Just for the fun of it? „bara gaman“ in the KWS Art Lounge NEWCOMER

Einbeck, 21. März 2022

Is everything on display at the KWS Art Lounge in Tiedexer Straße in Einbeck just for the fun of it? The title of conceptual artist Philipp Valenta’s exhibition suggests this, since „bara gaman“ is Icelandic and means „all fun“. Since his Goethe institute residency in Iceland, Philipp Valenta has been researching the relationship between economy and ecology, is analysing and questioning crucial phenomena and processes which partly have an impact beyond the borders of the nation. In his multimedia and expansive works, Valenta succeeds in translating these frictions, oddities and problems into images and sounds. The ostensibly humorous title of the exhibition is interpreted fatalistically and shows that not everything is „bara gaman – just fun“ indeed.

On March 25 from 5 p.m. visitors can meet the artist and watch the artist talk „Stoeber meets Valenta in the KWS Art Workshop“ on video.

Board member Peter Hofmann’s visit and his opening message can be seen via video on the KWS Art homepage.

Sulfur fumarole on Iceland

Sulfur fumarole on Iceland: Pústkerfi
Image author: Philipp Valenta; Image usage: Use with source reference permitted for editorial contributions via KWS. Commercial distribution to third parties is not permitted.

In the first room of the NEWCOMER gallery, the artist's installation "Electric Landscape" depicts an abstract Icelandic landscape with the components lava and wind: rock crystals from various lava eruptions (including those of the well-known Eyiafiallajökull of 2010) lie on slices of basalt columns. By means of galvanic copper plating, the lava rocks are part of an electric circuit that drives three PC fans. This installation alludes to the cooling in Icelandic processor and bitcoin farms.

In the second, dark room, many small herring made of aluminum are presented on the wall as a shoal: a reference to the síldarævintýri, or "herring adventure," that characterized Iceland until 1968 and made of the material of Iceland's new industry, which may one day be called "aluminum adventure." The work connects the problems of fishing, which was banned in 1968, with the subsequently propagated aluminum smelting: for this, aluminum companies were enlisted which benefitted from the cheap energy costs in Iceland. And if you look closely, you will see that the herring are actually codfish, formed after the cod on the Icelandic one-krona coin.

Correspondingly, the work „Potline“ is shown in the same room: The drawings, to be understood as graphic sheet music, show the abstracted outlines of the four Icelandic aluminum smelters in chronological order. The last smelter, prevented by population resistance and thus unfinished, is a kind of conclusion to this episode of Icelandic economic history, both graphically and economically. Also in this room, the video "Pustekerfi" (translated: exhaust) with sulfur fumaroles in the high-temperature area of Hverir in Iceland is shown; here Philipp Valenta opens a window to Iceland for viewers to "immerse themselves in feeling the landscape," as he says.

For a global plant collection of a different kind, Philipp Valenta has collected old and circulating banknotes for the "Herbarium" series, dissected the flowers and prepared them in frames. The artist uses a means of payment, where counterfeit money is called "Blüten" (blossoms), but presents it far beyond the value product and opens new cultural-historical levels.

Red dots in art exhibitions symbolize sold works. "Being A Successful Artist" features a red dot of pigment ink on white canvas. A work that addresses "sales" as a common factor in assessing an artist's success. The red dot at NEWCOMER is part of a series that Philipp Valenta has now placed in over 30 museums, foundations, and corporate collections in Germany and Europe, and is intended to symbolize the value of the individual work and, equally, the value of the artist at large. Each of the works has been specifically tailored to the wishes, needs and circumstances of the client or exhibition. In a while, the artist plans to reunite all the existing works of the series in an exhibition.

Philipp Valenta was born in Hattingen in 1987. He studied fine arts with Prof. Norbert Hinterberger and Prof. Elfi Fröhlich at the Bauhaus University Weimar. He completed a master's degree in metal design at the HAWK Hildesheim University of Applied Sciences with Prof. Georg Dobler in 2017. From 2011 to the present, Philipp Valenta has had numerous solo and collective exhibitions as well as residency fellowships, which give him the possibility to constantly development his artistic work further. For example, in 2018/2019 he was a master student with Prof. Thomas Rentmeister at the HBK Braunschweig.

Visitors are cordially invited on 25 March 2022 from 5 p.m., to meet the artist in his exhibition. Around 5.30 p.m., the film of the artist talk "Stoeber meets Valenta at the KWS Art Workshop" will be shown for the first time.

A catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition and will be available at the KWS Art Lounge NEWCOMER on Tiedexer Strasse.

The exhibition will be on display at NEWCOMER until April 16, 2022. Open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"bara gaman" - Philipp Valenta

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