Thoman Gallery, Vienna: Fly Room

Thomas Feuerstein
23.06.12 – 15.09.12

In his work as an artist, Thomas Feuerstein (born in Innsbruck in 1968) deals with present-day models of society. In the process he resorts e.g. to mythical stories, as the one about the Leviathan, or to the character of the Trickster, a sort of inverted Prometheus figure, independently making an appearance in the most various cultures.

The title of the exhibition at Galerie Thoman Vienna, Fly Room, derives from a number of pictures using Drosophila flies. The latter have become the scientific model organism of our day, to which over 100,000 scientific publications have been dedicated so far. The fruit fly, measuring some two millimetres, is easily and cheaply bred, has a short generation succession of just nine to fourteen days, produces up to four hundred eggs at a time, and mutations are easy to detect. In the year 2000, it was the subject of the first complete genome sequencing. The Drosophila fly thus, all of a sudden, had become the principal biological reference for us humans.

For the exhibition, Thomas Feuerstein, with the help of a colourless sugar solution, has painted a series of pictures that serve as deadly fly traps. The fruit flies suck on the brushstrokes, get stuck, and turn into pixels for different layouts: school, prison, mausoleum, garden of love and paradise garden – all of them stations that humans get stuck in, and stuck on, in which they change and mutate, for a certain period of their lives. The massed congregations of fruit bodies thus, in a sense, form post-Foucauldian Leviathans.

In addition to the fruit pictures, the gallery rooms are filled with a selection of new sculptures and objects. Within an atmospheric superimposition of living room, office and laboratory, the artistic ensemble serves as furniture, combining in itself various functions and meanings. Thus, lamps from the Candy Lamp series enable the photosynthesis of plankton and, at the same time, are bio-reactors and houseplants. While on the molecular table sculpture entitled Laborant the mouth-blown glass object Candy Man produces the sugar for the fly pictures from the cells of algae.

On the one hand, that is, Feuerstein depicts this key model organism of biology as a modern-day chimera, while at the same time incorporating it into a curiously self-feeding cycle. The flies and algae tell stories about human existence that the artist, going well beyond science, intertwines with artistic fictions, social utopias, and political scenarios.

Vitus Weh

Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman
Seilerstätte 7
1010 Wien

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