VOHN gallery

October 28, 2014

October 22–November 18, 2014
VOHN gallery
45 Lispenard Street 
Ground Floor, Unit 1W
New York, NY 10013

“Modern Man is born in a hospital and dies in a hospital, so he should make his home like a clinic.”
–Robert Musil

Our glittering immunological centers harbor disturbances and pathologies at the heart of their well-insulated dreams. Today’s “clinics” look like gated communities and high-rises, a global nervous system injected with protective capital disproportionately dictating who has good health, shelter, and rights. We have seen how this immunity from the lower depths can go terribly wrong: in the autoimmune disorders of market greed and competition, and in the autoimmune reactions of a planet rebelling against those who beef up on self-preservation. Immunities from poverty and subordinate nature have always been bound together by keeping the clinics clean from pathogens. What is new today is the scale. Since economic and environmental autoimmune disorders are increasingly backfiring on everyone, drives for immunity and containment are no longer an option.
This autoimmune complex is inherited everywhere. It is a vast complicity network of ecological entanglement, financial violence, and psycho-social habits that constantly malfunction against their users. Depending on your position and promotion inside this network, you hold varying levels of agency and contamination, from which two possible paths arise: cynical enjoyment and resignation in the face of a complicity that is inevitably self-serving and harmful, or bending complicity back on itself by using its connections and power for non-violence instead. Our motto should be not only know thyself, but also know your complicity.
The artistic practices of Judith Fegerl, Mathias Kessler, and Martin Roth can be situated within these concerns. Kessler’s explorations bear witness to sites of over-production reaching terminal states. Through formal complexity and rigor in various media, he underscores the irreversibility of the cultural, political, and industrial impositions made on the environment—not as a call for romantic escape or facile resentment, but as a critical awareness of forever being entangled with what we call nature. His recent body of work results from an artist residency in the Florida Everglades. Fegerl’s installations, drawings, and sculptures reveal the fissures, cracks, and connectivity of our bodies in relation to the casings and technologies we use for insulation and conduction. Her favored materials—including latex, copper, and electricity—all function in both organic and synthetic processes, both inside and outside the structures that sustain life and culture. Martin Roth’s work is attentive to the micro eco-systems constantly at work around us. In some instances, he incorporates the growth processes of plant life in his installations, while in others, his practice opens a real space for collaborative potential between human and nonhuman animals, which thoughtfully maintains ethical care, responsibility, and inter-species thriving.
Participating artists
Judith Fegerl (Austria), Mathias Kessler (Austria/US), Martin Roth (Austria/US) 
The exhibition autoimmune is curated by Arnaud Gerspacher, New York-based curator and PhD candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center.
VOHN serves as a platform for exhibitions, offsite projects and a quarterly magazine.