Mathias Kessler’s Artifacts & Other Errors of Perception at BMoCa
Scott Rowland • May 3, 2017 • Art •
“The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.”
– Mathias Kessler
Contemporary and intrinsically satisfying, Austrian artist Mathias Kessler’s Artifacts & Other Errors of Perception, featured at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCa), explores expression that trickles from his genuine connection to the human experience while drenched in his fascination for the complexity of the unfolding digital age.
The heart of Kessler’s exhibition can be pinpointed to his attraction for the community environment. Every Thursday, BMoCa presents “Cultural Cul-de-sac”. Designed by Kessler, the weekly gathering stands as an open call for local creatives. His vision facilitates a participatory exhibition space for Boulder’s chefs, filmmakers, trivia hosts, poets, scientists, performers, musicians, and entrepreneurs by inviting the community to explore what Boulder has to offer to itself. Never before has BMoCa curated such a concept.
The exhibition connects Kessler’s ingenuity as an artist with a platform for addressing social and political implications. He’s a contemporary artist living for the future of the art community and for humanity as a whole. Each one of his pieces feeds off the next in ways that bring attention to the dynamic changes being experienced across the world. In particular, the central piece to the Cultural Cul-de-sac, a fridge filled with beer and a freezer mapped with a 3D model of the Jakobshavn Glacier, is meant to be opened and closed generating frost build up and bringing about a meeting of the minds.
“For me the Cultural Cul-de-sac was designed as a programming around this fridge,” Kessler expresses. “The idea is that we, the community, carry the problem that needs to be discussed around the fridge, around people getting together and sharing a drink and discussing matters. In art history it’s called the Social Sculpture. But It’s a piece that needs people, and it needs people to have a conversation.”
Each part of the installation is influenced as much by Kessler’s appreciation for environmental preservation as the discussions held between friends about the state of affairs. Specifically, where the world may go given the emergence of fascinating and sometimes uncontrollable technologies.
The powerful display of his digital photographs, “Ilulissat S010” and “Ilulissat 011 3” portray icebergs in Greenland that were, at one time, unreachable during the winter months. These photos allude to the presence of a generally complacent world culture ignorant of the tasks necessary to nurture planetary homeostasis.
Kessler consistently looks to the patterns of societal discourse as a source of inspiration for his artistry. He has received worldwide recognition for his fantastic photorealistic 2D rendering of Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier (the inspiration for the 3D printed glacier model in the beer fridge), for his thriving fish tanks with coral growing from calcium deposits absorbed from the human skull centerpiece, and for a hacked refrigerator attached to the back of a vintage mirror to pull moisture from the air and create a frosty, ever-changing interface. But it always boils down to one theme, one pursuit: How does an artist influence discussion about the future state of the world?
“In the history of painting, the master painter would always look at the person in the mirror and try to see the moment which separates us from the animal,” Kessler says with a curious smirk. “The painter should not just paint what he sees before him, but also what he sees inside of himself.”
It’s an honor to have someone like Kessler maximizing Boulder’s collaborative paradigm. Despite the illusory aspects of technological advancement, there’s plenty of open space for hope. Kessler’s exhibition is revitalizing a love for fly fishing one week, opening the floor to the Women’s March another week, and giving the local community an opportunity to identify with social tensions running through America on yet another. Thankfully, Boulder has a culture that still appreciates its progressive social climate when someone from across the world calls attention to them.
A $5 donation is encouraged for anyone planning to attend the Cultural Cul-de-sac at BMoCa, occurring every Thursday night until May 29th.