We are proud to present a solo show by Lena Maria Thüring. Known for her videos and installations, which reflect on socio-political conditions and their effects on society, she interrogates social structures, memory, gender, identity, as well as language.
Liquid Connections is a project, that has evolved over several exhibitions, culminating here at the gallery with a video installation and display of recent sculptures. It introduces a setting, which oscillates between the strange and the familiar. The core of the video, in all its iterations, is a dense, poetic text collage; a science-fiction siren’s song of salt, sex, deep-time, life cycles and multispecies thinking. The main protagonist is water, the conductive, generative brine that connects us all. Fluids, both amniotic and fluvial, oceanic and cytoplasmic, flowing, oozing, dripping through the story of life on earth. For “we are all bodies of water” dissolving into each other, an amorphous liquid subjectivity that links us to those “primeval amniotic waters gestating us all”. These quotes are from Thüring’s prose-poem; a ‘prose-poem’ is itself an aberration of genre, an overflow, a transgressive form that deploys thought-rhymes. Thus, images overlap and intertwine with one another, in a “womb of words, womb of worlds”.
The text takes in fragments from earth science studies and climate change research, alongside founding works of feminist science fiction (Octavia Butler, Ursula K. Le Guin) and gender theory (such as Donna Harraway, Astrida Neimanis). All of which is interspersed with infectious refrains from pop songs. These are then delivered with the delirious thrust of a creation myth over a roiling baseline.
The video was filmed in a historic filtration plant and features two tentacular figures, like apparitions from the deep. It evokes a hydro-feminist world – an innovative posthuman feminist phenomenology, developed by Astrida Neimanis – which extends into the gallery space with crescent-shaped elements, that suggest wave movements and a scattered reef of glandular ceramic vessels. All of which is bathed in blue light, in tribute to cyanobacteria, the marine life-form intrinsic to biogeochemical cycles. In Donna Harraway’s words “some of the best thinking is done as storytelling”, fictions have consequences for how we read ourselves into the world we inhabit, a sentiment delivered here with rapturous vehemence. Text by Leila Peacock
Lena Maria Thüring was born in Basel in 1981 and lives and works between Zurich and Basel. In 2014, she graduated from Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Recent solo exhibitions include at Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris, 2019); Kunstmuseum PROGR (Bern, 2015) and Museum für Gegenwartskunst (Basel, 2013). In addition, she has participated in numerous group shows, such as at Kunsthalle Basel (2019); Kunstmuseum Thun (2019); Museum Langmatt (Baden, 2019); Kunsthaus Baselland (2016); Haus der Kulturen (Berlin, 2013); Reina Sofia (Madrid, 2010) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012). Thüring has received several awards, including Werkjahr Zurich (2019); Werkbeitrag, Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt (2018); Werkbeiträge Zurich (2011, 2016); Basel Manor Art Prize (2013) and Kiefer Hablitzel (2009, 2011). Since 2014, she has a teaching position at FHNW/HGK Basel.
The project Liquid Connections was created as a multi-part exhibition, with a different focus for each institution. It was generously supported by: Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung; Fachausschuss Film und Medienkunst BS/BL; Ernst Göhner Stiftung; Fachstelle Kultur Kanton Zürich; Erbprozent Kultur; Erna und Curt Burgauer Stiftung, as well as Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung.
Lena Maria Thüring would like to thank Meret Aebersold, Ahmed Allet, Nora-Swantje Almes, Annette Amberg, Seline Baumgartner, Soraija Baumgartner, Christof Bieli, Kathleen Bühler, Anna Dippert, Malika Fankha, Filter4, FTK Filmtechniker, Kollektiv, Patrischa Freuler, Lucia Gugerli, Chris Handberg, Fred Herrmann, Oliver Herzog, Carlotta Holy-Steinemann, Institut Kunst Basel, Gerrit Jackson, Camille Jamet, Zainab Lascandri, Aline László, Quinn Latimer, Helve Leal, Samira Liebendörfer, Chus Martinez, Noemi Mathis, Ursula Meier, Alexandra Navratil, Leila Peacock, Mirjam Plattner, Franziska Schröder, Studio Pfisterer, Raymond Taudin Chabot, Verena Thüring, Tweaklab, Kristen Vermilyea, videokunst.ch, Alice Wilke and Rosa Wolf.