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SoftSoftSoft: A Visual Study on Aesthetics > Additional Information

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art

- Additional Information -

Soft. adj. easy to mould, cut, compress, or fold. Oxford English Dictionary

SoftSoftSoft, © Javier Marchan 2004, is a process-based artwork in the field of contemporary art, the outcome of an international research project on people's relationships with the world of objects. It has been produced with the methods, processes and dialogues of a cell of sixty-nine individuals from around the world. Operating at the crossroads of sculpture, design, philosophy, film and communication, the artwork is touring worldwide institutions dedicated to the dissemination of visual culture. SoftSoftSoft is constituted of drawings, texts, designs, sounds, objects and visuals of moving imagery that create site-specific modulations of the visual and conceptual kind. Operating within three modulations, the exhibition at MAK aims at experimenting further with ways in which our stylistic perceptions of the world affect 'reality'.

SoftSoftSoft, digital Film, colour, sound, 18.50 minutes, English language, German subtitles -  screened in a TV lounge in the glass connecting wing of the museum. Simone, Juliet and Mimosa, live alone, talk on the phone and are compulsive shoppers at R & C department store. A brand new orange juice squeezer has been put in the market, inevitably seducing Simone, Juliet and Mimosa to buy into it. All of a sudden, the objects that the characters buy became alive and not exactly impressed with their owners. Will Simone, Juliet and Mimosa survive them?

Using a full iconography of visual references to domestic life, the film presents a set of objects and follows how fictional characters--all played by British actress Caitlin Morrow--place them in their value of things.  In this framework, a notion of style and of individuals playing with their identities through aesthetics and styles gets abstracted. The results make evident a dialectic between the people's placement within the area of commodities and the subjective area of
rivate valuation.

Cuts, folds and abstractions of softness - Works on paper - encompass the visual research product of dialogues between the artist with British designers Pretty. Departing from a collection in paper of patterns and drawings, the material evolves between geometric notions of concavity, convexity and flatness in order to liberate itself into a unique journey of space-temporal abstraction. This journey offers 21 unique propositions of visual sort. However much these propositions are bound by realistic details--the volume of a chair, the contour of a city, the shape of a door, for example-- they remain models and illusions reminding of the difference between representation and what it is represented. Their own interconnection  - patterns introduced again into new folds or cuts-- together with their validity of short duration--structures positioned to undergo a process of alteration in time--seem to position aesthetic judgement as a temporal decision. Every reading is bound to change according to the particularities of each moment; therefore, potentialities for new stylistic freedoms are present at any point in time.

ColumboSoftColumbo occurs as an installation of three-dimensional objects as they have been dissipated throughout the museum. Visitors are invited to the game of locating the objects which apparently Mimosa left behind in a recent visit to MAK... Filling a document proving your findings gets you a prize if the solutions are correct. The artist will be signing and handing prizes the Open Museum Day, 26th October 2004 This open-handedness between display and experiment, in fact challenges the mechanisms of art presentation, creating a crossover between the visual arts and other activities more proper of detective practice. This modulation confirms the concern of the artist with systems of research, discovery and learning governing conscience and social concord.

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