ATTEMPTS TO BE MANY

Nara Bak, Jana Buch, Donja Nasseri, Anys Reimann, Arisa Purkpong, Theresa Weber

30.10.2021 - 23.01.2022

Collage is fed by the omnipresence of visual material being produced by contemporary society. Fragments taken from this ubiquitous circulation are juxtaposed and overlapped and thus detached from ascribed meaning, carrying them over into new contexts that permit hybrid interpretations. Similar to the practices of sampling and mashup (in music), collage techniques incorporate pre-existing elements from different, unknown, sometimes antagonistic sources and mark a process-based approach conceived to unify associative and concrete meanings and allow for alternative readings.
Especially in times of conflict and social upheaval, collage unfolds its emancipatory potential; it allows artists to visualize contradictions and emphasize the expanded variety of possible readings. The use of easily accessible and freely circulating materials from magazines or digital content from the internet often alludes to underlying political, activist and economic motives. Based on a transcendence of boundaries, they become objects of (re)presentation.

With regard to questions on cultural identity and the way we perceive ourselves, collage is a suitable method for shifting notions of identity from ideologically one- dimensional perceptions and rigid attributions towards dynamic, ongoing processes of (self-)discovery. The works shown in Attempts to be Many address the plurality of identities, revise historical assumptions and thereby enable the retelling of body tales (Körpererzählungen) and learned narratives. Subversive additions to, as well as reformulations and recontextualizations of images, symbols and narratives representative of a hierarchical society (Dominanzgesellschaft) emerge in the process. The works exhibited in the Philara Collection navigate a series of complex questions concerning identity and community.