The Double Life Of Mr. Shore

Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany

There is a black desktop with some objects on it, and a chandelier hanging close to this assemblage. These elements belong together, but, according to the artist, they could appear in different configurations. One could suppose there are links between them, yet no apparent intention relates them to one another. Their uses could be connected, but there is no visible hint of the function they could fulfill.

Matti Isan Blind, Looking For A Ride To Your Secret Location, 2010. Exhibition view in Fischgrätenmelkstand, curated by John Bock at Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany Photo: Jan Windszus
One might imagine they were left on the desk in anticipation of some event to come, probably because they bear some similarity to ritual objects. Small and evocative, they have been very carefully assembled. They contain jewelry fragments, vegetal elements, and show traces of paint and clay. Actually they convey a certain preciousness through the choice of materials and the way they are assembled, being at the same time delicate and nonchalant. A small ball constantly spinning around a tubular shape made out of mirrors adds to this feeling of meditative indolence.
The desktop display system recalls the spirit of a wunderkammer, in which objects gathered in a domestic context had no specific function, except to surprise visitors with their unusual shapes that evoked unknown territories or cultures. Although here the objects are not exotic in the usual sense as they do not come from remote places. The artist made them. Matti Isan Blind emphasizes the importance for his work of Carl Gustav Jung’s concept of inner shadow. The inner shadow is the inverse double of the subject, its dark side, an opposite twin hidden in the depths of the unconscious or the true inner self of an individual, as opposed to the outer aspects of the personality. In this regard, Blind’s objects take on another relief. If each person contains an unknown area within that cannot be fully accessed, then the artist’s setting of a cabinet of curiosities to display his objects can be understood as an attempt to take a closer look at those unknown sides of the self.

This group of elements entitled looking for a ride to your secret location is part of a strain of research that Blind has been following for some time. He initially engaged with performance in the broadest sense to develop a reflection on his position as an artist. Blind produced a series of drawings and photographs exploring the position of the artist. Lately, he has begun to produce objects as a means of continuing this line of inquisition. The elements presented here took shape without a pre-conceived plan. They are of a spontaneous type, resulting from intuitive gestures, from unconscious decisions. Considering Blind’s attitude towards the production process, their fabrication can be read as a performance. In this sense, the ritualistic dimension of the objects on the desk becomes salient. These objects exist as traces of his activity. They are proof of his existence as an artist and reveal a practice in which the result is as significant as the production process.

The aura of mystery that supposedly surrounds the practice of the artist echoes archaic links between the soul and the object. Blind’s objects are loaded with a belief in the ability of the shape of an artwork to express something unspoken. He is following an ancient tradition, in which the building of objects is naturally related to the role of the artist. Yet, the meaning of a gesture can change over time. In the current context of a media-based society, Blind’s effort can be read as a resistance to the process of alienation generated by our virtual relationship to our surroundings.

Blind's work is investigative. He looks for himself in his work. By doing so, he builds tangible elements that function like keys to a more authentic part of the self. At least this is what one could think. But who can tell if these keys lead to him or to whomever he wants us to believe he is. Every identity is a construct and Blind reprocesses this idea on a visual level: he constructs objects and images that address the construction of an artistic identity.

Consequently, the artificial dimension is central in his work. Blind indirectly plays with the myth of the artist: he insists on the possibility of giving shape to an idea and stages the indecipherable within his work. These are things the audience is eager to believe in, since these very things legitimate the work of the artist as something original and authentic. Through this confrontation with the beliefs about and expectations of the artist, the apparatus around the work becomes decisive. This work has no specific historical references, except for the present in which it is shown, and no specific link to a location, except to the one where it is on display. While Matti Isan Blind investigates in his work the position and gesture of the artist, his work takes its full meaning in the moment it is exhibited and perceived by the public. The existence of the work is anchored in the situation of exhibiting as much as in the self of the artist.

Fanny Gonella 2010

Fanny Gonella is a curator and writer living in Berlin.