Structures of Feeling: Sascha Braunig, Jacqueline Humphries, Ghislaine Leung, K.R.M. Mooney, Elizabeth Neel, Rachel Rose, Alan Ruiz, Julia Scher, Bea Schlingelhoff, Carolee Schneemann, Aliza Shvarts, Ramaya Tegegne - curated by Piper Marshall

23 January - 7 March 2020 Galerie Maria Bernheim | Zurich

Structures of Feeling is a group show featuring artists who work on the subject of material nodes and networks that facilitate meaning and values as they are lived, endured cognitively and physiologically.[1] Key is the entwining of private interpretation with social standard. In this exhibition, historical artworks as well as those newly commissioned are shown side by side, many are presented in Switzerland for the first time.


These practitioners dislodge the regulative messaging engendered by media. Between the formal reverberations, we might ask: What do normative narratives produce in us? What elements must move for us to feel intuitively, anew? These artists reroute the material components of the social to alternative figures and formations. Feeling, here, is palpable and turned-over, aided by a set of predetermined compositional procedures: pattern, loop, frame, and leak. 


Sascha Braunig, Jacqueline Humphries, and Ramaya Tegegne physically recast the digital ciphers which undergird the senses: how we feel and are felt. Ideograms are reproduced in rhythmed compositions. These are typically generated by and yet also generating of emotion. Tugging on the grids of automated feedback, a narrative of perception emerges: the personal peels off from its generalization. 


Ghislaine Leung, Bea Schlingelhoff, and Carolee Schneemann understand structure at the level of communication and its circuits of distribution. These works cool melodrama through looped sequence. The repetitions, prolonged, detour attention toward the sharing of ideas and the pleasure and pain of dislocation between subjects. Cleaving apart duality re-calibrates the discursive eye and ear toward issues of practical care and support.


K.R.M. Mooney, Alan Ruiz, Julia Scher and Aliza Shvarts attend to systems of control through framing.  These interconnected objects manage their subjects: a ball bearing invites certain weights, ventilation arranges fresh air, a virus portrays its hosts, a camera folds voyeurism into surveillance. Sculpture, fomented by performance, points to infrastructure as it tacitly portions physicality and programs bodily movement. 


Elizabeth Neel and Rachel Rose stage transmissions to channel flows, accreting matter as it congeals. Stilled momentarily, it spills, pooling, crystallizing, refracting. The pliable lens pushes outward to point to where the appendage becomes a mass and asks us for a certain kind of projection.  


Patterns and loops, frames and leaks tessellate into “structures of feeling.” They pulse like the muscle of the tongue, taking in air before a trip towards the edge of legibility. There they loll, cunningly, expecting social movement-- I’m struck here those kinds of words, modeled by Adrienne Rich, which coalesce and impart such semantic force: 


even you, fellow creature, sister

sitting across from me, dark with love, 

working like me to pick apart

working with me to remake

this trailing knitted thing, this cloth of darkness 

this woman’s garment, trying to save the skein.[2]


Artists, fellow creatures, who work to pick apart, work to reform language: sliding it, knotting it, skipping the noose of convention to save our skein.     


Piper Marshall


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[1]The title is drawn from and inspired by the eponymous chapter in Raymond Williams’ Marxism and Literature, published in 1977. The phrasing in this press release emulates Williams own.

[2]Adrienne Rich, “When We Dead Awaken,” from Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1973(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1973): 5.