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In Middens
Nils Alix-Tabeling, Barbara Kapusta
Opening: January 20, 2017
Exhibition: January 21-March 4, 2017

“It's daybreak. The break of day. Toby turns this word over: break, broke, broken. What breaks in daybreak? Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light?
She shifts her binoculars. The trees look as innocent as ever; yet she has the feeling that someone’s watching her – as if even the most inert stone or stump can sense her, and doesn’t wish her well…The floating orange triangle, the talking crickets, the withering columns of vegetation, the eyes in the leaves. Still, how to distinguish between such illusions and the real thing?”
Margaret Atwoods, “The Year of the Flood”

 
The items still need to be categorised: a carcass, fake eyelashes, a fist, 8, a pair of shoes.
 
Archaeological artefacts excavated at two different locations within the same site are not necessarily from the same era. The strata of the earth can vary. The purpose of these objects can fluctuate over time, matter has a tendency to accumulate in events.
 
We move backwards through stories, peeling layers of events away like flaky dead skin.
 
We decipher relics, materials, reconstruct usages and beliefs. The evidence only makes sense when cross-read against our own blueprints. To code and decode language, tokens and DNA. We  analyse and slice, copy and sequence, and assemble a scenario. Left with the shells of a culture we colour in the blanks. Ponder terms like communities and politics, borders and identities, trying them on but they feel like a skin that no longer fits.
 
A log of something that has happened. Half snake, half woman, half animal, half culture. It’s unclear yet wether these relics are from a muddled past or a monument to a future yet to come.
 
 
The exhibition is accompanied by Barbara Kapusta’s publication “The 8 and the Fist”.
 
Nils Alix-Tabeling, born 1991 in Paris, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Radieuse, Quai du Commerce 7 (Brussels, 2016), Les Septs Périls Spectraux, Arnaud Deschin Gallery (Paris, 2016), La vie intense, Rue d’artois 52, (Brussels, 2016), Start Point, National Gallery (Prague, 2016), I Would’ve Done Everything For You… / – Gimme More!, The Plug (London, 2015).
 
Barbara Kapusta, born 1983, lives and works in Vienna. Recent exhibitions include Das Begreifen, and The Language of Things, 21er Haus (Vienna, 2016), The Promise of Total Automation, Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, 2016), Dinge und Dialoge, Scriptings (Berlin 2015), Mouth As Is A Haunted House, Beautiful Gallery, (Chicago 2015), Poesie, mumok cinema (Vienna, 2015).

Photos by Simon Veres, courtesy the artists and GIANNI MANHATTAN Vienna