The works of Düsseldorf artist couple Banz & Bowinkel make virtual reality tangible.
The DAM GALLERY Berlin presents Substance, the inaugural solo exhibition of the duo
— a play on the perception of digitally created substances and surfaces.
Banz & Bowinkel, Substance
June 9 – July 29, 2017
PREVIEW: Saturday, June 17, 7 – 9 pm
“The distinction between simulation and reality is becoming increasingly difcult. We are moving towards a new
Plato's cave. At what point will we no longer be able to look behind this self-created veil?”
(Banz & Bowinkel, 2015)
We live today in an age of simulation as coined by French sociologist Jean Baudrillard. According to him,
simulation is defned as the coinciding of appearance with reality. Thus, the boundaries between fction
and reality are blurred and hyperrealism originates. In this world people no longer distinguish
between their real world or one that is artifcially created. What Baudrillard wrote in 1981 in his
book Simulacra and Simulation as a nearly apocalyptic comment appears to be real today.
The digital revolution has massively infuenced the perception of human life. It started with the computer,
now an integral part of people's social lives. Our economy, our knowledge, our data is united on the
computer and thus makes it a superpower of human culture. Over the last 70 years since Konrad Zuse
invented the frst computer, digital development overtook society so quickly that barely any time remained
to consider its dominant impact on everyday social life. It is here that Banz & Bowinkel begin their work.
In their work, the Düsseldorf artist duo focus on the computer as an every day device and its infuence on
humanity. The focus here is on the perception of the world, which people understand as reality and is now
simulated via the computer.
The solo exhibition Substance shows simulations of material things from our experiential environment
such as liquids, surfaces, materials and textures, even entire worlds which can be reconstructed on the
In the 3D print series Bodypaintings (2014–2016) and Fluids (2013), the artist duo simulates fuids and the
act of painting. The color and the fuid only become alive on the computer after detailed images of body
movements replacing the brush were recorded and rendered.
Painting itself no longer takes place in physical reality but instead becomes a virtual act.
The permeation of known reality and the immersion into that of the computer makes it possible to
experience the virtual reality installation Mercury (2017). With the assistance of VR glasses, the visitor
plunges into the space simulated by the glasses, which is quickly understood as a real space as one can
“actually” move through it.
DAM GALLERY BERLIN
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www.dam.org | HRB 90873 Charlottenburg | GF Wolfgang Lieser | DE 16174461t0
With their work, Banz & Bowinkel question the concept of simulated reality and thereby human perception
of the world in virtual space. The DAMGALLERY's accompanying programming will discuss what people
understood as a real, recognizable world and what developments will drive virtual art.
The multiple award-winning works of Giulia Bowinkel and Friedemann Banz have been exhibited at NRW
Forum Düsseldorf, the House of Electronic Arts in Basel as well as the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and
Charlottenburg in Copenhagen. DAM GALLERY will hold the inaugural solo exhibition for the artist duo.