Works from the exhibition ’Hands On’ curated by Peles Empire
For ‘Hands On’ Peles Empire invited five artist to present work within their installation at The Moving Museum Istanbul’s headquarters at Caferiye Han. As a backdrop to the exhibition they produced a wallpaper featuring a black and white image – a marble desk with table clock and inkwell stands in front of ornate wooden shelves. The image – elements of which have been used in the duo’s previous work – is not taken directly from Peles Castle, their primary source and eponymous subject. It is instead the result of the artists’ enigmatic restagings in which they contrast the Romanian museum’s highly decorative interiors and furnishings with modern design and the starkness of the white cube. This paper thin photographic ‘skin’ follows the lines of the room, fitted to its height and length and around its electrical outlets, windows, doorways and ribbed ceiling.
The selection of works in ‘Hands On ‘stems from the duo’s research into the Peles Castle’s oriental rooms and the past and present architectures of Istanbul. Sidney Mueller’s ‘Insomnia (the Crimson King)’, 2013/14, a hammock strung from only one end approximates a dreamcatcher as it holds 5000 Euro notes and silver belts. Maria Loboda displays a falconry glove in a similarly disembodied manner in ‘A phenomenon which I have often noticed’, 2013 appending it with leather tassels. Engaging the body directly, Magali Reus’ HD video loop ‘Highly Liquid’, 2013 shows a drenched nude, focussing on the droplets that coat the figure’s skin. In Daniel Sinsel’s ‘Untitled’, 2014 terracotta fingers protrude from a surface of wood tar and linen, the tar appearing to have been applied by hand itself. Phillip Zach’s ‘I have never been here, you have never seen me’, 2014, in between an abstract sculpture and the detritus of abandoned repairs, comprises a collection of painted and fabric covered outboard motors and empty cable reels.
At the The Moving Museum’s final exhibition at Şişhane Otopark the duo presented a sculpture composed of digital prints and white concrete with pigments. Produced by folding the wallpaper from ‘Hands On’ before engulfing it in expanded foam, the final object had the appearance of a rinded cheese that had been cut apart. Its abstract cross-sections exposed fractured and obscured images, distant from both the sumptuous ethnographic interiors of Peles Castle and Caferiye Han’s bare walls. These objects sat atop an image taken of their wallpaper’ ‘in the process of being removed, in which the original photographic image – its surface torn and mangled – and the exhibition space’s white walls and ribbed ceiling were visible in equal parts. As a fluid collaborative force Peles Empire has previously functioned as an exhibition space, salon and bar. ‘IT ‘and ‘Hands On’ embrace adaptivity and flux in a similar manner, hinting at historic and geographic origins while incorporating entropal processes of distribution and installation.
Peles Empire is an artist duo, Katharina Stöver (b. 1982, Gießen) and Barbara Wolff (b. 1980, Fogaras), based in Berlin. The two artists studied at Städelschule, Frankfurt (in the class of Wolfgang Tillmans and Michael Krebber), Slade School of Fine Arts, London and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Selected solo exhibitions include Kunstverein Kassel, 2017; Wentrup, Berlin, 2016; PRO/NUM, London, 2015; ten pm, Copenhagen, 2015; Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen, 2015; Salts, Birsfelden, 2015; Art Cologne, 2015; Wentrup, Berlin, 2014; Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst GAK Bremen, 2014; The Schtip, Sheffield, 2013; Glasgow Sculpture Studios, 2013; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, 2013 Cell Project Space, London, 2013;. Recent group shows include Skulptur Projekte, Münster, 2017; Sprengel Museum, Kunstverein Hannover, 2017; CARBON 12, Dubai, 2016; BFI, Miami, 2015; Koppe Astner, Glasgow, 2015; Kunstwerke Berlin, 2015; Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2015; Millington Marriot, London, 2015; Hollybush Gardens, London, 2015; Peles Empire received the Scholarship Stiftung Kunstfonds in 2016 and the Kunststiftung Baden Württemberg in 2013.