East Contemporary

NON Berlin “Dual Use”

Berlin, January 20 – February 11, 2017, http://www.nonberlin.com

The exhibition, curated by Ido Shin, contained 4 video-based artworks by 4 artists: Akim, Chan Sook Choi, Fabian Bechtle and Konrad Mühe. The title of the show remained a bit mysterious. I connected “dual use” in my mind with materials, appliances or infrastructure that serves more than one purpose. Yet the common denominator of the artworks I saw in the exhibition was the presence of hands and the body. In three works, hands featured very prominently as the main actors, and in the fourth work there was a body of an old Korean auntie sitting on a Korean-style heated floor and rather incoherently blabbering something (Chan Sook Choi), a warm body that necessarily contained a pair of hands too. In the other artworks, the hands in the videos were doing something, but the exact meaning remained obscured. Only in the artwork with an image of a Lenin head, which was juxtaposed with a video of a Thai auntie giving a massage to a stone head (Fabian Bechtle), I managed to trace a poetic relationship hinting at an underlying narrative.

The presence of hands, their movement and warmth was a strong expressive element of the show. The hands ability to attract attention overpowered the verbal expression present in one of the videos and any other image-material relations. Yet the hands themselves were not able to bring across a message that could provide a key to the show as a whole and neither did so the short curatorial statement. An untapped potential remained.

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