Hippolyte & Saari Residence present:
The exhibition Banana Mummy presents artist and architect Valentina Karga’s long term artistic research on the circulation of energy and matter amid escalated ecological urgencies. It narrates a certain Western pathology and dream of immortality—striving to differentiate from earthly cycles of matter and energy by escaping the limits of existence. As a starting point for this exhibition, Valentina Karga has chosen a banana, a presumably stock item of organic matter, and the myth that pyramidical form can preserve any living thing and thereby stop the process of decay.
The pyramid was believed to act as a carrier for supernatural powers, the energy of which could be harnessed into preserving materials. Through mummification, ephemera placed within this force field is removed from natural sequences of transformation where its living form would decay, its particles disassemble, and a return to molecular cycles would ensue. The result, should the suggested method work, would however not be the conservation of life and banana, but merely the pickling of form.
Banana Mummy makes use of many recurrent elements within Valentina Karga’s practice that create space for her myriad questions. Manifested in the shape of the pyramid are hopes, fantasies, and speculations on the use and distribution of energy and matter interrogated in her work. Instructions, illustrations, and other forms of documentation show her various DIY experiments that act as tools for exploring the divergent trajectories suggested in the imaginings of alternative modes of being. The installations include videos, objects, and organic processes, as well as seating designed to provide a relaxed space to explore the suggested exercises–an invitation to escape the limits of a fixed form through the notion of attempting, failing, and repeating.
The exhibition reveals Valentina Karga’s experiments with so-called Pyramid Power and speculates on its limits by creating a “monument” for failed fantasy that opens the possibility of another understandingto the preservation of matter, including the human body. The unfolding narrative suggests succumbing to decay as a restorative act of life itself and an acknowledgment of earthly dependence. Earth is a materially closed system, made of parts that will sooner or later, depending on the specific expiration date, regenerate into something else.
The exhibition is a part of an ongoing exhibition collaboration between Photographic Gallery Hippolyte and Saari Residence run by the Kone Foundation. Valentina Karga stayed at the Saari Residence in winter 2017.
Valentina Karga’s work operates between art, design, research, and architecture. It draws together elements of socially engaged practices and speculative experiments that question the existing social and physical infrastructures within the realms of energy, economy, and sustainability. Valentina Karga is a founding member of Collective Disaster, an interdisciplinary group that works at the interstices of architecture and the social realm. She was a Fellow at the Graduate school at Berlin University of the Arts and Saari Residence in Mynämäki, Finland. She was awarded the Vilém Flusser Residency for Artistic Research and has realised a residency project with M-Cult in Maunula, Helsinki. Among others, her work has been shown at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, transmediale festival in Berlin, Athens Biennial, Thailand Biennial, Moscow Biennial for Young Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki, and a major exhibition, ‘A Thousand Doors’, curated by Whitechapel Gallery. Since 2018 she is a professor at Hochschule für bildende Künste (HFBK), Hamburg. www.valentinakarga.com
Banana Mummy is co-curated by Jussi Koitela and Petronella Grönroos and produced by Petronella Grönroos for Photographic Gallery Hippolyte.
Some of the artworks in the show are created in collaboration with illustrator Amina Bouajila, choreographer Polyxeni Angelidou, and sound artist HILDA T.
Exhibition features in Hippolyte Studio designed by Paul Flanders.
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte
Open: Tue-Fri 12-17, Sat-Sun 12-16
images: Valentina Karga, Banana Mummy, 2019