Artist Anita Kuratle, who also teaches at the University of Art and Design in Basel, presents her first solo show in the Kunsthaus Baselland. The exhibition features stylized depictions of everyday objects made by Kuratle from wood, plaster, and metal.
Her new works created specifically for the show put viewers in an Alice in Wonderland mood — perspectives are skewed, perceptions of what is up and down become out of sync, and everyday objects assembled such that they generate an unusual spatial situation invariably confront viewers with the question of where they actually are. A construction crane, reaching from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, makes viewers appear very small as they look admiringly up to it; it is a breathtaking sight that cuts the ground from under their feet. However, two metal posts connected by a chain in the immediate vicinity of the crane make the ground revert to its habitual level of vision. Two bicycles, which, depending on the viewer’s vantage point, look like drawings and then like three-dimensional objects, confuse our perception of horizons. One of the bicycles seems to be nearer to the viewer than the other one, even though, at closer inspection, it turns out that they slightly overlap each other. This irritation of perspectival perception continues in a group of houses. Facades viewed from below protrude from the exhibition floor and distort our spatial perception.
Anita Kuratle’s urban elements — the group of houses, the construction crane, the posts, a chimney, and the bicycles — form a structure in which familiar angles, straight lines, and horizons become just as lopsided as our perceptions of what is left, right, up, and down. By altering the scale of things we are accustomed to and modifying perspectives, the artist engenders irritations in us that teach us how to see differently. In an age of overabundant and ephemeral imagery, Kuratle’s everyday pictorial motifs serve as ralentisseurs, or speed reducers. Their familiar appearance builds a bridge of comprehension that needs to be crossed again because of the perspectival distortion of objects. Kuratle’s works necessitate close surveillance. She is interested in a perception that “goes beyond purely visual experiences and may trigger a novel physical and emotional reaction” (Kuratle).
Text by Sabine Schaschl