“We know that the earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual—first the magical, then the religious kind. It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function. In other words, the unique value of the ‘authentic’ work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value. This ritualistic basis, however remote, is still recognizable as secularized ritual even in the most profane forms of the cult of beauty.”
– Walter Benjamin
“Friendship is when one person pays and everyone shares.”
Working under the title “Pay for Rituals”, artists Felix Kultau (*1984) and Malte Zenses (*1987) place existing artworks in relation to newly created works for the exhibition. Their common interest lies in the codes of different cultural milieus and subcultures, which they position as unopened, exclusionary capsules in their paintings, visual objects and sculptures.
The raw material of the works of Felix Kultau consists of the metal doors of lockers, which have been used, marked, crushed, glued and scuffed in various contexts. Speculation about their original context leads in different directions, recalling their emblematic function in the happy ending-ambivalent conflicts of puberty in american high school films or the military-like conformity of the private sphere. They include soaps lying before, creased breasts from the fantasy of deformed suspenders with garbage underneath, profane smut leaking out of athletic shoes. In them, one finds bundles of gauze, panties, weapons and collections of latex or vinyl. Kultau reacts to the appearance of this lockers and extends it as an aesthetic hypothesis surrounding an implied backdrop. His visual, layered formations function within themselves as blends of the signs of exclusive milieus and the traces of private histories. They speak of structural abrasion and the exploitation of subcultures or of the seductive unknown. Works from the series were displayed in the 2017 solo show “Spoiler Paradox” at the Kunstverein Heppenheim.
Simple signs such as checks and circles, a stylized mouth, a hand, streaks, wave-like gestures and, again and again, script inform the appearance of Malte Zenses’ paintings and visual objects. He combines sculptural moments with different visual media, which consciously suggests contexts that drift apart from one another. In the hanging of single representative works, they drift into a theatrical realm or the works themselves indicate the parameters of their display by virtue of their materiality. On the visual support of the medium and in the exhibition as larger medium, paraphrased momentary gestures in the color black behave like holes in the texture of visual processes and their institutions. His works encompass the ritualized, strained relationship between language and visuality, of information and poetry. In that way, Zenses’ placements function as an enactment of the cross-section of the linearly constructed sequence of production and presentation. They are subtile interfaces of conventional notions of genre and as such refer to the formal framework of artistic production. His works were last presented as solo exhibitions in the project spaces Salon Kennedy (Frankfurt/M) and Studio Picknick (Berlin). Malte Zenses’ first institutional solo exhibition will be hosted this year by the Nürnberger Kunstverein.
– Marcel Hiller (fiebach, minninger press release)