<September, 2017>

  • 2 - 9Erin Mitchell – Uncanny Valley
    Exhibition Opening Reception: Sept. 1st, 6-9pm

    Event Details

    September 2-9, 2017, SomoS Art House Berlin presents the installation “Uncanny Valley” by Artist-in-Residence Erin Mitchell (USA).

    An extension of her previous two-dimensional work, “Uncanny Valley” continues to explore the relationships between humans and technology.

    The term “Uncanny Valley” was originally coined in 1970s Japan by robotics professor Masahiro Mori, it describes the eerie likeness of human-like AI and robotics, often contributing to a sense of uneasiness and revulsion towards the likeness instead of affinity. Nowadays, with the rise of VR technologies, it seems to be gaining more popularity, especially as a way to describe the verisimilitude between our actual and virtual realities.

    The exploration of this tension lies at the core of Erin Mitchell’s work, which consistantly ponders the relationship between humans and technology.

    Mitchell will transform the gallery space into an immersive installation that reanimates the idealized and commodified natural landscapes of our screensavers and desktop wallpapers. It will bring these peripheral background images to the forefront of our attention and create an entirely new experience that questions our physical and virtual understanding of space and environment. Using the human body as an intellectual and manual filter, it will demonstrate new subversive paths for agency in the digital age, ideally encouraging others to question their own relationships with personal technology and redefine their perspectives and movements within these two often competing realities.

    As Mitchell puts it,

    My ultimate goal with the installation is to play within and challenge this verisimilitude while hinting at the very tangible realities of the virtual spaces we navigate on a daily basis. Using the trope of the romanticized stock photo landscapes of our computer desktop backgrounds, I want to attract attention to the irony and contradictions within these hyper-idealized photographs of natural environments and the disconnect between their imagery and our actual physical environments.

    By performing a series of “meta” and somewhat liminal translations of an epitomized background image—from digital image to physical adaptation in the gallery space to putting a digital capture of the transformed physical space back into the computer—the installation will play with the ideas of digital versus physical, embodied versus disembodied, and virtual versus tangible realities (and perhaps what it means to be between these disparate modes of being all the time, or to be in both at once).

    In the material adaptation of the digital image into physical space, I’m also interested in addressing that, however intangible, technology and the systems it inhabits have very concrete effects in the physical world. While companies in the technology industry inspire us with breathtaking images of soaring mountains, swelling waves, lush forests, and saturated sunsets in their marketing campaigns and pre-loaded onto their products, they are making these positive visual associations to motivate us to buy their products. These images, like the devices and software these companies sell, become themselves a commodity. Is nature just another product for us to consume without conscience or consequence?

    To me, the commodification of these images is no different from the traditional structures of advanced capitalism in which they’re situated. Much like we use wood—from trees like those depicted here—as a natural resource and a commodity, we likewise buy into and consume these images. In addition to calling attention to the differences between virtual and physical spaces, the imagery I’ve selected here is also very intentional. Depicting a natural resource we commodify in numerous ways, I want to call attention to the similarities between new modes of consumption via technology and the way we understand consumerism in a concrete sense.

    I also think about the rising urgency of climate change, and how strange it is, that in a time where it’s so important to be connected to our natural environments, we seem to become more and more disconnected. We’re more consumers of our environments than stewards of them.

    Erin Mitchell, Artist’s Statement


    About the Artist:

    After earning a BFA in Printmaking and Drawing from the Washington University in St. Louis in 2011, Erin Mitchell’s work has been featured in a considerable number of exhibitions worldwide. Her latest solo exhibition is “Virtual Prism” at the Hang Art Gallery in San Francisco, California (2015).

    Working with a wide range of media and materials such as printmaking and drawing, her works investigate the intimate relationship between human beings and personal technology. Referring to the ever-changing and expanding digital world, Erin’s works reflect her attempt in explaining how virtual activity exerts influence on our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

    Erin Mitchell – Uncanny Valley
    Open: September 2-9, 2017, Tue-Sa 2-7pm
    Exhibition Opening Reception: Sept. 1st, 6-9pm
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      2 (Saturday) - 9 (Saturday)


      Kottbusser Damm 95 - Berlin DE

    1. 26 - 29Adam Cohn – Surface & Depth
      Opening: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 6-9pm

      Event Details

      SomoS is delighted to announce the final presentation of painter Adam Cohn‘s work as his two month artist residency at SomoS comes to an end.

      Cohn will present a group of new paintings which will address the interaction between figuration and abstraction, surface and depth, and the juxtaposition between traditional painting themes as they are realized within a contemporary context.

