In an assembly of artificial plants, Thomas Feuerstein cultivates organisms whose biomass, under a certain pressure and temperature, is then subjected to hydrothermal carbonation. As in a journey through time, the plant cells, in the sculpture entitled FUTUR II, within a few hours are turned into coal, a transformation that ordinarily would take millions of years. What is being produced here is coal for art.
The sculptures, pictures and drawings created with this coal on their part set in motion pataphysical cycles of production, both of meanings and possibilities, that dissolve distinctions between nature and culture, past and future.
Besides the self-produced coal, the exhibition includes sculptures made of old anthracite coal: a typewriter, a cylinder head, a sewing machine, a microscope, and a number of books. These objects are still familiar to us, yet at the same time they belong to a bygone era.
The distinctions between nature and culture, past and future begin to overlap in FUTUR II, creating a situation that moves processes and transformations to the foreground. The unique thing about Feuerstein’s work is his approach to materials. They were not chosen accidentally or pragmatically, but tell stories on a molecular level. The separation between content and material is abolished, becoming a characteristic aspect of his art. For him, the materials are bearers of meaning and media for transmutation. Light and photosynthesis become algae, algae become coal, and the coal becomes drawings. In this sense, the exhibition creates a landscape and a laboratory of languages and objects in which processes of biology, chemistry, and science fiction overlap and mix with social scenarios.
About Thomas Feuerstein
Austrian, b. 1968