Beyond Every Mountain Lies Another Mountain, 2016
Helmhaus, Zürich, Switzerland
curated by Huang Mei, Simon Maurer, Li Zhenhua, Daniel Morgenthaler, Primo Mazzoni, Michael Vonplon
with works by 9mouth, Luciano Castelli, Gregory Hari, Hu Jieming, Hu Weiyi, Chantal Kaufmann, Tan Ping, Tian Xiaolei, U5
For the exhibition „Beyond Every Mountain Lies Another Mountain» U5 developed three art works: Solitude I, Solitude II and BLEACH II:
Fog is eerie. If it produces a whiteout, it’s frightening. The horizon has vanished; earth and sky can no longer be distinguished. Everything looks faded, equally bright, ground, space, ceiling. No contrasts, no shadows. Just one vast emptiness. That can be life-threatening in the mountains; in the white cube of a museum, whiteout challenges perception. There are no visual holds. The mind moves into top gear. No clues, no orientation. A video can be distinguished – of Mount Bromo erupting. A confusion of thoughts. Where are we? What’s the point? How to escape this oppressive situation? The installation and the performance BLEACH taking place within it expose viewers to a precarious experi- ence. When we finally escape the unremitting white, we necessarily walk into darkness. Having left natural space behind, we find ourselves in an art space again. In it, a glass tower stands on bone-like supports. Things seen dangling from the ceiling on a sculptural disk are more or less vital to survival: salt solution, dried food. No holds are barred in the video projected onto the floor: open brain surgery, while live streaming on three smartphones shows what the artist group U5 are filming. You may see them in Asia climbing a volcano and gazing into the Earth’s interior. They investigate its riddles – and those of the brain. U5’s artists are on the road as a group with no individual signature but with a shared handwriting – and they have been for ten years. If you end up in a whiteout, the rule is: stop and stay together. If you’re alone, you are confronted with yourself. There’s no telling if the fog will lift. But it does in the performance BLEACH – in a surprising way.
(Exhibition text by Peter Schneider)
Solitude I and Solitude II
Solitude I, 2016
120 x 120 x 150 cm
acrylic glass, 3 iPhones, microsurgical instruments, humidifier, projector, artificial hair, 3D-prints (PLA), salt solution, cannabis, vaporizer, dietary supplement, mixed media
Solitude II, 2016
80 x 65 x 280
3D-prints (PLA), acrylic glass
The two objects refer to each other. Solitude I is an accumulation of objects intervening with the human body and its senses: Dietary supplements, salt solutions, 3D-printed bones, artificial hair, whitening creme for nipples, etc. A recording of a neurosurgical intervention on the brain is projected on the floor. A humidifier fills the air with fragrance. A vaporizer is stuffed with cannabis, ready to use. Three mobile phones dangling from the sculpture show live-streams sent to the museum. The streams are part of an ongoing project called PALM. Each member of the collective is carrying a camera nonstop showing excerpts of their daily life. Solitude II reminds of a giant bone incarcerated between the ceiling and the floor of the museum. The object is made of acrylic glass and 3D-prints and contains a LED panel displaying the word „trust“. On one of the shelf-like structures of Solitude II, a pile of pills is arranged, filled with unidentifiable substances.
BLEACH II, 2016
video, performance, fog
«BLEACH II» is an alteration of the preceding «BLEACH» performance:
Visitors of the exhibition enter the completely fogged space through a curtain of transparent plastic, as seen in butcher shops or workshops. For the visitors it is impossible to perceive the dimensions of the space. A monitor hanging from the ceiling in the center of the space is visible. It repeatedly displays a film of a volcanic eruption of mount Bromo on Java, Indonesia in January 2016. It also shows videos of characters completely dressed in white appearing bored, typing on cell phones in a fictitious space, as well as videos taken during the «BLEACH»-performance. When entering the space, the participant can see silhouettes of three characters standing not far from the monitor wearing solely white clothes, a surgical mask, surgical gloves and long white hair covering their faces. The two on both sides are holding a container of protein powder (dietary supplement). The character in the middle awaits the visitors with outflung arms, hands open, palms up. The character’s right arm is marked with the word «all», the left arm is marked with «nothing». In each palm, the character offers to the participant a transparent 3 x 1,5 cm token. As there are no clear instructions, participants can only guess that they are invited to take one of the tokens, choosing between «all» or «nothing». Each token contains an URL linking to the page http:// oracle.92u.ch and an individual code. Every time a participant takes a token, a new token is placed into the palm. Participants can stay in the space as long as they want to. There is no limit of visitors to the space. When entering the code to the oracle page a combination of three couples of words appear.