From ancient entombed terracotta soldiers until today, rulers have employed masses whose power lay not in kinetic, but in semiotic force. Büttner’s work, which borrows its title from Hannah Black, is concerned with representations of violence. The installation comprises seven sculptures formed out of different earths, each of which has the skeleton of a machine underneath. The sculptures resemble a mixture between sci-fi warriors or riot police and terra- cotta soldiers turned upside down on their heads. They respond, by starting to vibrate and shake, into a world of algorithms and networks that has lost control or turned violent, unleashing a kind of Golem in the form of a machine.

Johannes Büttner (b. 1985, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) is working in the tradition of performance and social organisation. He explores the generalised precarity of our age: whether through considerations of energy, urbanity, new agism, esotericism or global and political crises. The relationship between human and mechanised labour is a recurring motif throughout his installations and performances, and serves as a starting point for the creation of his own narratives. He participated in exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2018), at La Panacée in Montpellier (2018) and at Basis in Frankfurt am Main (2017). In 2018, he had solo exhibitions at Kunstraum C28 in Hanover and at Simultanhalle in Cologne. He showed performances at the Stedelijk Museum (2017), the De Appel Art Center (2017) and the Art Weekend (2017) in Amsterdam.


The possibility of another life expresses itself directly in a cop car on fire and obliquely in the faces of my friends, 2019
Installation (earth, clay, ashes, dust, natural pigments, water, scrap metal, calcium sulphate, copper, motors, algorithm, Arduino, sound fragments in collaboration with Philipp Welzenberg and UBX127)
Dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Presented with the support of Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

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