NuN is pleased to welcome the art collective Mahony, which is showing their video installation Gumpaste Incident for the first time in Berlin.
The focus of the work is a Mayan statue which recently became the center of controversy. Shortly after its sale at a Paris auction house, Mexican authorities brought the authenticity of the pre-Columbian sculpture into question. French art historical institutions refuted their arguments, maintaining that the statue had not been previously subject to dispute, and accused the Mexican authorities of being opportunistic and duplicitous, adding that their claims were made based only on photographs and not first-hand inspection of the statue.
Mahony reflects on this episode with the video installation Gumpaste Incident, in which a flickering image of the statue is projected onto a throne which faces the visitor, a projection which is disrupted by vibrations and intrusive flashes. The accompanying soundtrack contains a record of a cattle auction: the monotonous litany of an auctioneer's voice over the din of farmers bidding on cows. "The last poetry possible, the poetry of capitalism", said Werner Herzog of auctioneering.
Gumpaste Incident is the result of the collective's artistic research, which often questions the veracity of historical facts, especially those relating to post-colonial narratives. By staging their own iteration of this art historical debacle, the artists offer additional layers of interpretation as well as an alternate consideration of the statue, one different to that of the two disputing Mexican and French factions, whose histories are steeped in cultural exploitation and imperialism.
Mahony was founded in Vienna in 2002. The members are Stephan Kobatsch, Jenny Wolka and Clemens Leuschner. They currently live and work in Berlin. Their works have been exhibited at Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna (solo), Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin (solo), La Criée, Rennes, France (solo), Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, and Kunsthalle Vienna. They will have an exhibition at Witte de With, Rotterdam, in January 2015.
Artists' website www.mahony.fm