Ben Schumacher

With the assistance of a team of divers, Ben Schumacher removed 100 meters of disused telegraph cables from the Black Sea. Cured in an electrolysis bath, this cable became the aesthetic and conceptual starting point for his sprawling sculptural installation. Interwoven by a heavily frayed yellow and black rope the artist has created a series of vignettes. Elements such as a hand-moulded clay chicken, a natural gas cylinder, and piles of wheat grain share space with sections of the cable itself presented in boxes and baskets and an image of the ship that recovered the cable. In this idiosyncratic illustration of the telegraph network. Schumacher presents the materials that made the transfer of electronic information in the 19th century possible and in doing so points to the ongoing interdependency of computer science and physical science today.

In one particular tableau, a shade awning inscribed with the word ‘’Kablo’ (cable)’ and drawings of a sheath of wheat morphing into a cable are captioned with a lyric by folk musician Stan Rogers – ‘He could smell the Flowers of Bermuda in the gale when he died on the North Rock Shoal… The captain, drowned, was tangled in the mizzen chains, Smiling bravely beneath the sea.” ‘On the side of a nearby tin of olive oil is a black and white image of a ship anchor, its gigantic ballast and chain a glimpse into the sublime machineries of the past. The vast and resource-intensive machineries behind present-day digital technologies are often obscured by their dispersed, networked structure. Schumacher’s work excavates from the depths a moment in history in which the apparatus of long-distance communication was both conspicuous and monolithic.

 

Ben Schumacher (b. 1985, Kitchener) is an artist living and working in New York. He received his MA in Fine Arts from New York University, New York and his BA in Architecture from University of Waterloo, Ontario. Selected solo exhibitions include Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2017; Croy Nielsen, Vienna, 2017; La Biennale de Montréal, 2017; Johan Berggren, Malmö, 2016; Hanna Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016; Bortolami Gallery, New York, 2015; Love Affair, New York, 2015; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, 2014; Croy Nielsen, Berlin, 2013; Sculpture Center, New York, 2011; Galerie Desaga, Cologne, 2011. Recent group shows include Montréal Biennial, Montréal, 2016; ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2016; Patrick Seguin, Paris, 2016; 13th Fellbach Small Sculpture Triennial, Fellbach, 2016; Lisson Gallery, London, 2015; William Arnold, New York, 2015; Palácio das Artes, Portugal, 2014; Croy Nielsen, Berlin, 2014; SWG3, Glasgow, 2014; Futura & SVIT, Prague, 2014; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014; MOCA, North Miami, 2013; Tanya Leighton, Berlin, 2013.

 

Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm
Gluten and Bondage, 2014
under-sea telegraph and fiber optic cable, foam, cardboard, mixed media
49 x 28.5 x 10 cm