Paul Czerlitzki, Eva Vuillemin

Let me try start with not to set an artificial mood or defining the word “liaison”. Let us just take in the show for a moment. Breath in. Breath out. Continue. Step back. Close your eyes. I originally wanted to start of with a Friday afternoon in a remote and rather sad café, close to the place I was born, but in the end it got too sentimental, a counter approach forced by a comment of a friend that told me the last text I had to write was too cold. I did not want to end up with a purely descriptive text, but if you have facts, what need is there for an accessorized language? And the other option, explaining what a liaison is, was out of question – everybody knows it is some sort of dedicated relation ship. But now I am rambling. Nonsensically.
The best way to enjoy this show is to find this little quite place, and then start looking. It is the second time MÉLANGE chose to work with Paul Czerlitzki (*1986, in Gdansk). In his first presentation he worked together with Piotr Lakomy and transformed the shop window of the old space into a one-way mirror. Czerlitzki is mostly known for his treatments of canvases and walls; with pigment dust, layering of paint or applying paint from the backside of the canvas. His work always carries the notion of trust and the betrayal or failure of it. This time some of his paintings are placed outside of the space. Deemed to withstand the rainy, cold autumn weather of Cologne. Ready to deteriorate on the spot, but only in terms of their physical presence. It is the artist biggest leap of faith to date. When before, in the moment the piece left the studio, the responsibilities shifted and the piece only got exposed to a hands on treatment by people, he know puts them out there. Stepping back and subjecting them mother natures will. They seemingly exited their realm of art, in the sense that they are outside of their natural habitat, a white wall gallery space. They lay bare, vulnerable and expecting their demise. Time and faith will show us if the trace inflicted by natures will results in an aesthetic shift; an expansion to the existing work.
Then there is a tongue, lit by a small LED lamp, placed on a glass pedestal, hidden under an air vent. This piece by Eva Vuillemin (*1987, in Zurich) is a beautiful example of an ambivalent moment between fascination and disgust. As some might recall the cows tongue your grandmother usually bought as a delicates at the local butcher shop, this piece functions similar.The body, if human or not, is a subject that Vuillemin keeps on getting back to. She digests our world, rearranges it by the logics of the body. The tongue(s) are the tip, the beginning of our digestive system, they are inflicted with the tension of sensual delights and nausea. The silicon material they are made of emphasizes the suspense. The motive repeats inside in various iterations, lurking in the corner, crawling over the floor, waving on flags culminating on the wall. Those sleek images, resembling a tendency of old fashioned object photography of art historical or archaeological books, but could also been found in books explaining flower arrangements, or later on commercially used context. Her video work Mollusca (2016) follows those clean and sleek representations of a close up images of a female body, that is slowly investigated, measured, and fragmented. In Mollusca the means of measurement are snails and fruits, serving together with an ASMR inspired soundtrack as beautifully disturbing analysis of the human body. Again the implacable contrast between disgust and a ludic drive comes into full play. The absurd experiment plays with our expectations and phantasies. One of the tongues is placed on Czerlitzki’s carpet, implementing a sex toy, displaced on a bed. The intimate situation, created both by Czerlitzki’s imagery and Vuillemin’s object, counters the overall rather cold appearance of the show. So again. Step back. Close your eyes and breath in – and out. Count to ten. Listen to the ASMR sound, or the vents on the roof. Concentrate. Open your eyes again and enjoy the show.