A collaboration: Noemi Niederhauser & Jennifer Niederhauser Schlup. Made during a residency at: Workspace Cercco_HEAD, Geneva (CH)
During the Renaissance in the 15th – 16th centuries, when utopianism and the quest to discover alternative ways of life erupted from within the intense cultural upheavals of that time, several plans for « ideal cities » were designed by architects. Although they never materialized, these plans for potential cities aspired to an ideal urban configuration and an ideal life. I’m not gonna crack, made at CERCCO-HEAD Geneva, takes as the reference « The Ideal City » by Fra Carnevale (oil painting; ca. 1480-1484; Renaissance). The painting consists of a city landscape glowing in the morning light, with a perfect geometry and perspective. It is a window onto another and better world; a world where everything plays a specific part and is designed accordingly, one that has been dispossessed of disarray and the inconsistency inherent to emotions, one that is almost empty of any human activity.
Zooming into details of the painting; I’m not gonna crack, references but reverses this « Ideal » with geometries distorted, scales disrupted, a care for the physicality and textures of materials, a sense of the unfinished and non normative. It intertwines cement, mycelium, ceramic and bodies into a swirling dance, one stretching and colliding into the other. An ode to processes of transformation; I’m not gonna crack ushers a combination where notions of nature and culture, organic and man-made are dispossessed of any active-passive relationship. Flesh and stains. Stones and veils. Shapes and veins.
« Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in. »
Leonard Cohen, Anthem
Special thanks: Magdalena Gerber, Isabelle Schnederle, Christian Gonzenbach, HEAD_Geneva