Up in the Sky
Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zurich, CH, 2017
Works on show:
286 Rules of Acquisition, 2017, edition 5 + 1AP, HD video loop with sound, 00:28:25 h
& Jay-Z sings us a song, 2017, edition 3 + 1AP, Lightbox, black acrylic glass, 38 × 125 × 18 cm
M-Maybe, 2016/17, Comics, framed, Series of 17 parts
Drei nackte Frauen: Marx, Lenin, Mao, 2017, edition 3 + 1AP each, bronze 29 × 6 × 7 cm each
The German dramatist Heiner Müller put it thus: “The universe of ideas is spent, only markets remain”, describing an unbearable emptiness. Müller’s simple formula is: “Capitalism makes us tired of life”. Coca-Cola, comic books, pop music – therein lay a feeling, or a promise, of a lighter, freer life. From a current-day perspective things look changed. The makers of the American cartoon series ‘The Simpsons’ demonstrated visionary skills 17 years ago, when they caricatured Donald Trump as US President. Fiction became reality, popular culture and real life unite. Pop is no longer lightness, it leads instead to a new form of bondage. Sebastian Utzni views his exhibition as a work about the work in contrast to reality. In a new art context comics, Barbie bodies, lyrics and sci-fi characters cross the boundary into our reality. Utzni is interested in points where pop and real events meet. Everything is charged with fiction, while on the other hand visions, thoughts and events are worked through in fiction.
The series M-Maybe is based on a collection of comics from the 70s – 90s which seem to anticipate the destruction of the World Trade Center. The attack in 2001, known as 9/11, had far-reaching consequences and left a deep impression in our reality.
“I just want a Picasso, in my casa. No, my castle. I‘m a hassa, no I‘m an asshole. I‘m never satisfied, can‘t knock my hustle […]”. Dark clouds gather, as they do in Utzni’s work & Jay-Z sings us a song. Above visitors’ heads the lyrics of Jay-Z’s song Picasso Baby flow along a ticker screen encased in a black cloud.
In the HD video 286 Rules of Acquisition Utzni works with a system of rules from the Ferengi, an ultra-capitalist race from the Star Trek TV seris. Capitalism is a religion to which everything else is subordinate. The visitor is presented the principles of action, like a mantra, by a 3D Ferengi-character.
Drei nackte Frauen: Mao, Marx, Lenin (Three Naked Women: Mao, Marx, Lenin) are bronze sculptures collaged, or sampled, from Barbie bodies and the heads of the three thinkers Mao, Marx and Lenin. Trophy-like they thus enter Sebastian Utzni’s pop heaven.