as those appearing in the knitted wall-hangings displayed here. Their relentless chains of tanks, guns and missiles are signs of omnipresent preoccupations, as war fills up our news-feeds. The things that are on our minds are pictured compulsively by the stark repeating patterns of the automated knitting machine.
Text by Kirsty Bell