Amanda Wieczorek: Detroit, 24 Sep 2016 — 23 Oct 2016

Amanda Wieczorek: Detroit

Amanda Wieczorek in the works for her exhibition “Detroit” creates a speculative vision, constructed from objects of desire – bodies, buildings, sights – proposing a reconstruction of devastated cities, and a new order, sanctified by porn icons. The spaces produced do not so much reverse the process of destruction as make possible a rebirth from the ruins through a search for symmetry, a bearing point for the experienced entropy. Wieczorek presents a constellation of objects suffused both with personal and social meanings. Detroit, her place of origin, has presently become a fetishized heterotopia, as it transformed, in the 21st century, from the American dream of industrialisation into a bankrupt, ghost city. The devastated buildings in her works specify symmetry axes, hybridising into body parts. The cut-out body parts appear to be as pornographic as the inhumane architectural structures. Both blend into one at the level of formal execution and cultural fetishisation of natural factors: patination, corrosion, devastation. The artist claims that Detroit has ceased to function as her familiar space and surfaces as a social phenomenon: ruin porn. Nowadays, particularly in social media, the ‘porn’ hashtag ceases to function as an element of inferior culture, becoming a sanctification of an event of desire. Pictures of food tagged with #foodporn transform an object into a spectacle for ocular consumption; by embodying a gluttony-glorifying desire, they are a kind of represented prey. What then is ‘ruin porn’? Photography of an inaccessible, intimate space. An embodiment of freedom of destruction, since the abandoned buildings let us do everything we want, take everything, and feel the thrill of trespassing on the limits of private property. The artist depicts affectively charged spaces. Buildings regarded as mere architectural curiosities constitute for Wieczorek a reservoir of personal experience. The vulnerable, denuded constructions, collapsing and decomposing before our eyes, become almost identical objects to bodies in pornographic photographs. Their combination in Wieczorek’s works demonstrates the economy of contemporary desire, bringing about the realisation that what we desire is neither unique, nor exclusively ours. City ruins are not used here to deconstruct social issues related to industrialisation, capitalism, economics, which in fact turn a private space into a remembered place by means of a mere exemplum or a metaphor, amounting to a kind of intellectual exploitation. Wieczorek does not claim any right to these spaces, writing: “our desires are not our own, they belong so someone else”.

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