      Using Photoshop collages of photographs he made of his immediate surroundings as reference for his mainly large scale canvasses, Cohn is fascinated by the dual experience painting offers: the image and the surface. For him, the image has always been a less imposing factor. As he puts it: “What attracted me to abstract painters like de Stael, de Kooning, Gorky is that they allow one to just look at the painted surface with no image to hold on to. In more contemporary works such as Adrian Ghenie or Justin Mortimer I found a fusion of the two worlds that really struck me as very close to my vision.” A range of techniques applied over the same canvas results in varying levels of abstraction, and a multiphasic surface that demands up-close inspection.

      By upsetting conventions of traditional painting—such as the prioritization of the figure and the sanctity of the subject—with these abstract incursions, Cohn builds a sense of unease, disorientation, and displacement. The obfuscation effectively creates an eerie dissonance between what we see and what we could be missing. Uncomfortable arrangements of bodies, with limbs all akimbo, encourage suspicions that we are witnessing something dangerous or violent that has either just occurred, or is abruptly about to occur; that these figures are frozen in a discomfitingly pregnant pause.

      For him, the figure’s function is to “glue” the other aspects of the painting together, such as surrounding—be it a landscape, cityscape or interior—and their connection to some other element in the image—another figure, a color, a shape. In a neo-traditionalist fashion, Cohn experiences a visceral and intuitive interaction with the more traditionally painted figures, and as they evolve over repeated reworkings, the paintings create a further distance from their art historical references, firmly planting them in the contemporary moment with their hybrid status, an ode to the fugue of hypermediated living.

      Adam Cohn - Surface & Depth
      Adam Cohn in his SomoS studio, August 2017

      About Adam Cohn

      Born 1983 in Israel, living and working in Tel Aviv, Adam Cohn is a visual artist/educator working in painting and sculpture. He received his art education from the Jerusalem Studio School, Jerusalem, Israel (2004-2008), and the Arts Students League, New York, USA (2010-2011) studying sculpture with Jonathan Shan. Between 2007-2012, he has taught drawing at various art educational establishments; and since 2012 teaches at Hatahana School for Painting and Drawing, Avni Institute. His solo exhibitions include two presentations at the Hatahana Gallery, Tel Aviv in 2013 and 2014, curated by Liza Gershuni; and a 2009 show at Hamila Gallery, Harduf, Israel. Between 2008 and 2016, Cohn has taken part in Tel Aviv group shows at Liza Gershuni Gallery, Hanina Gallery, Hatahana Gallery, and Gallery 33. His work is represented in the Dubbi Shiff Art Collection, Marina Hotel, Tel Aviv, and private collections in the UK, USA, and Israel.

      Opening: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 6-9PM
      Open: September 27-29, 2017 from 2-7pm and by appointment

      Adam Cohn artist page
      Adam Cohn interview
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      [ics_button subject=”Adam Cohn (IL) – Surface & Depth” description=”Opening reception of Artist-in-Residence work presentation” location=”SomoS,Kottbusser Damm 95, 1OG, 10967 Berlin” start-date=”2017-9-26 18:00″ end-date=”2017-9-26 21:00″]Add to calendar[/ics_button]
      Photos: Zack Soltes

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        26 (Tuesday) - 29 (Friday)


        Kottbusser Damm 95 - Berlin DE

      1. 30Unbound – Amphi
        interactive work presentation, reading, Q&A
        7pm - 9pm

        Event Details

        On September 30th, 7-9pm, SomoS hosts a multimedia experience led by current Artist-in-Residence Amphi:Tryon as she concludes an intensive two-month residency at SomoS.

        Central themes to Amphi’s past and present work include the unique relationship between art, politics, and spirituality as they are framed within a feminist, post-colonial context. The continuation of her novel-in-progress, the medium by which she has chosen to analyze these themes, has been the fulcrum on which her creative inquiries at SomoS were based. The novel specifically focuses on the lives and perceptions of two women of color, who after going through traumatic experiences, go through a journey of self-discovery that leads to empowerment and liberation.

        The event consists of a reading by selected performers of excerpts from her novel, in addition to various multimedia works in both video and sound that work to compliment and give further insight into her writings. Participants and audience members are asked to arrive punctually at 7PM for full participation in the guided experience which will be led by Amphi herself. The event will transpire as follows:

        Part I – Introduction
        Duration: 15 minutes

        Part II – Audio/Visual Experience
        Duration: 15 minutes

        Part III – Reading
        Duration: 20 minutes

        Part IV – Closing Remarks + Q & A
        Duration: 10 minutes

        Amphi is a multi-disciplinary artist combining art –painting & writing- with politics and spirituality. Her work is dedicated to feminist and postcolonial questions. She will present new interactive works and conduct a joint public reading of her novel-in-progress, followed by a Q&A session.

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          30 (Saturday) 7pm - 9pm


          Kottbusser Damm 95 - Berlin DE