Blick in die Ausstellung
Project #5: Nicole FehlingDavisKlemmGallery Projektraum, Kirchstraße 4, 65239 Hochheim am Main
Project #5: Nicole Fehling
Paper is fragile. It's easy to work with. It can be found in everyday packaging in a wide variety of forms. As a "disposable material", the value of paper in its existence as a protection for high-quality products is assessed as rather low. However, as in many other areas, the corona crisis also triggered a “paper crisis”. The supply shortage made it clear that paper is by no means a readily available material. Luckily, the artist was able to get hold of enough sheets of her favorite 130g/m² paper in the exact shade of white that makes a stack of plain cardboard boxes shine.
Nicole Fehling (*1969) studied communication design in Wiesbaden and then visual arts with Prof. Knoche-Wendel at the Art Academy in Mainz. Various work grants in Wiesbaden, most recently since 2020 from the Wiesbaden Artists' Association, enable her to concentrate on the topic that concerns her in all her work: packaging. Central aspects are, for example, industrial versus individual production methods and areas of tension between order and chaos, but also very personal meanings of packaging in everyday life.
Instead of being made by machine like their role models in the packaging industry, each individual box is made by hand. The artist not only does the folding, but also the cutting from the sheets of paper. Why? Because a machine cannot achieve the perfection that the artist can achieve by hand. Because the routine work triggers a meditative monotony that turns the mass of identical products into a series of individual objects. The contrast between perfect serial production and an individual object intrigues the artist. The automatism of our everyday consumption, which looks at an installation with five boxes in a similar way to one with 500 boxes, is put in question. Do we really need the 495 additional boxes? The greed for more, deliberately triggered by online shops or caused by a crisis, is exposed as unnecessary and unreflected in view of the complex production.
Packaging is omnipresent in our everyday lives. At least since the exaltation of consumer products in Pop Art, for example by Andy Warhol, packaging has also been relevant in art. Instead of adopting advertising aesthetics, Nicole Fehling reduces packaging to its pure external form. This empty shell loses the prestigious character that a Chanel sign might lend to packaging. Her preference for a material that is perceived as cheap, such as paper, places Nicole Fehling conceptually, if not aesthetically, in the tradition of Arte Povera. Her installation oscillates between putting emphasis on form and production on the one hand and cheap disposable material on the other.
Empty boxes are stacked almost to the ceiling.The towers seem to represent an abundance of material. But without content, the towers become even more fragile. A gust of wind can knock them over. The shape of these boxes is strangely familiar due to the corona crisis: the packaging of surgical masks in packs of 50 can not only be found in doctor's offices and in public facilities, but also in supermarkets - and they have even become a familiar sight at home. The shortage at the beginning of the pandemic has now turned into an abundance, which is noticeable in discarded or lost masks on the side of the road. Nicole Fehring shows us how the last two years have not only influenced our consumer behavior, but also our viewing habits.
The 20 m² room, in which pens and exercise books were previously sold, is now available to artists from the DavisKlemmGallery as a project space. Instead of regular but limited opening times, the room can be viewed around the clock: the entire room and thus the project can be viewed at all times thanks to the large window front. Changing projects, installations, works of art and artists can be discovered here. The current presentation will be on view until June 6, 2022.