Seriously, yes
with Gina Proenza, Alfatih, Lou Masduraud, Yann Stéphane Bisso, Caterina De Nicola, Niels Trannois, Isabella Fürnkäs
08.06.-20.07.2024


Exhibition views

Photos: Oliver Kümmerli / Coutesy: the artists and WVK Gallery



Exhibition text

Notes on an end of meaning

Psychologically speaking, the act of moving house inhabits a paradox – it’s an affirmation as much as it is a
negation of something, of the meaning of something.

Factually speaking, WVK Gallery moved in at Baarstrasse 86 in 6300 Zug.

Symbolically speaking, Alfatih greets me with a shoe.
An ambiguous heel. A conglomerate of eggplant and sugar beet. Or food.
I enter the revolving spin. An oscillating contemplation on the representation of something. A dissipating
conversation on the interpretation of the representation of a performed thing.
I would argue that art argues that to think about a thing is to think about its symbolic value, which is to think
about meaning and the power of meaning.
The shoe-heel-food-eggplant-and-sugar-beet-closed-curcuit-installation titled “Untitled” might serve as
some sort of proof of said cascade of meaning, but also inextricably ties meaning to time. I can only speculate
how my vis-à-vis might successively read the pump as something else entirely, as something more
resemblant of fibres’ decay.
But who knows…
These speculations might not bring me closer to meaning, but to my reader’s subjectivity instead.
Who programmed this AI?
And might there be relief in Isabella Fürnkäs’ auto-poiesis and non-verbal descriptions of an inner life?
Speaking of subjectivity, what can I learn from the confusion that crawls up my spine when thinking of a collared
shirt turned into soft-haired bones?
This is a dismantled body, a fleshless body of emblematic contours.
“This is about power, about those overpowered, and this is where paradox meets”, I can’t help but think.
I think along with Lou Masduraud about the relation between my uniforms and what they entail, socio-culturally
speaking, what they might mean for me or for you.
If linguistic meaning conditions subjectivity, perhaps the way I see me will be more free, liberated from violence,
where “Long life after love” eviscerates our skeletons of their structural constraints.
All the while, light boxes advertise for dead dad DNA, a narrative lineage of sorts intertwining letters, symbols,
meaning with body and something that might be found on my chromosome, so the add suggests.
But also, DNA is Dead, so the box overts.
Dead dad DNA might hint to evidence of sorts, of past crimes, of the condemned or those who condemn.
Scientifically speaking, dead DNA is a fallacy, a chemical molecule, not really living, not really dead. Devoid
of scientific scrutiny, Gina Proenza’s choice of words might hint at the killing of something else entirely.
An intrusive thought: Kill meaning. It’s a tautology.
Philosophically speaking, I read “Dead / Dad / DNA” to be in line with a poststructuralist mode of deconstruction,
with which to deconstruct the system of meaning, in which any attempt to locate the origin of
identity or history must inevitably find itself dependent on an always-already existing set of linguistic conditions.
Thus, ontologically inherently idealistic.
I also speak of an ontological hauntology. This, too, holds a paradox, as Derridean hauntology describes an
ontological disjunction. A temporal fracture where presence (especially socially and culturally) is replaced
by a deferred non-origin.
“The opposite of the word “empty” isn’t “full”, there’s only “non-void”, a word that is defined solely by its
negation”, I think to myself when I inspect the empty shelves.
“Ghosts arrive from the past and appear in the present. At once they return and make their apparitional
debut”, I think to myself when I further inspect the emptied shelves.
They invite me to think of ghostly creaking, doors flung open, and ghostly crackling, eyes wide shut.
I think of the concept because the reference has been made in an interview with Caterina De Nicola I have
previously read, but also because of the cupboard’s uncanny nature and the re-contextualised relics-letters
on its side:
DIS – PAIR
I cannot decide whether to feel weird or to feel eerie.
Devoid of functionality, and even meaning, possibly, the objects-letters become ornaments pointing at
something else entirely: Towards despair, as suggested by the words.
Honestly speaking, there is nothing more desperate than being stuck in despair, it’s an emotion of negation as
the complete lack of euphoric vision and futurity, ultimately, defies its presence. Haunted by past meaning, possibly,
in taxidermy the preservation of the already-dead, equally and again, negates linear temporality.
A post-modernist presence, as in Caterina De Nicola’s sense, where, even though meaning’s been killed, it returns
never coming to an end.
“Despair, therefore, ironically contains the cosmic immensity of nothingness”
“Nothingness” is as much a negation as it is a contradiction because nothingness is the contradiction of existing
nothingness.
Not sure if anyone understands what I’m trying to say, but what I’m trying to say is that one can never get to the
end of meaning: words define themselves and then they are used to describe each other.
Like I will make use of words that have already been used to describe Yann Stéphane Bisso’s and Niels Trannois’
works in previous writings. I wonder if works define themselves and then they are used to describe each other…
Yann Stéphane Bisso doesn’t greet me with a shoe but with two bare feet instead, spatially isolated, seemingly
floating but in relentless forward motion. There is a bright white flower, star or symbol of something other in the
corner, spatially isolated, seemingly floating, it might mark a hybridity of sort, of space, of time and possibly
meaning, too.
On second glance, Niels Trannois greets me with a shoe too.
A black laced heel amongst other depictions of eyes, the birth of a child, might-be-letters, many more eyes, and
a peacock peeping over a wall onto something past or unforeseen.
The painting-collages seem to elude my presence, like memories or their in-betweens. Still not entirely sure
what that means or translates to, but I no longer mind as “the untranslatable is that which cannot cease to be
translated”, I paraphrase Fabian Windhager paraphrasing Barbara Cassin.
Or like memories, that, in the end, can only be recombined into allegories of a loss of meaning.
But the past seeps into the present.

