Classifying, structuring, collecting, standardising, domesticating, registering, denominating, mapping, conserving, representing – all these are cultural skills of human beings, who take hold of nature in order to create a world. Or rather to create multiple worlds, worlds as systems of meaning such as prototypes, miniature models, images, archetypes and maps that organise our idea of reality – virtually in our minds or as concrete points of reference.
Javiera Hiault-Echeverria deals with these systems that relate human beings to what seems to be natural. In her new work, her starting point is the simple idea of the human hunter and gatherer, who in primeval times imposed a social order upon nature in order to ensure his own survival. This original sense of human life has long given way to a huge number of both very concrete and more subtle systems of order. – But what can then be the ensuring function of such a system as only one of numerous? Does it demonstrate the human superiority over nature? Or do its abstract and complex symbols not rather cover up the human incapacity of handling the world? And finally: Can art provide us alternatives in the game of order power? Does it simply give an aesthetically pleasant form to the powerlessness of power over our actions?
The artist treats these questions from different perspectives. In her installation of miniature trunks she creates a natural chaos that reveals its other face only at second or third glance: beyond the general impression of confusion, traces and forms of order, little by little, reveal to the viewer. Suspending ordinary certainties, a subtle, uncanny logic creeps into what seems perfectly usual and random.
On the opposite wall, Javiera Hiault-Echeverria shows which consequences this might have for human beings. In her drawings, she creates the image of someone who seems to have dropped out of the system. The vast field of infinite possibilities has turned into a big white void in which man appears lost as Sisyphus. Maybe the power of his own actions suddenly became suspicious to him – or nature in its disastrous power of destruction stroke back. After having conquered the world, the hunter and gatherer is now doomed to settle in his nomadic diaspora.
In the back part of the gallery, the artist carries on the game of orders. Her folding maps, drawings and knots point to the moment when the system of order unfolds its very own dynamics. What we see are no longer representations of something but the games of virtual possibilities.
The result is a highly complex and aesthetic combination of analogies, equivalences and mutual reflections. Using a multitude of materials, techniques, arrangements and cultural references, Javiera Hiault-Echeverria creates an artistic field of experimentation involving sense and nonsense, order and disorder, trial and error.
Text: Peter KRILLERS
+GATHERER, STATTBERLIN GALLERY / Lottum Strasse 1 10119 Berlin