17. April – 25. August 2019
(Schaufenster am Hofgarten und Foyer)
Opening: Tuesday 16. April 2019
From 17 April until 25 August 2019, Kunstverein München presents Hexamiles (Odyssee) — an exhibition by Batia Suter in the Schaufenster am Hofgarten and Kunstverein München’s Foyer.
Batia Suter is an dedicated collector of images, which she scavenges from all manner of sources such as encyclopaedias, atlases, schoolbooks, scientific journals, technical manuals, catalogues, art books, history books, magazines, and other printed materials where images are reproduced and disseminated. In her photographs, installations, and publications, the artist repurposes, combines, reorders, and alters these found images, exaggerating the distortion of reproductive technologies and producing new associations through poetic and spontaneous juxtaposition. Exposing thematic and morphological affinities by bringing together disparate imagery, Suter’s works contest normalized systems of ordering knowledge and bring attention to the hidden codes connecting pictures across time and space.
Suter’s exhibition at Kunstverein München primarily considers representations of the landscape as both a historical genre and as an ideological tool for the claiming of territory, history, and the organization of relationships between humans and nature. Suter’s new works respond directly to the iconic surrounding murals in the Hofgarten Arkades by Richard Seewald, which were commissioned by Kunstverein München in 1961. In the Schaufenster, Suter has overlaid a set of Seewald’s post-expressionist Greek landscapes with similar photographic images from her archive, conflating photographic and painterly depiction to reveal compositional correlations. The resulting images reveal moments of harmony and dissonance between differing forms of representation, and thereby also reorient the apprehension of Seewald’s frescos throughout the Arcades. Continuing this exploration into the representation of the landscape, Suter also presents Odyssee, a video projection in Kunstverein München’s Foyer featuring a succession of landscapes or landscape-like images interspersed with Seewald’s images. Stripped of their contexts, factual information, or specific coordinates of time, space, and scale, the procession of images generates a mesmerizing internal logic and rhythm, encouraging the viewer to identify patterns, new associations, and narrative possibilities. As the images appear only briefly and merge with each other as the video progresses, the individualized meanings and functions of the images are rendered unstable, and all hierarchy between pictures are erased. Together, the work makes visible the repeated and ubiquitous conventions in the visualization of the landscape, examining how this trope generates its own internal language that influences how all landscapes are subsequently used and perceived. Just as the surrounding Hofgarten is an artificial and idealized representation of the relationship between the natural environment, the public, and the state, Suter’s Hexamiles demonstrates how certain forms of representation exert a powerful influence on the real, and generates formal and structural relationships beyond what is immediately apparent.
Photographer Jonah Gebka