exhibition Mary Mattingly - press release                                                                                   

Mary Mattingly


Installation, Photography, Video

Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York


October 26, 2007 – January 5, 2008
Opening Thursday, October 25, 2007, from 7pm
Galerie Adler Frankfurt am Main

"I think about technology”, Mary Mattingly says, “The constant mediator between you and me... As technology expands exponentially, we will reach a point where we exist as wanderers in our own worlds, participants in simulated communities." But Mary Mattingly doesn’t hover over this possibly near future but looks all the way beyond the industrial and technological age, heading from postapocalyptic to postcivilisation to post-almost-everything.

Her figures littering this future vision world are stripped of every possession and concept but those they can carry with them through the desolated landscapes every now and then disturbed by an abandoned oil rig, a rusty dustbin on the beach, an unlikely supermarket on what is now, after the great flood, a far away island - relics of a technological age that has long gone, finally overwhelmed by its own impact.

Mary Mattingly looks at a distant yet unnervingly believable future and endpoint for humanity's recklessness. After the fall of civilization, a generation of nomadic postconsumers roam the landscape of a water-bound Eden. These "navigators," as she calls them, busy themselves creating and utilizing adaptive technology. Boundless creativity is the only true survival mechanism, while the need to be self-sufficient detaches this new breed of human from its fellow wanderers, leaves them isolated in austere but beautiful landscapes, preoccupied with the need for survival.

The nomads wear their homes on their backs like snails: “Wearable homes,” billowing, saggy, multi-pocketed garments, will act as mobile storage containers for security devices, vitamin supplements, and any other gadgetry. The look of the khaki outfits that Mattingly's characters wear is based on her investigations into the anthropology of fashion and architecture. In her world, the new transience will not lead to dystopia but will bring people together in accordance with “The New Way,” or the church of the customer which can be joined online to flee the isolation and “to fill this void of empty culture“, as it says in one of their prayers.

Mattingly imagines future populations becoming one through the virtual spaces of “the net” and building self-sufficient barges or islands where navigators can spend their days. We will measure time in a different manner, breaking the “day” up into four sections rather than the current arrangement of day and night.

The images - digitally created composite photographs - are replete with gaudy sunsets, with water in all shades of blue imaginable and spectacular cloud scenes that do not entirely disguise their artifice. In constructing her images, she builds sculptures out of ragged bits of fabric, wire, wood, and metal, then situates them so as to suggest jerry-rigged communication devices in a world that has devolved into a post-high-tech Dark Age.

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