In Ancient Rome, Solo Show, Inga Danysz
Good Weather, Chicago (USA) 2022
I think the most traumatic scene in Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow', is a scene where juvenile Ichabod Crane sees his mother, condemned as a witch, burst out of an iron maiden drenched in blood, her fresh corpse covered in flies.
When I worked in a torture museum, this horrific device was undoubtedly my favourite. Its questionable authenticity shrouds it in mystery. I can't resist the comparison to Danysz's totemic sculptures. Resembling ancient sarcophagi or some nameless cosmonauts' casket, the works pull me towards the immutable question: what we do in life, does it count in eternity? If these symbols are woven together, forming the DNA of human history and the collective psyche, then Danysz situates herself within the chain.
The Pharaohs decorated their mighty tombs with magic spells to protect their souls in the afterlife. The difference between a baker's corpse and the royal architect's is the quality of the sarcophagus; is it stone or wood, built to last or eventually degrade? Danysz's anachronistic sculptures unite us with these genderless, anonymous shapes. Rendering our bodies equal and cooperative, in an almost communist aesthetic. Imagine shrinking these sculptures to the size of a shabti doll, a sarcophagus shaped miniature buried with the deceased in the hope you would be granted less work in the afterlife. Hundreds of shabti dolls buried in the tombs of the pharaohs suggests even royalty was not exempt of labouring for the gods.
Life extension is today's medical pursuit; I want to escape this posthumous labor a little longer until they find a cure for dying. But unlike cryo-chambers, Danyszs' sarcophagi are minimalist, no spell engravings or high-tech air filtration. Claustrophobic yet open, the presence of the object resonates in a physical and psychic way, similar to her previous works that question the agency of the individual within capitalist systemic infrastructure. In the exhibition, I see a procession of glass handles crawling up the wall to form some kind of transparent ladder. Danysz lures us in with the illusion of climbing the 'social ladder' but in reality, it is fragile, unstable, it's just for show.
'In Ancient Rome' is a playground for associative contradictions. Are they macabre devices or some armoured shield for the body, protecting us from the horrors of the outside world. I see the sculptures as transformational spaces for latent interaction. A magician's box where she lays down and closes out the world, hoping to experience transcendental insight, emerging as someone made anew. In this view, Danysz's specular works do not contain or preserve bodies. They preserve the idea of choice. Whether you see a restrictive or protective space is your choice to make. What meaning or lesson to derive from your life's fable is your decision alone. I hope I slip not into individualist inertia but re-emerge disillusioned of my mortal vanity. I don't need this fantasy of eternal life anymore.
Mary Furniss, 2022
Tell me no Lies, Solo Show, Inga Danysz, Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2021)
Further Information (Contemporary Art Daily)
Excerpt of an auxillary text:
In 'Remedies for Vertigo' infrastructure is characterised as an idealised system of control, where water and bodies and thoughts all run in the designated direction. But that's not how I feel. I am the scum in the pipe. An artist that pays low taxes, gets fired for drinking on the job, lives off benefits sometimes and I go backwards more often than forwards. I'm hard for this immaculate tube to digest. Perhaps I should censor myself, be pristine and clean and go along with the current...
Although the glass drain pipe gracefully, and almost imperceptibly, weaves itself around the exhibition space, it feels like a spatio-temporal contraction, slowly tightening itself around me. The pipes subtly dominate the space and slowly I begin to internalise the direction it has laid out before me. I want to know where it ends. Maybe it never ends. Perhaps it is designed to keep me going forward, prescribe me the right choice to make and give me function and stability when the world outside is spinning out of control.
Mary Furniss, 2021
'Remedies for Vertigo'
Solo Show, Inga Danysz, Goeben, Berlin (DE) 2021
Group Show, HKW, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (DE) 2021
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'Die Freiheit, die wir meinen'
Group Show with Eva Barto, Tyler Coburn, Marie Cool Fabio Balducci and Adriana Lara, Kunstverein Bielefeld, Bielefeld (DE) 2019 - 2020
Group Show with Ron Ewert, Amy Garofano, and Matt Siegle, Good Weather, Chicago (US) 2019
Further Information (Mousse Magazine)
'Impostures', Inga Danysz. Solo Show, VIS, Hamburg, DE (2018)
'The Italian Machine', Performance, Installation
Group Show 'Laboratorio Aperto', Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como (IT) 2018
Lecture 'The End is Always at The Beginning', Robert Johnson, Offenbach am Main (DE) 2019
Selected Images, Deep State, De Ateliers, Amsterdam (NL) 2017
Solo Show 'Insufficient Funds', Kunstverein Reutlingen (DE) 2016
Further images from the group show 'Slow Works', Sydney, Sydney (AUS) 2016
Group show 'Is the peacock merely beautiful or also honest?', fffriedrich, Frankfurt (DE) 2016
Public Sculpture 'Color Fields', Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitaetsklinikum Frankfurt am Main (DE) 2016; Pictures: Inga Danysz, Nadja Angermann (2017-2018)
Selection of past work and projects:
Alone Again Or, Solo Show, Schmidt&Handrup, Cologne (2014)
Performance by the Pure Fiction Seminar, Portikus, Frankfurt (2012)
Further Information (Portikus)