Going far beyond the expectations of the normal exhibition goer, König Galerie’s latest exhibition show cases an unsettling, and most unusual work. The gallery presents the show as ‘Particle Processed Cafeteria, an exhibition of new sculptures by Daniel Turner’, however this is slightly misleading, for it is rather the absence of three dimensional, physical sculptures that make this show unlike any other.
Known for working with industrial materials such as rust, wool, steel or polyethylene the American artist has a remarkable talent for finding beauty in the chemical processes of dissolution and transformation. For the exhibition at König, Turner has reduced a physical environment into a liquid state, stripping it from its conventional, recognizable attributes to a form that is totally abstract. So abstract that the viewer is denied any clues of what this art piece once was—a cafeteria.
In an interview with Paris based Études Studio regarding the exhibition, Turner explains that over the last six years he has carefully been thinking about the process of deconstructing this collection of steel folding chairs and collapsible tables that he salvaged from a cafeteria in Southeast Virginia. After much thought, research, trial and error, the artist has managed to reduce these components to a particle form, and chemically modify them into a liquid that he has then sprayed across the expanse of the main hall in König’s St. Agnes location, a former church built in an imposing, brutalist style.
The unobstructed expanse of smooth concrete that make up the gallery’s floors and walls, the sheer enormity and industrial feel of the space compliment the piece astonishingly. As the viewer walks into the imposing space, and slowly paces towards the sculpture sprayed on the ground, a quiet eeriness takes over, pushing the viewer into a state of angst—a sensation that could certainly be heightened on a grey, gloomy afternoon. To think that this sculpture (that essentially just looks like an alarming stain) was once a physical, three dimensional cafeteria, makes one think of decay and death. It’s dark, but extremely effective in its way of unnerving the viewer.
By reducing the neon lights of the cafeteria, through processes of photo and thermal oxidation, Turner has managed to obtain a rich, copper color tone that gives his work extra poignancy. Whilst it nods to the earthy tones of the wooded façade on the gallery’s high ceiling (another testament to the sculpture working beautifully with the space) it also brings up connotations of blood, dried blood, beginning an even deeper thought process. As I said… alarming, but ingenious and most definitely worth a visit.
Particle Processed Cafeteria will be shown at König Galerie in its St. Agnes location, Berlin, until the 30th of October, 2016.