The contemporary tendency toward abstraction fuels our need for the concrete: as our world becomes increasingly complex each day, our desire for a sensual experience grows. When we think of interfaces, we think of a way to access digital ephemera through screens and simulacra. But isn’t every surface an interface and every interface a surface? With Surface as Interface as Surface, Carbon 12 puts the materiality back on the map and chops the meta from the physics. New works from the gallery’s artists André Butzer, Bernhard Buhmann and Ralf Ziervogel are shown together for the first time in Dubai along with works by Gregor Hildebrandt, Peles Empire, Jessica Mein, Thomas Arnolds and Mohammed Kazem.
The range of material in the presented works breaks the frame of our classical understanding of two-dimensional practices: Hildebrandt glues video-tapes directly upon the surface in his works while Kazem scratches soundwaves directly on to paper. Both artists create synaesthetic investigations into the analogue, capturing echoes from the past and preserving their memories for a possible future. Mein uses the physical aspects of surface and structure to make her abstract images. Meanwhile, Empire uses literary sources to map out urban territory—the similarity in their works lies in the quality of visualizing complex connections.
The mundanity of putting paint on canvas becomes a literal material matter in the works of Buhmann, Ziervogel, Butzer and Arnolds. The moment where the material begins to speak a voice on its own oscillates between the point of total abstraction and material reality. In different layers, all of the four artists create dialogues between artist, work and viewer: the surfaces of the physical objects reflect not only their physical (redundant) material quality, but they indeed create narratives on their own. Whether it be Butzer’s series showing a radical visual reduction to point zero, Buhmann’s work of lyrical plays with formal romanticism, or Arnolds’ and Ziervogel’s challenging the limits of abstraction and perception simultaneously—it is the material that matters because the matters
Seen through this lens, every picture is an image and every image is intentional. Every material has a function and every function incorporates ideology: the surface becomes the interface; the interface becomes the surface. Surface as Interface as Surface marks a turn in the contemporary approach toward material. The essential substances and elements are released from their conceptual cages and are freed from being purely mediating aspects.