During the heavy spring rains of 1769 the two watchers kept a sharp eye on the steep river-bank to see if any subterrane secrets might be washed to light, and were rewarded by the sight of a profusion of both human and animalbones in places where deep gullies had been worn in the banks.
H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, 1927
Exhibition by Michael Wutz
1 May – 26 June 2015
Michael Wutz’s approach to landscape is shaped by his interest in archeology, anthropology and geomorphology. He views landscape not as a static form or surface but as embedded within a permanent transformation process.
For Anatomy of a Landscape Wutz has borrowed from imagery familiar to us from academic textbooks and museum presentation panels. He has interlaced timelines of geology and of cultural history with the intellectual history of (post-)modern times using the evolutionary phases of scientific illustration as way markers. Weaving these and other timelines together visually places historic classification systems within a new construct. Research itself—and therefore its history—become subjects of classification and therefore critical examination.
In a further approach that incorporates graphic reproduction, an award-winning medium for the artist, Wutz draws geological/archeological subject matter on metal plates in illustrative styles that correspond to specific periods in art and illustration history. The plates are then submitted to a unique etching process that uses a continual flow of acid, thereby simulating natural erosive processes. These landscape models will be used to create new graphic works that reflect the exhibition’s transformative etching process. The results will be included in a portfolio of graphic works available for purchase through SATELLITE BERLIN.
The exhibition will begin with a hypothesis and an installation that is both experiment and museum diorama. This hybrid model of a landscape will be accompanied by archeological documents in a setting reminiscent of a natural history museum. Wutz’s referencing and manipulation of institutional imagery, archeological documents and historical errors challenges our notions of scientific discovery and speculation, reality and fiction. An artist book will be published in the guise of a scientific journal dedicated to a fictive amateur archeologist and his controversial findings.
German artist Michael Wutz’s (*1979, Ichenhausen) fascination with anthropology and archaeology is not in conflict with his mining of fantastic literature. Indeed, they unite his interest in such universal themes as “what is fact and what fiction?”which he explores in a range of media that incorporates drawing, etching and film. Wutz studied at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. He has had solo exhibitions at Aurel Scheibler in Berlin, Galerie Klaus Gerrit Friese in Stuttgart and at the Horst Janssen Museum in Oldenburg. Wutz was a recipient of the EHF Konrad Adenauer Award in 2013 and in 2011 won the Horst Janssen Award for Graphic Arts, Germany's most prestigious award for this medium. He was awarded first prize for his work at the Graphic Triennial in Brunssum (NL) in 2009. His video “Tales, Lies and Exaggerations” was part of Art Basel's curated Art Film program in 2010. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently “Proof It!” at the Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Berlin Heist/4 mediations Biennale in Berlin/Poznan, “Rohkunstbau” in Brandenburg and the “IVth Moscow International Biennale for Young Art.”
The multi-phased, circular burial site at R, 2015
Collage, fineliner, acrylic on paper on MDF, 40 x 40 cm
Untitled, 2014, india ink on paper, 20 x 40 cm