In her photography, Luise Marchand (born 1987 in Blankenburg (Harz)) draws on an aesthetics and a visual vocabulary that remind the viewer of the advertising industry. The collision of organic and artificial elements is central to her work. In her images she shows us all kinds of accessories for self-optimization along with the imperfectibility of transient things like the human body. Luise Marchand lives and works in Berlin. In 2019 she received the Leipzig-based G2 Kunsthalle Art Prize. She was a recipient of the Kunstverein Hannover’s Atelier Scholarship Villa Minimo in 2020. In the same year she received the Wüstenrot Foundation’s award for documentary photography. Most recently her series of photographs titled Zeit ist Geld – Eine Schnecke ist eine Schnecke was shown as posters on public advertising panels during the Gallery Weekend in Berlin.
Time is Money – A Snail is a Snail
Luise Marchand observed snails as they dragged their bodies across notes and coins, climbing up the folds and stacks, while gingerly and yet full of curiosity stretching out their feelers. With their flat planes of light colour, the images she captured of these scenes remind the viewer of stock photography. Grouped under the didactic title Time is Money, the photographs of the snails in their landscape made of money could indeed serve as effective illustrations for advertisements or news reports. And yet the combination of snails and money is not quite as frictionless as one might initially presume; it actually creates all kinds of problems. Because it seems that each of the two elements develops a number of characteristics that only become apparent in their unlikely encounter. Perhaps it could be compared to that sensation in your mouth when you eat a soft-boiled egg with a silver spoon. Each in their own right, snails and money are acceptable. We are used to thinking of their origins in nature or civilization as separate. Luise Marchand’s snails drag themselves across notes and coins as they usually would across grass and fallen fruit. That this warm and slimy act of contact, ultimately a touch that devours, is being performed with agents of the market economy – of all things – makes it into something sexual with an unsettling effect. Notes and coins are anal objects. The cultural practice from which they originate is based on the moral values of work ethic and frugality. People cling to notes and coins, they hoard them, even after the digital age has brought about the dissolution of their paper and metal forms. Notes and coins indeed do not belong to a snail’s natural environment, nor do they belong to the part of everyday human life in which snails are interested in. As the clearly most primary natural element in the images, the snails creep across the most mediated (or estranged) part of a culture.
Post-industrial society has lost its grip on notions of work, rest and leisure.The rise of immaterial labour has been met with a growing optimisation of the individual, a continuous variable with multiple presences and temporalities-The prevalence tide of mixed, private- professional engagement forces us to be always, all ways, switched on. What does this mean for our intimate lives, our privacy and our integrity? Our needs and desires are changing, as are our values. Well, the signs, the prospects, the indications are good. Good for what, for whom? Ask the objects that surround us, that serve us and distract us on a daily basis. Objects that perform so that we can too. They help us tend toour delicate, docile bodies so we can stay in the race, multi-tasking and mobile. Carefully compartmentalised, even our te- ars are ergonomic these days. Kinesio tape on the shoulder replaces a warm hand, a touch helping us keep it together. As technologies of self-regulation and -exploitation are condensed and dispersed through our mental, emotion and physical lives, we’d better stay on the good side of these gadgets and tools.
Power Of We
POW – The Power of We, HGB Galerie, Leipzig
ACTS OF RESPONSIVNESS, Torrance Shipmann Gallery, New York, USA
Bye Body, Bye, Galerie Greener as Gras, Spinnerei, Leipzig
Verletzbare Subjekte, Zentrum für aktuelle Kunst, Zitadelle, Berlin
Junge Kunst aus Düsseldorf, Stadtgalerie Kaarst, Düsseldorf
Tender Buttons, Künstlerhaus Bremen
Touch, nGbK, Berlin
Object Lessons, Leipzig Kunstverein, Leipzig
Kombi 5, Bethanien Art Center, Berlin
Situationists/Flesh, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Schweiz