And semantically speaking, losing meaning means winning some.

Antonia Truninger, 08.06.2024



Works

Lou Masduraud
Long life after love, 2022
shirt dyed with Immortelle essence, bones, shells, synthetic fabrics, cotton thread, iron
65 x 42 x 15cm
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Yann Stéphane Bisso
Domain Expansion, 2024
oil on canvas
65 x 110 x 4cm
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Niels Trannois
The late bird show (the great escape), 2024
print on fabric, paper, oil, mdf, plexiglas
121 x 87 x 10cm
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Gina Proenza
Dead / Dad / DNA, 2023
Lightbox, stickers
130 x 60 x 18cm
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Isabella Fürnkäs
Untitled from the series Insomnia drawings, 2007-ongoing
Mixed media on paper
25.5 × 17.5cm
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Niels Trannois
Steamed pearls (je suis une substance légère), 2022
Oil on laser engraved porcelain, mounted on plexiglas
40 x 30 x 4cm
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Caterina De Nicola
Despair, therefore, Ironically Contains the Cosmic Immensity of Nothingness, 2022
Black wooden cabinet, collected objects, epoxy glue 172 x 110 x 80cm
Courtesy: the artist and Baleno International
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Isabella Fürnkäs
Untitled from the series Insomnia drawings, 2007-ongoing
Mixed media on paper
25.5 × 17.5cm
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Alfatih
Untitled, 2019
Sweet potato and eggplant, motorised turntable, Video projection, live webcam feed, subtitles provided by an image recognition algorithm
Dimensions variable
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Artists


Gina Proenza (*1994, Bogota, Columbia) lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland. In her suggestive and sculptural work Proenza draws from specific narratives that blend anthropological research, ancestral tales and legends and literary influences. Her research culminates in questions of the powers of language – scientific and poetical – its transmission and its social profile. Gina mixes different media such as images, texts, found objects and sculpture, combined to playful forms and installations reminiscent of modernist sculpture and theatrical displays, through which she activates multiple scenarios, combines micro and macro stories, and proposes a space for dreamlike thinking and alternative knowledge. 

Gina Proenza has exhibited her work in a number of solo shows, including Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen (CH), CAN - Centre d’art Neuchâtel (CH), and Centre Culturel Suisse of Paris (FR). In 2024, Gina Proenza was awarded with the Manor Cultural Prize of Canton de Vaud.

Alfatih (*1995, Switzerland) lives and works in Switzerland. Alfatih has presented interactive, installation and video works in institutions and spaces such as Kora Arts Center, Castrignano (IT), Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (CH, 2021), Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg (CH, 2021), Swiss Institute, New York (US, 2023), Haus der Elektronische Kunst, Basel (CH) and Swissnex, San Francisco (US).

Lou Masduraud (*1990, Montpellier, France) lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. In her work, Lou Masduraud analyses, modifies and stages collective and normative habits in such a way as to expose the relations of power and desire that underlie them. Borrowing from the grotesque, her formal language combines sculpture and installations to create phantasmagorical worlds alternative to dominant realities. She is interested in spaces that defy convention – spaces where the normal rules do not apply, or where these rules are pushed to the extreme. Thus, Lou Masduraud’s practice forms a continuum between the social ad private spheres through its evocation of both buildings and sculptures, and their exploration of the interplay between function and decoration.

