Nadim Vardag --
“Things change their semantics when they’re looped long enough.” So says a character in NadimVardag and Michael Franz’s “Entropie”(2012), a short movie premiering at Vardag’s exhibition at Georg Kargl Fine Arts. This phrase, and the motif of spinning objects, might apply to Vardag’s entire exhibition, which comprises an array of sculptures, videos, sound, and two-dimensional works exploring the cinema and its relationship to time, the circulation of media, the digressiveness of late nights, the circularity of the spins and of cigarette-fuelled chatter.
Circles and lines. It’s a commonplace that time, like plot, is visualized as a two-dimensional line, escalating and descending. In fact, the medium that most iconically formalizes the temporality of memory, the cinema, is suffused through and through with circles and spheres: the circular gaze of a camera lens, bulbs for lighting, the camera apparatus’ spiraling screws and washers, a movie’s plot holes, spinning film reels, loops of repeating sound, and, more recently, the circulatory user uploads of internet distribution.
Appropriation is one such circle. In the exhibition space, visitors are greeted by one of Vardag's walllike sculptures constructed of Egon Eiermann tables lodged between aluminum plates, which is placed on a spinning turntable reminiscent of the rotating platforms showing products like cars or motorcycles within a commercial display. The juxtaposition of blank sculptures and a loaded, commercially-laden placement seems deadpan, but might repeat an internal contrast within the sculptures between a design classic and a formalistic aluminum plane. The tables reappear in the exhibition’s main space: as if zoomed in on and then digitally multiplied these sculptural modules will be stacked in a tribune formation. Also in this main space, new, spool-like sculptures are scattered; they recall components of a contemporary camera apparatus, but also of the rotary mechanical devices that predated film and video.
In two new videos, subjects seem to revolve around objects, but never quite touch them. Dizziness and vertigo are referenced in the new video “TITLE”, in which a flashing disco light is filmed maniacally spinning in a series of otherwise empty spaces, casting out beams of light. In “Entropie,” the loop as a motif is introduced as a phonograph being removed from a turntable, then sustained within conversational closed circuits, in appropriated footage, and in deliberately staged and stylized social settings.
To widen the circle, Vardag also includes two-dimensional works by Michael Franz and ceramics by Astrid Wagner.
Text: Pablo Larios