by Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky

Opening | Saturday, 04 February 2017, 7pm
Exhibition | 08.02. - 18.03.2017

Holding the title of desert warrior, the cactus alters human consciousness, offers moments of contemplation, protects and ornaments shop-windows and waiting rooms, it dances on TV shows, where it also seems to speak Mexican, if not Japanese… As a tragic-comic figure, it cannot escape the laws that bond it to both natural and artificial grounds. Is it its prickly costume of an eternal "guerrero" - frozen in a position of “self-defence” - that manifests its more evident “self”? What gives humans the desire to recognise it as a possible “alter ego”? A bold accomplice for resistance?

From fable to farce, the exhibition Inter-passion by the artist and filmmaker duo Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, presents the first act of a project which explore the rather not known but quite common relationship, “kin(d)ship”, between human and cactus. By looking at the inter-relation or rather inter-passion of humans for this plant, i.e. how the cactus' form and materiality can affect human actions and passions, the artists have investigated the subversive potential of representations of this relationship. They reveal shifts of perspectives, roles and power-positions, through methods of mimicking, teaching and possessing. What is at stake here is a double mirroring in which the cactus is “humanised” and the human is “cactus-ised”.


Driven by a tension between botamorphism and phytocentrism, the exhibition draws a “derive” into various extraordinary geographies (from the Yakushima Forest to the Sonoran Desert) and connects both different kinds of minor stories and global gestures.

On display is their most recent film Conversation with a Cactus, shot in Japan (2017, 45min), and other "narrative nuclei" – installations mixing moving image (Hdv, celluloid film) postcards and movable mechanisms – that extend rhetoric aspects and metaphoric signs present in the film's cosmology. Florenty & Türkowsky’s narrative threads entangle discursive as well as sensual elements on a platform of fictional, documentary and performative modes of representation. The two artists focus on the verge of a visible world and its withdrawal, questioning the modern separation between the human and the non human, the animate and the inanimate, the verbal and the non verbal. Looking at mechanisms of survival and possible forms of resistance, it is through the figure of the marginal that they connect to a subterranean yet extraordinary community of thoughts and affects.
Conversation with a Cactus trailer: https://vimeo.com/202474177


Elise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky, Fusuma Bolide (The fall of Cacti into modernity#1), 2017, aluminium, HD print, wood, coloured plexiglas, mirros, 10 x 40 x 6 cm. Photo: Andres Galeano

Elise Florenty
(b. 1978 in Pessac, FR) and Marcel Türkowsky (b. 1978 in Berlin, DE) live and work in Berlin. Studies in Theory of Cinema/Visual Arts (Nouvelle Sorbonne, Cergy-Paris Art School) and Ethnomusicology/Philosophy/Sound Studies (Humboldt University, UDK - Berlin University of the Arts). Since 2009 they are working together as artists/filmmaker duo, exploring the multiplicity of the self through a spiral of metamorphoses that interrogate our power relation - always shifting - to the Other. Major exhibitions include: Through Somnambular Laws, Le Plateau Paris, How To Awaken The Spectrum In Between, Izolyatsia Foundation, A Walking Paradox, Kinderhook & Caracas, Berlin, Hostipitalite, Iselp Brussels, Void of Memory, PLATFORM Seoul, Wheels of Memory, La Synagogue art centre Delme, Life Ticket, Les Églises art centre, Color Blind In Eight Crises, CAC Passage, among others. Their work has been showcased both in art venues and international Film Festivals such as FID Marseille, Centre Pompidou - Hors Pistes, IFF Rotterdam, DocLisboa, Torino Film Festival, Ann Arbor FF, EMAF, CCCB Barcelona, MAF Tokyo, BERWICK, FIC Valdivia, NFF London, CAPC Bordeaux, MAMCO Geneve, Palais de Tokyo Paris, Crédakino d'Ivry, Passerelle - Centre d’art contemporain Brest, CAC Vilnius, Muzeum Sztuki Łódź, La Triennale di Milano, MATADERO Madrid, Museu da Repùblica, Rio De Janeiro, among others. In 2014, their Film The Sun Experiment (Ether Echoes) received the EMAF Award.

1 / Florenty&Türkowsky, Conversation with a Cactus, 2017, Film Still. Courtesy the artists. 2 / Florenty&Türkowsky, Blade Gesture., 2017 Courtesy the artists. 3 / Florenty&Türkowsky, K Atlas©Marc Domage, 2017. Courtesy the artists and Grimmuseum.