Andreas Greiner: Jungle Memory

DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM are pleased to present the second solo exhibition of Andreas Greiner (b. Aachen, Germany, 1979) at the gallery. Titled Jungle Memory, the show will open on occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin 2020. Private views commence on Wednesday, September 9, and continue through Friday, September 11, 2020, 10 AM to 7 PM. The gallery will have extended hours throughout the weekend and the exhibition is open for public viewing September 12 through October 31, 2020.

In Andreas Greiner’s work, there is no contradiction between art and science. His multi-media, multi-disciplinary practice includes time-based living and digital sculptures, photographs, and video works that chart complex concerns and expose vital issues in contemporary society, including environmental and ecological challenges. In the exhibition Jungle Memory, Greiner recreates nature, representing his research into endangered forests in Germany and Poland.

Greiner probes the relationship between ecology and technology. Amid a simulated forest and light scenario that transforms the main gallery space, Greiner presents a large-format video work made with the aid of artificial intelligence. A dataset comprising several thousand photographs that Greiner shot in the ancient Hambacher Forst and Białowieża forests was fed into a digital calculus to derive the idea of a forest. In processing the pictures, the artist created generated recollections or algorithmic projections of an abundant and unruly nature whose romantic flair is unmistakable. The resulting images are layered and morphed together to create a cinematic dance of trees, bright and illusionary yet concerning and oddly foreboding of a post-human world. A sound composition accompanies the installation.

Paralleling the abstractions on the four-square-meter LED screen and the sound piece, Greiner premieres a video in the first room. A two-channel video, created in collaboration with Paul Rohlfs, is presented on screens (purchased second-hand) that are connected to a central control box. In addition, the screens display archival quotes from texts on the economic or protective vision of silviculture, and a video illustrating the current process of natural dynamic reforestation. The video shows how the death of old spruce trees at the hands of the bark beetles allows the forest to regenerate, making it versatile and resilient.

In the adjacent gallery hangs a large-scale panoramic photograph, a digital collage posing as a contemporary version of historic landscape painting. The image, similarly produced by AI, is displayed in an ornate CNC-milled frame embossed with an iconography referencing bark-beetle tunnels as well as microcircuit boards. Greiner juxtaposes this pixelated digital image with a material counterpart: a new work from the Seed Patternseries, in which a large number of seeds are neatly arranged, pinned in individual parametric patterns in a charcoal frame.

The two imposing frames on the wall in the first room echo the video installation, highlight the risk of monoculture, the importance of biodiversity, and question the “power” of geoengineering. The large assemblage, composed of seeds from the beech, Douglas fir, sycamore, spruce and wild cherry, represents an architectural map, an aerial model of a completely devastated, three-hectare zone close to Goslar, which Greiner has mapped with drones in order to prepare the ground to replant it as a collective action. The techno-futuristic aspect of the AI-rendered image on the adjacent wall contrasts with the organic materiality of the assemblage. The landscape itself seems to be an attempt to answer the question of how vegetation is represented after its death. The image, like those in the film in the next room, is a digital representation of a natural environment, generated from a data set of 10,000 photographs that Greiner took in the forest of Goslar and the Harz National Park. The image is no longer the trace of a moment but the result of a creative process in motion. […]

The exhibition can be read as a cognitive and emotional collage that highlights, through a concrete local example, the interdependence of historical factors, economic decisions and climate change. Taking as a starting point the catastrophic situation of the forests of the Harz (a highland region in Lower Saxony), the works address an immediate reality that is tied as much to past centuries’ silviculture as to contemporary global ecological choices.

With Jungle Memory, Greiner probes the question whether, in our age of climate change and the mass extinction of species, the language of art is actually capable of adequately articulating these concerns. The passages above are excerpts from an essay that Bernard Vienat contributed for the gallery catalogue, which will be published in September 2020 and available at the gallery and via our online shop.
Concurrently with his solo exhibition at the gallery, Andreas Greiner together with Maximilian Prüfer will open their duo exhibition titled ‘Everything is going to be alright’; Doppelpass IV: Andreas Greiner und Maximilian Prüferat DG Kunstraumin Munich on September 8. The exhibition approaches the topic of the lack of balance in our dealings with the environment and nature from very different angles. The two artists investigate the influence of humans on the biological processes of our earth and the repercussions for ourselves. 

During Gallery Weekend Berlin the show will be open Sat+Sun 12-19h

Sat, 12 Sep, 12.00hSun, 13 Sep, 19.00h
12 Sep 202031 Oct 2020

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