Lou Masduraud who has presented her work in monographic exhibitions such as at the Kunstraum Riehen (CH), MAMCO Geneva (CH), CAN - Centre d’art Neuchâtel (CH), La Maison Populaire Montreuil (FR), and in collective exhibitions such as Muzeum Susch (CH), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (FR), Centre d’Art Contemporain de Genève (CH), Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard (FR), Kunsthaus Hamburg (DE), Kunsthalle Basel (CH), Moscow Biennal (RU). In 2023, she was awarded with the Manor Cultural Prize of Canton of Geneva. 

Yann Stéphane Bisso (*1998, Cameroon) lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland. Bisso predominantly works with painting, sometimes merging with sculpture and installation. At the heart of his work lies painting as a media and means of exploring socio-political and historical questions of memory and identity. Drawing inspiration from the pictorial tradition of landscape painting, he creates a dreamlike universe of painterly vocabulary. Bisso holds a Master in Visual Arts from HEAD Geneva where he graduated from in 2022.

His work has been exhibited among others at Halle Nord, Geneva (CH); Espace Arlaud, Lausanne (CH); Artgenève Newheads, Geneva (CH); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Yverdon-les-Bains (CH); Centre culturel du Manoir, Cologny (CH); Kiefer Hablitzel, Basel (CH); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (CH). Bisso has had solo presentation in among others at One gee fog, Geneva (CH) and in 2024 will be showing his work in a solo booth with Helvetia at LISTE Basel (CH), at the Swiss Art Awards, Basel (CH) and at Villa du Parc, Annemasse (FR). Bisso is the recipient of the prize Bourse de la Ville Genève (2022), the Helvetia Art Prize (2023) and Laureate of Kiefer Hablitzel (2024).

Caterina De Nicola (*1991, Ortano, Italy) lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. In her practice she resorts to fiction, writing, sound and object investigations in order to shape formal and discursive patterns, by developing and analysis of symbols, motifs and their circulation in a larger cultural system. Frequently borrowing from others, Caterina De Nicola treats taste as a tool. Throughout her practice, she adopts the lens of post-modernist skepticism as a mechanism, proposing generic image-symbols to allow us to feel part of a common and undifferentiated social environment. As a DJ and producer, she is mostly affiliated with the Zürich based music label and collective Czarnagora.


Caterina De Nicola studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan and at the ECAL in Lausanne where she obtained her Master’s degree. She has presented her work in solo exhibitions amongst others at Instituto Svizerro in Milan (IT) Baleno International in Rome (IT), Last Tango in Zurich (CH), Il Colorificio in Milan (IT). A selection of her group shows include Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich (CH), Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (CH) and XVII Quadriennale d’arte 2020 in Rome (IT).

Niels Trannois (*1976, France) lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland and Marseille, France. Existing within the extended field of painting, the work of Niels Trannois can be understood as fragments of the fictional scenarios of what could happen if reality were to absent itself, the submerged side of a world in abeyance overrun by both figurative and symbolist resurgences. His artistic practice aims to suspend through a materiality of the sensible and irresolute opposition between language and sensation, narration and abstraction, emotions and representation, between that which signifies and that which, always, flees.

Niels Trannois studied Fine Arts at the Villa Arson in Nice. His work has been shown at Villa du Parc in Annemasse (FR) where, together with Jessy Razafimandimby, they started their collaboration under the name of Quintana E. Amongst other venues, he has been showing at The Grotto - Quadrado Azul Gallery in Lisbon (PT), CACY in Yverdon (CH), Kunsthalle Basel (CH), Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (CH), Supportico Lopez in Berlin (DE).

Isabella Fürnkäs (*1988, Tokyo, Japan) is a French-German artist who works in a variety of media. Her body of work involves equal shares of video, multi-media installation, performance and drawing. In her multi-layered oeuvre she addresses questions of physical and spatial intimacy, the influence of digitalization on interpersonal relationships, and the transformation of social communication patterns, whereas she creates contextual shifts that echo our own vulnerabilities. She studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Keren Cytter and Andreas Gursky, where she finished as Meisterschülerin in 2017.

Her work has been exhibited among others at Museum Folkwang, Essen (DE); KINDL - Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (DE); Kunsthaus NRW (DE); Sprengel Museum, Hannover (DE); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AUT); and Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul (KOR). Her solo exhibitions and performances were on view at Museum Moyland, Kleve (DE); Salon Acme, Mexico City (MEX); Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (DE); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AUT); Pogobar KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin (DE) and Manifesta 11, Zurich (CH). Her work is represented internationally in numerous private and public collections.



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