Bernd Kugler

Madeleine Boschan

16 Sep - 15 Oct 2011

© Madeleine Boschan
Installation view, 2011
16 September - 15 October, 2011

Madeleine Boschan’s sculptural work consists of a continuous struggle with the floating physical expanse and the graphic, linearly bundling of plastic forces in space. She brings together assorted unrelated found pieces and industrial scrap to form her by turns stark, yet graceful sculptures – standing there fragilely, delicately and incisively.

She is affected by strange apparatus, machines beyond the norm and African tribal art. She emphasises that her work elicits absurd merriment and simultaneously a feeling of palpable menace and is intended to make this visible. The materials employed lose their erstwhile use value and their degrading, expedient functionality, and yet in the process they gain a conscious sense of themselves as things and thus resistantly elude our influence.

Madeleine Boschan produces her sculptural constellations as diagrammatizing ensembles, which altogether resemble psycho-geographical maps in their disparate structuring. With an eye to behavioural biology, she herself speaks of “pride-like systems” and she thus lets her works form sculptural packs. In these circular interconnections, one encounters primary coloured, striding Technopods1, chimera-like Emaniles, radiating electricity, not water, in mysterious rituals of transition; and coupling shrines exposing themselves in hermetic seclusion. The individual components of these highly differentiated, multiple structures interact almost ‘animalistically’ with one another. They stand there in space, lurking for one another and likewise the viewer.

The sculptures place themselves to this end in the relentless, cold artificial light of the neon tubes incorporated within themselves, with which they illuminate themselves, with which they mark their own position in the form of a clearing delineating the surrounding space. An inscrutable doubling, with which the electricity displays itself in its self-created glow. Now and again, the tubes really communicate with one another and send out signs from their interiors animated with gas in an unfathomable rhythm, exchanging emissaries of light, establishing contact “with other electrical devices, in homes, factories, on the street. They all have something to tell.”2

Even if Madeleine Boschan’s sculptures might appear like abandoned relics or towering steel totems in a dystopian post-modernist wasteland – similar to those in Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, Chris Marker’s La Jetée and Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi – they possess a completely unique vitality, which against all expectations, opens up a potential escape despite the sand-like trickling away of all temporality.

The exhibition title with its African feel is borrowed by the artist from the emotionally heightened masked spectacle of wrestling. »Kayfabe« (ke?fe?b) comes from pig latin, an artificial English language, and is a backslang conjunction of ‘be fake’ and the suffix ‘ay’. In wrestling »Kayfabe« stands for the ambivalent acquiescence to a spectacle that pretends to be true, real and not an illusion, that is, not a fake, whilst at the same time all of the participants are acutely aware that it is so.

It is in this way then that Madeleine Boschan picks up the found object, takes it apart and puts it back together again transformed. It is almost as if the still recognisable materials are simply feigning their previous identities by means of unnatural, ‘false signals’, knowing that they long ago in technoid mimicry became something else, that is sculpture. An alienating procedure that does not abandon our ready-made world to oblivion as a mere replica, but instead forces it to stay present and, in this uprising, makes it more comprehensible.

Christian Malycha

1) See Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, ‘1837. Zum Ritornell,’ in: Tausend Plateaus. Kapitalismus und Schizophrenie II, Berlin 1992, p. 431: “As [Konrad] Lorenz says, coral reef fish are coloured like posters or flags. [...] Not in the sense that these characteristics belong to a particular subject, but rather that they delineate a territory belonging to a subject, which it has or causes to be. These characteristics are signatures; however, a signature, one’s own name, is not a label produced by the subject, but is instead the label that constitutes an area, a resting place.”
2) Thomas Pynchon, ‘Die Geschichte von Byron, der Birne,’ in: Die Enden der Parabel (1973), Reinbek bei Hamburg 2000, p. 1024

Tags: Madeleine Boschan, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker