text by Cristina Vasilescu
The Near and the Elsewhere marks Kristin Wenzel’s first solo exhibition at SUPRAINFINIT gallery, an exhibition that continues her research into architecture and the production of space. Drawn to her interest in architecture as a cultural symbol, as well as a space for encounter, Wenzel’s artistic investigation is taken further to a liminal realm.
Growing up in the eastern part of Germany, Kristin paid close attention to the socialist architecture and the transformation processes that have started in the early ‘90s. Her patterns of perception have been developing around forgotten things, things that are left behind, re-purposed or about to disappear. Her current large-scale installation references the artist’s personal memories in relation to a public swimming pool, while also engaging the viewer in a playful reinterpretation of the gallery’s floor plan. The swimming pool is a ‘visible sign of what used to be’. In full advent of the ‘acceleration of history, excess of time and spatial overabundance’, the creation of a micro architectural context for social and artistic encounter is essential in Wenzel’s practice.
As the modernist utopia fails under the artist’s eyes as well as the others’, the artist works with that failure in seeking to analyse and preserve it so that it might in turn be converted into other states of being and beginnings. Delving into her ongoing Re-collection work, the transformation through casting and molding processes of certain stucco ornaments from the artist’s personal archive<>collection creates new ceramic objects. Although carefully shaped and glazed, traces of time are still visible and added versions of history and materiality are unveiled. Kristin’s involvement and works always balance between ‘the near’ and ‘the elsewhere’, the familiar and non-familiar, the present and the past.
After Milița Petrașcu, the artist’s replica of an existing bas-relief –made by female Romanian artist Milița Petrașcu in 1935 at the entrance of a modernist block of flats built by Marcel Iancu– is both an alarming and preserving gesture, an attempt to re-evaluate a part of the recent history through her subjective lens.
As a central piece, the fountain is related to the idea of a community space, of an infrastructure that can be found in public and semi-public spaces destined for people’s use. Also as comment on the use and location of the drinking fountains in Bucharest, this vernacular object adds even more to the peculiarity of the whole transformation of the gallery space. Further explored here, Kristin Wenzel’s practice is strongly related to the forging of site-sensitive spaces and contexts for social encounters and collective knowledge production.
In this context of social encounters, the artist organises a parallel programme through which she invites other artists and practitioners to engage with the space.
 Pierre Nora cited by Marc Augé in Non-Places.Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity.
 Augé, Marc, 1995, Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, London: Verso Books.
 Kristin Wenzel’s work Re-collection (2018 – ongoing), is a growing collection of found stucco façade ornaments in Bucharest and it started on a Sunday morning after a storm.
|Exhibition||The Near and the Elsewhere|
|Place / venue||Suprainfinit Gallery, Bucharest|
|Dates||5 March – 9 May 2020|
|Index||Cristina Vasilescu Kristin Wenzel Suprainfinit Gallery|