Thursday, 14 April 2011

Bettina Buck

Bettina Buck (born 1974, Cologne) studied at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne before completing an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London. She was recently selected as one of twenty-five young artists for Art Cologne’s New Positions. Recently she has exhibited in Proposal (Nacht und Träume) for Stavanger, curated by Vincent HonorĂ©, and with Sara Barker in Bettina Buck invites… at Mirko Mayer Gallery, Cologne.

"A figure stumbles across a tufted cliff-top field. She is abandoned in her Sisyphean task of dragging a dense bluish foam monolith, half-bleached yellow by the sun and storeroom-neglect, across a grassy terrain. The video is looped, her task endless. Her travails might be read as allegorical, for they appear otherwise without purpose: the foam is being taken nowhere, and its ungainliness appears designed specifically to impede the protagonist (performed by Bettina Buck herself) from making headway. This is the lot of the artist: the physical labour; the perverse logic of forcing mute objects into relational forms; the unwieldiness of interpretation…

…Like an homage to the wobbly inconsistency of home-movies, Interlude welcomes visual erratum. The horizon bounces up and down with the extreme zoom and lack of steady-cam technology; the air is electric with a tinnitus whistling that denotes audio-overload in the camera’s microphone. In fact, these elements are all quite deliberate. The sound levels have been post-processed to a steady cyclonic buzz, and that quivering zoom is carefully utilized to capture moments of gentle absurdity (in one scene, a kindly stranger carries her load, a dog running alongside them bucolically). Also, it recalls the edginess of her location on a cliff-edge and the imperative of gravity (the sky here plummets straight to the sea and her sculptural burden slumps  towards horizontality)...

... Buck’s works forever threaten to fall over in front of us, on us, or after we have left the gallery. The challenge is to feel relaxed about the mutability of such objects. After all, should the edifice collapse, we could simply learn to appreciate it anew – sit on its newly horizontal bulk or pick it up and trudge onwards, like the protagonist in Interlude."

Extract from Interlude by Colin Perry

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