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Abject Manifest

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Gallery: l'étrangère

Artist: Filip Berendt

Online exhibition: 30 April - 30 May 2020

Homo Sapiens is a pandemic for this planet, and maybe even for other planets in the future. ~ Filip Berendt

In 2009 Filip Berendt completed a series of photographs of mould structures grown and painstakingly manipulated in his Warsaw studio. Over ten years before Coronavirus, Berendt titled the series Pandemic.

Now, in the middle of the global crisis, l'étrangère gallery, London launches its new digital viewing platform by revisiting Berendt's work in
order to ask: what happens to art in the face of catastrophe?
Fo... more >>
Online exhibition: 30 April - 30 May 2020

Homo Sapiens is a pandemic for this planet, and maybe even for other planets in the future. ~ Filip Berendt

In 2009 Filip Berendt completed a series of photographs of mould structures grown and painstakingly manipulated in his Warsaw studio. Over ten years before Coronavirus, Berendt titled the series Pandemic.

Now, in the middle of the global crisis, l'étrangère gallery, London launches its new digital viewing platform by revisiting Berendt's work in
order to ask: what happens to art in the face of catastrophe?
Formally influenced by Matter painting – especially those mixed-media works produced during Poland’s political “thaw” in the 1960s – Berendt's medium-format photographs revel in the aesthetics of the abject: grimy smears, stray hairs, and a multitude of textured marks that bely the flat finish of the printed photograph, or its digital reproduction on the screen of a laptop or smartphone.
The eleven photographs of Berendt's Pandemic series oscillate between abstraction and symbolism, and from everyday absurdities (a mouldy old orange or the hairs you might fish from the plughole) to grand narratives of civilisation and collapse.
For Berendt, the inspiration for the series were images of satellite views of cities at night.
When I looked at these kinds of images (…) it occurred to me that human civilisation looks like mould on the earth. (…) Mould is also of course quite symbolic because it combines life and death in one material. That’s simplistic but it’s true. Mould never stops – it’s an ongoing process of growth and decay. Only photography can freeze mould in a moment exactly as I want.~ Filip Berendt

Berendt, who has graduated from the Royal College of Art, London (2011), the Academy of
Fine Arts, Lodz (2005), and the Academy of Fine Arts, Gdansk (2001), works across
painting, photography, mixed media, and sculpture. Pandemic has never been exhibited
outside Poland before.


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