Josh Lilley is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in London for Austrian sculptor Sarah Pichlkostner.
Pichlkostner’s work during her 2014-2016 residency at De Ateliers was an exercise in personal isolation and a prolonged communion with the character of materials. Optimisation and streamlining of technology became a fixation, and Pichlkostner combined effortless contemporary methods with laborious and outmoded fabrication techniques to provoke her materials to do more. With a suite of works that breathed between the wrought, the found and the invisible, Pichlkostner recreated these laboratory-like studio conditions for the first time in Relax Like a Pro: 5 Steps to Hacking Your Sleep, the artist’s solo presentation for Josh Lilley at Fiac 2015 in Paris.
A glass tube is eternal and fleet: silicate heated to liquid, blown once, and allowed to harden in its preferred molecular form. Silver nitrate reacts inside, enacting a seamless transformation from transparent to opaque. When a new kind of heat is applied the violent degradation of that silver introduced the jagged, imperfect and vulnerable. Pichlkostner investigated materials’ performance in order to consider their potential—how much they could say, what tone they could take, when they were at their most efficient, and what ‘efficiency’ itself means. The scientific, the mechanical and the emotional were all in play, accelerating.
There came a point in this period, according to Pichlkostner, when the subject/object system crashed. Her role as the person in charge subsided the longer she listened to the materials and let them perform. The artist and her objects were fully optimised, operating beyond the traditional relationship of the maker and the made.
For Kay calls all the time in other words fly me to the moon, Pichlkostner considers the power of this optimised practice, and how to harness or unify it. Having been pushed to their limits, all the elements—subject, object and space—speak clearly of their conditions. And if everything is speaking clearly, why not sing, and sing in chorus? Why not share a fiction, and tell a wild story together? “Fly me to the moon / And let me play among the stars.” Once we own who we are, Pichlkostner suggests, we may work together on a journey to a space beyond the material.