Until September 9th, the newly initiated series “Room D: Digital Projects” will give insights into the practice of young positions on media art. Following the rhythm of contemporary transfer of information, this rather fast-paced format will be arranged in a quicker measure than the usual exhibition cycle. In a free succession and quite spontaneously, recent works and videos of young, innovative local, as well as international artists, are being presented.
The starting point of “Room D: Digital Projects” constitutes the “Küchenstück” (Kitchen Piece) (2017) by Malte Bruns. The initial contact with Bruns’ works quickly leads to a feeling of unsettledness. A variety of severed heads and limbs can be found in his sculptures, videos and installations. They seem to have emerged right out of the test-tubes from laboratories for genetic engineering. Or do these disfigured creatures originate from the prop rooms of horror movies? Does Bruns aim at countering the current omnipresent digital image manipulation with a little ‘authenticity’?
Malte Bruns’ “body parts” deliberately balk at the functionality and the aesthetics of the medical prosthesis industry. The videos of the artist quickly show that his creatures ⎯or even their parts⎯have an uncontrollable life of their own, beyond any comprehensible and goal-orientated course of action. Often there are just minimal movements or slight convulsions, similar to a tremor (lat. tremere: to quiver) ⎯an involuntary contraction of antagonistic muscle groups. Caught in the tension between genetics and robotics, Bruns’ creatures are not willing to commit to being anything definite. But they point to a life “beyond the human”, as it is explored by the Italian philosopher Rosi Braidotti in her book “The Posthuman”. According to its advocates, the optimization of human beings by way of reproductive medicine, prosthesis technology and neuroscience has a wide range of promises to offer. In Malte Bruns’ works, the uncanny that always resonates with artificially created and simulated life, is clearly palpable.
Because of its title, the “Küchenstück” puts Bruns in the tradition of Dutch painting of the 15th century. However, it does not show a conventional domestic scene, this “Küchenstück” oscillates between conservation⎯if one would like to interpret the substance at the bottom right corner as salt⎯and the questionable pursuit of the creation of an optimized life by way of biotechnological processes.
Malte Bruns (*1984 in Bielefeld, lives in Düsseldorf) studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He finished his studies as “Meisterschüler” of Georg Herold at the Art Academy Düsseldorf in 2014. In 2017, KIT – Kunst im Tunnel showed Bruns’ works in a comprehensive solo exhibition. He took part in group exhibitions like “Grim Tales”, 2017, Cassina Projects, New York, and “The One Minutes: The Pack – Impressions from OUR Family”, 2016, EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam. He was on the short list of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award.