Mak2 “Love Pool” at Peres Projects, Berlin

By Last Updated: March 28, 2023Views: 563

A community of neon-lit swimming swimming pools serves because the backdrop to Mak2’s “Love Pool.” Within the triptychs that make up the majority of the exhibition lovers sit and stand, pixelated on the poolside. Some stare off into house, seemingly disillusioned with the atmosphere. An absurd humor underpins these reflections of recent domesticity and romantic love. The rooms and figures seem interchangeable, forming a posh of representations analogous to the digital terrain of relationship apps, locations that purport to be factors of intimacy however typically go away their customers wanting. By way of skylights and home windows the Hong Kong skyline friends into the house, a continuing reminder of the work’s underlying motivation: to discover a dwelling for creative expression in a crowded metropolis.

When Mak2 was provided a large-scale exhibition in 2019, she was residing and dealing in a small room in her dad and mom dwelling, tear gasoline from the Hong Kong protests leaking in via the window. On this claustrophobic atmosphere, she got here up with an answer that makes use of the abundance of house in a life simulation sport known as The Sims. Launched initially of the millennium, The Sims preempted a primary human need that may go more and more unmet. As a worldwide housing disaster took maintain over the next many years, the sport maintained an alternate actuality that provided gamers respectable profession prospects and even the potential for dwelling possession (for his or her Sims). It was this need for house that led to the conception of Mak2’s in depth mission, Dwelling Candy Dwelling, of which “Love Pool” is a sub-series. The mission sees Mak2 infiltrate the world of e-commerce and, through an unorthodox chain of manufacturing, carry digital house into tangible house. Creating and screenshotting scenes in her digitally generated model of Hong Kong on The Sims, she then divides the scenes into thirds and sends every third to a unique e-commerce artist to be drawn or painted. As soon as pieced collectively within the gallery, the sections by no means fairly match up, their slight misalignment testifying the works fractured manufacturing course of. The result’s a group of disorientating triptychs that try to imitate modern life however as an alternative copy a simulated perversion of actuality. Additional to this, in “Love Pool,” every painted triptych has a smaller pencil drawing model. Satirically containing “RAW” of their titles, these pencil works pose as preliminary sketches when in truth they’re the newest iteration of a simulated scene.

These deceptive channels of replica categorical the concepts of thinker Jean Baudrillard who described modern society as a simulation made up of representations to this point faraway from their authentic that they now not check with something actual. By way of her personal participation, Mak2 reveals these absurdities throughout the world market and the way simply a picture can change into alienated from actuality via its strains of manufacturing. In “Love Pool,” an obvious collage of Hong Kongese interiors reveals itself as a montage of unusable, hyper-real rooms the place objects and figures are positioned and iterated for his or her aesthetic or comedic worth fairly than their perform. The quite a few swimming pools and arches in “Love Pool” enable Mak2 to put characters in frames inside frames, creating an inside segmentation that alludes to the phenomena of a world consumed through screens. We glimpse simply the sides of interactions via arched doorways; legs dangle lazily over arm rests; blurred out {couples} embrace in sectioned-off rooms. These partially hidden encounters convey a way that, if the simulation had been allowed to run, one could be aware of the main points of those moments. Because it stands, intimacy is at all times obscured, pixelated or held at a distance pointing to a rising propensity in the direction of concealment in even our intimate on-line relationships. In these rooms, the viewer takes on the position of surveyor, monitoring the Sims conduct and curious to know extra.

The exhibition’s set up work, SFW, an abbreviation for “Protected For Work,” consists of a pool of Rubik’s cubes which visually mirror a pixelated Sim physique, and offers with on-line surveillance and privateness. Mak2 pokes enjoyable on the absurdity of concealment within the digital realm the place each transfer we make is unavoidably mapped, gathered and bought. If the information collected as we use relationship apps harvest a extra sincere image of ourselves than our curated profiles, what do our on-line photographs check with if not us? In Simulacra and Simulation, Baudrillard expresses the price of trying to reply this query: “it’s harmful to unmask photographs, since they dissimulate the truth that there’s nothing behind them.” As Mak2 exposes the absurdities of up to date tradition, she seeks reality, not within the which means behind its photographs, however as an alternative within the processes that underpin them, their advanced manufacturing histories, and the contradictions that come up in our seek for intimacy in these image-centered areas.

at Peres Tasks, Berlin
till April 21, 2023

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