Katja Felle: Segments of Fragile Reality 2
City Gallery Nova Gorica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
1. 2018 – 2. 2. 2018
The Matrix proposes an interesting explanation of the phenomenon we know as déjà vu – the film defines it as a glitch in the system. Only when this phenomenon is observed do the observers realize that something unusual is happening with the matrix, or that those controlling it have made changes to it internally, replacing ”the existing” with ”the new”.
Putting this psychological phenomenon on the screen illustrates the modern world, where the concepts of reality and individual freedom are shattered into interconnectable fragments, drawing attention to humankind’s global dependence on the information it is being fed. The individual will thus become the recipient of information, having endless choices, although never having control over the information itself is produced. Global information banks will become transmitters and the only place where information can be manipulated will be the space between the transmitters and the receivers. It will be possible to intentionally disrupt and modify the communication route along which the information travels, or malfunctions will arise as a result of technological limitations of the synchronization protocols facilitating the transmission. Such a scenario can only be predicted if we consider how the internet as a global data transmission network grew from a passive provider to an active building block of our everyday lives, and according to some predictions, it will provide a foundation for a globally-interconnected Internet of Things, which will work through a contact lens which one will have to put in one’s eye. And this is when the phrase Sie können den Computer jetzt ausschalten, which appears on the No. 11 Katja Felle’s painting, will literally cut into the very essence of our existence and define our perception of reality. Will we be prepared to switch off, which in today’s context means unplugging from the system and suggests at least a temporary social death, or an escape off the grid. Will this unplugging be anything more than just a disturbance in the system, or will it become one of the system’s economic realities?
In addition to the notion that images appearing in the world of the media are diverse and visually stimulating, it has recently also been observed that these images have become merciless, aggressive and even dangerous, as they often intentionally manipulate our perceptions of today’s social, political and economic reality. This is also a way to look at contemporary artistic production, which explores the effects of the mediatized image. It cautions us against the manipulative dimensions of the contemporary world of the media, and invites us to take a walk along the fringes of the unknown in order to get to know it.
Katja Felle paints to the edge and beyond. Formally speaking, her painting is literally multi-layered. One time, it is made through precise and impeccably controlled strokes, and the next time the painting is made with rushed strokes and is intentionally distorted. Just as we discover and figure out one layer, we are started by another, perplexed by the third, and so on. The key to deciphering her paintings can be found in the analysis of her creative process. As an artist, she is interested in the meaning of images in today’s time, when images are caught in fierce competition against a plethora of other information, undergoing a transformation through various channels and influences. In the context of painting, we can certainly count her among the more visible, conceptually formed and gutsy artists who dare paint what might, at first glance, appear too mundane and unworthy of a painter’s attention. But it is precisely this simple complexity of her motif which startles us and makes us first re-examine our perception of the image, and then the very reality which surrounds us. Looking at Katja Felle’s paintings is like looking at a history of media art, and at the same time it is a glimpse into the future, where we can see her painting as an example of an artwork during a time of digital media distribution, electronic interference, and augmented reality. Katja Felle’s art projects (performances, video clips, gobelins, socially engaged projects aimed at building cross-generational ties) generally explore the relationship between ”looking” and ”seeing”. Whereas ”looking” is understood as a relatively passive activity, ”seeing” is a particularly active process which involves reading into meanings and interpreting visual stimuli. So it is here, in translating the passive act of ”looking” into the active act of ”seeing”, that this dramatic game takes place, controlling the different segments which erode our reality again and again. Katja Felle’s paintings depict this space separating the looking and the seeing; a fragile space, prone to manipulation and vulnerable to control. It is in this space that intentional and random mistakes and misinterpretations occur. This is a space which shapes our perception of the reality we inhabit.
The exhibition Segments of Fragile Reality 2 expands and upgrades her solo exhibition, which was shown between 29 September and 6 November 2016 in the Miklova Hiša gallery in Ribnica, Slovenia.