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01.06.18 - 01.09.18

How do we navigate in a globalized world dominated by increasing borders?

This year’s Summer exhibition Border Matters at CCA Andratx starring Susanne Rottenbacher and Claus Rottenbacher, reveals itself as a theatrical stage where historical as well as contemporary border issues await the beholder with hesitance. Through their use of light as a common medium, the two German artists lay their focus within the intangible borders, whether it is the geopolitical tension in Gibraltar or the sensorial perception of bodily presence in space. Border Matters is a reflection on current conceptions of borders, both physically and conceptually approached from different perspectives confronting the liminality of anticipation.

The present exhibition comprises two individual projects:

On the one hand, the photographic series Non Plus Ultra by Claus Rottenbacher explores the transcendence of Gibraltar as the testimony in stone of a brutalist frontier between Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain. The photos captured in 2016, geopolitically a year of drastic incisions from Brexit to the presidential elections in the United States, continue today to exist as a witness bearer and living memory of ongoing tension. Drawing with light, as the etymological roots of “photography” states, Claus Rottenbacher creates contemporary tableaux vivants - devoid of humans but with their overall presence manifested through architectural interventions in a sheer landscape. Moreover, the depicted mountain itself becomes a reoccurring main protagonist in those captures of time. It is this impasse, the moment the lens of the camera opens and closes, in which Claus Rottenbacher’s work reflects a state of mind that we – still today – find ourselves reluctant to realize.

On the other hand, "Border Matters" also entails an exercise of introspection, wherewith one becomes aware of his own physical limitations and positioning in an ever-changing environment. This can be seen as a play on the theatre concept of the forth wall, supposedly separating audience and actors, yet another border that might not matter anymore. From her professional background as a stage designer, Susanne Rottenbacher sets the scene by filling the CCA Kunsthalle with light appearing as matter, thus introducing us to a luminous contemplation. Her 10 x 10 x 4 meters light installation Disassembly performs a phantasmagoric cosmos of light as an explosive enduring movement, however fixed like in a stroboscopic flash, providing a new perception of boundaries and addresses our awareness to how we constantly define ourselves by borders. Thereby creating an endless suspense in the midst of the journey into yet unexplored fields.

How do we navigate in a globalized world dominated by increasing borders? One may ask again…

We find landmarks to guide us through, just as the sun and the mountains in former times were used as pinpoints to orientate seafarers for them to inhabit and conquer new territories. According to the myth, “Non Plus Ultra” was written on the Pillars of Hercules, as a warning sign of “Nothing further beyond”. But after dividing the mountain between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, a gateway was opened for new connections. Therefore, one may wonder how it can be, that even after 500 years of the “Plus Ultra” motto figuring on the Coat of Arms of Spain, we are still not sure what’s waiting ahead.

Exhibition design and concept by Frank Hauschildt, Berlin-based artist and curator

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