VI, VII is delighted to present The Scent of Time, Hamburg based collective Jochen Schmith’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Exploring notions of time, alienation and expansion, the exhibition features three distinct bodies of work and is set within the new area of Vannkunsten, Bjørvika a recently opened development project along Oslo’s waterfront, built on land reclaimed from the sea.
The title of the exhibition refers to an essay by Byung Chul-Han, “The Scent of Time: A Philosophical Essay on the Art of Lingering” and is a meditation on time passing and the strange movement of time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Building on an iconic series (Picnic Blanket) that is now highly recognizable within their practice, paper tapestries made from shredded euro bank notes grace the walls. Largely abstract, they picture aerial views of landscapes from both ancient and modern times. The largest [Picnic Blanket (Whistling), 2021] is a triptych that measures just over four meters in length.
Ongoing since 2016 this visually seductive body of work is constructed from actual currency and speaks to privatization and the disappearance of free and open, unclaimed land. Here, discarded banknotes that have been reduced to their base material elements (paper, ink, cotton) are repurposed for a higher thought and re-entering the stream of circulation.
Like the earliest blankets in this series, the latest are produced from two original bags that the artists sourced legally from a bank in Austria, with titles drawn from the responses to a survey led by an architectural association, into ways to spend leisure time.
Alongside these works four photographs, (Pick Pocket I-IV, 2021) represent the eerie discovery of ghost images taken in a member of the collective’s pocket by an unlocked phone, a reference to loss of control. The vague notion of someone else being at the wheel — a sensation felt often during the pandemic.
Mounted on the gallery ceiling, two vintage street lights from a small Belgian town form a light installation which cancels out color in the room. Timed to switch on at sundown, all color is drained from the works, leaving them monochromatic beneath an orange cast. Viewed from outside, the presence of these lamps in a near empty environment suggests the setting for a past or future party — a coming into contact and meeting between the old technology of LPS (Low Pressure monochromatic Sodium) lights and the bright white LED of the city that surrounds it.
Jochen Schmith is a collective based in Hamburg, Germany that has worked together since the year 2000.
Their work explores social rituals and public spaces. Particular interest is placed on the way forms of presentation are connected with structures of power and domination.
Their works have been shown internationally at notable institutions such as Hamburg Kunstverein, Kunsthaus Bregenz and Bundeskunsthalle Bonn.
Previous exhibitions include: JED MARTIN curated by Bettina Steinbrügge at Kunstverein Hamburg; Artists against Aids curated by Yilmaz Dziewior at Bundeskunsthalle Bonn; Enjoy the Sun, VI, VII, Oslo, Jochen Schmith, Galerie Esther Donatz, Munich; Present Gifts, VI, VII, Oslo; Utopie beginnt im Kleinen, Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach; Andere Räume, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn; Bleibender Wert?, Kunsthaus Bregenz; Grand Openings Pt. 1, Mathew, Berlin; Certain Arrangements, Kunstverein Braunschweig (2010); News from Nowhere, WCW Gallery, Hamburg.