I like the way you bow your head into your chest. Hold my hand so tight that our sweat droplets are forced into one another‘s glands.
The proclamation of a sacred truce ensures safe passage to and from the games for participants and, more importantly, spectators. There needs to be a mutual understanding if this is going to work.
For her first solo show at Blake and Vargas, Franziska König (b. 1988, Pforzheim, lives and works between Berlin and Hamburg) presents works commissioned specially for Berlin Art Week. The exhibition ‘Lucky You’ incorporates sculptural wall pieces, poetry and an interactive installation to investigate the very means by which comparisons arise, in even the most ordinary, everyday relations.
Perhaps the most basic test of physical strength there is, arm wrestling conjures an image of power that is most intimidating for the fact of its simplicity. Yet, König’s adoption of the sport in her interactive installation – including a table made according to professional specifications – eschews the competitive element to emphasise the mutual, simultaneous struggle and embrace. A livestream is projected in all-too-familiar dimensions, beamed in from another room that can’t be as far away as it seems. Two hands wrap around each other, pull each other apart. The arena is an anatomical theatre is a peep show. The sport no longer makes sense, but the interactions are not rendered senseless.
The whole spiel is certified with the requisite technical drawings. Suspended over these cryptic, bona fide schemes, upholstered shapes form something between a cheeky grin and a grimace. How many ways are there to read a smiley? Streams of poetical observation on scrolls of paper keep us spiralling through content that is cyclical, predictable and yet always out of reach. The continual transmutation of criteria according to which we place ourselves in comparisons perpetuates a thankless process of un-becoming, never quite ideal. Stepping aside from an essentially defeatist culture, there must be ways that are not simply following.
Words by Miriam Stoney