Adeline de Monseignat & Berndnaut Smilde
curated by James Putnam
Ronchini Gallery, London
January 16th - February 16th, 2013
The works of Adeline de Monseignat and Berndnaut Smilde share an affinity for the uncanny breaking down the psychic boundaries between reality and unreality. Ronchini Gallery's exhibition theme 'The Uncanny' relates to Sigmund Freud's famous 1919 essay of the same title originally called Das Unheimliche in German that corresponds more precisely to the word 'unhomely'. ,In general the uncanny alludes to the fine line between the safe and unsafe or even the known and the unknown and can be a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar. Freud's study of the uncanny is based on the premise that the strange could not exist without the non-strange or rather that the feeling of the Uncanny is not simply something weird or mysterious but, more speifically, as something stangely familiar.
Berndnaut Smilde's cloud works are produced using a smoke machine combined with moisture , which he sprays into the air and carefully regulates the temperature and humidity of the space to create the correct condition for the cloud that lasts just long enough to be photographed before it disappears. Smilde's choice of evocative site, dramatic lighting and viewing aspect is crucial to the overall composition of the work and achieving a convincing illusion of the cloud's physicality.
Freud identified one of the most powerful uncanny scenarios as when we are uncertain whether an object or creature is anmate or inanimate- living or dead. Adeline Monseignat's series of sculptures comprising fur encased within glass spheres provoke this uncanny feeling in the spectator.
By combining familiar elements in unfamiliar and cntradictory scenarios and environments, de Monseignat and Smilde are able to unlock our access to the weird and unnatural through the notion of the uncanny - the familiar-yet-strange. Their works are liminal, hovering between on the border between our conscious and unconscious minds, unsettling yet not directly threatening because they incorporate characteristics that can be found in the familiar and seemingly harmless. While their works are not intended to have any concrete meanings they possess a mesmerizing quality rooted in psychological states and when confronting these uncanny works we can experience a sensorial displacement that is both playful and profound.
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