Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique

Nicole Wermers: Public Rain

Posted in Reviews by matteoconsonni on October 14, 2008
Installation View
Installation View, Courtesy Herald St., London

I wonder if anyone of you remembers the colour or even the design of the floor at the airport where they’ve been last summer or the one in the shopping centre they visited the last weekend, or even the one where they trampled on during a cultural event, a fair or a concert; nobody cares about these materials, which are considered common and insipid. Their design is only related to their function, being the one of helping us in carrying our wheeled baggage, and not letting us slip on the floor.

One series of Nicole Wermers’ (Germany, 1971) works, presented at Herald st., is linked to these anti-slippery surfaces: it’s a series of four big aluminium panels, hung on a long wall in the main room of the gallery, decorated with embossed elliptical forms. The link to seriality is evident in the material used and in the title “Filialen” (the German word for the English “branches”), but the anti-slippery elliptical forms, which are supposed to be the useful element, are arranged in a random order, losing their proper use to become decorative, floating on the alluminium surface. Nicole Wermers steals some elements of everyday design to re-edit them and reveal only their pure forms.
In front of the series “Filialen” we can find a sculpture which is similar to a bench; “Untitled Bench” it’s an acryilic box that contains three big stones at its ends. There is a dynamic relationship between the human creation and the natural object that seems to anchor the structure to the floor, repulsing it at the same time. The stones seem to be there only to fix the bench, and there is no element prevailing on the other.

In the next room we encounter a third sculpture, “SPA”, which is similar to the installation named “Untitled Forcefield” presented with the “Filialen” series at the Produzentegalerie in Hamburg: in this maybe too little room the sculpture, composed by three stainless steel circles arranged to form a triangle, tries to relate itself to the three entrances. These big circles act as portals, and they recall all those thresholds in which we go through every day: commercial centres’ sliding doors, hotel’s revolving doors, and those security devices used in the airports.

The subtle relationship between desing and function is problematised in these works. Nicole Wermers in the past used to juxtapose incongruous element to form new realities, and now she plays with the hidden elements of reality.

Nicole Wermers – Public Rain

September 12 – October 18

Herald St. – 2 Herald street, London

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