Jan Vorisek’s "Rented Bodies"

Julia Moritz

January 29, 2016
Galerie Bernhard, Zürich
December 12, 2015–January 23, 2016

Usually we’re the ones falling into tables. At the opening of Zurich-based artist Jan Vorisek’s first Swiss solo show at Galerie Bernhard on that dark December eve, it was tables that were falling into us. Ouch! And there we were, right in the middle of his ideas, in Rented Bodies (2015), the exhibition’s eponymous installation. Or rather, the tables were right in the middle of us, who loiter around at gallery openings, fetching beer from the fridge to the tables. Yet these tables aren’t tables. They’re Art: dysfunctional mostly, too little, too pretty, too fragile. Or do they seem so just in contrast us being too awkward, tall, dysfunctional all the time, all over the place? It’s this ambiguity that unites us and the tables, in a system of rent, time, and labor on loan from each other, to perform our respective functionalities at the gallery opening, or failing by falling. And so we see much more than tables: Rented Bodies is a whole set of fragile sculptures, 100 percent design products, sampled from gift shops, collected from thrift shops, shop windows, and workshops, meticulously arranged and re-arranged into an environmental assemblage that explores every nook and cranny of the gallery, kinetic and yet barely moving.

Usually Vorisek’s sculptures resound. This quality of his work may be described as an arrested means of performance—repercussioning, reverberating, resonating. Consider, for instance, the metal spinners the artist bought during a residency in China: whip them hard with a lash (as he did for his 2015 performance Whip Top Drone at Forde, Geneva) and they’ll make a gnarly, nearly hallucinatory, vaguely technoid sighing sound. At home in techno culture (as in the series of club nights he organizes with Mathis Altmann and Lhaga Koondhor, called H.O.M.E. [House Of Mixed Emotions]), here, the artist takes his work a step further, unleashing it from all use, keeping the sound to himself, and presenting something more: crumbling boxes of plywood and Plexiglas, sparkly beads, bright white display pads, a lot of metal (not techno)—and still all that resounds. Live in your head (as they say). Traces of fancy, traces of home—like the one we pay rent for, or which we fancy not to, which we may share, with its things, and people.

Usually writing about work or showing work remains work, after all. Both replete with materialist theory—layers of labor woven into and in between letters, or the delicately dialectic bits and pieces that make up Vorisek’s body of work. This show makes a difference. It escapes. It offers the possibility of escape. From what? Take a look at the air-shaft opened in the gallery ceiling, a black square next to neon lights. It’s the escape hatch. Actually, it’s a black hole, sucking up whatever is thrown into it. Well, for a moment (it might also just suck things into some other place). It’s a wormhole, more precisely. A loop hole, perhaps. Or rather: a loop whole. A quintessential place of Vorisek’s installation, where things are, where they are not, where they seem to be, linger, or limbo, and loop on, and on, and in and out of some (not any) body, unusual in tumbling, into tables, that turn, that dance, and keep turning. It’s this very system of rent, of metabolism, in metal, and love. A system of conversion: of interchangeability as agency as such.

Sculpture, Labor & Work

Julia Moritz is an art historian currently employed as Curator of Theory at Kunsthalle Zürich. Her most recent independent work includes the “Young Girl Reading Group Show” at artgenève (January 2016).

RSVP for Jan Vorisek’s “Rented Bodies”
Galerie Bernhard
January 29, 2016

Thank you for your RSVP.

Galerie Bernhard will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.