Something is happening that is not happening
Valérie Kolakis

May 10–June 9, 2007

What happens and what isn’t happening is a matter of scale. In Valérie Kolakis’ first solo exhibition in Berlin, the visitor is confounded with a seemingly empty gallery space. Working with ideas of repetition to transfigure our habits of perception, Kolakis presents pieces that appear to shift in form and materiality, standing at a fragile balance between the visible and the invisible, the familiar and the strangely disquieting. As the visitor acclimates to the room, what first appears as bare walls and blank surfaces reveals traces of obsessive, repetitive processes. Acting with and onto the architecture of the space, this exhibition is an interplay of parts that fluctuate between something seen as a collection of disparate parts and an integrated whole.

In Something is happening that is not happening, Kolakis presents new and previously shown work, including a large-scale site-specific installation comprised of 27,615 wax casts of the artist's finger. The multiples were created as slight variations of the original, becoming not a repetition of sameness, but rather a repetition of difference. The distinction between the original and the copy is blurred by the slight variations in each replication, challenging what is seen, conceptualized and experienced.

An accumulative, repetitive and obsessive process is also applied towards a new video featuring a continuous stream of visitors entering through a window of PROGRAM’s residency space. This video, like most of the works presented in the exhibition, is a build up in time, through time, defined by not only space and form, but by the light that passes over it and becomes a constitutive factor for it.

Other objects attaching themselves to the space appear to shift in form and materiality. Styrofoam packaging turns into marble, a gray sheet of paper dissolves into tiny circles, and a white surface becomes a constellation of holes. The shift between the physical and immaterial qualities of these objects questions the immutability of our fundamental assumptions.

Valérie Kolakis ( received her BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia Univerity, Montréal, Québec, Canada (1990). Recent exhibitions include: Biennale Nationale de Sculpture Contemporaine (Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada. 2006), Kunsthaus Baselland (Basel, Switzerland, 2006), Kunsthaus L6 (Freiburg, Germany. 2006), Skulpturhalle (Basel, Switzerland, 2007). Residencies include: La Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris, France, 2003), The Christoph-Merian Foundation, iaab (Basel, Switzerland, 2006). Kolakis has been in residency at PROGRAM since January 2007.

The exhibition was made possible through the support from the Vertretung der Regierung von Québec in Berlin, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Special thanks to Marie-Elisabeth Räkel, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton, Eve K. Tremblay, Mimi Kolakis, Paul Landon, and to everyone who came in through the window.



press release 07.05.2007 [pdf]

Valerie Kolakis

"Das Weben der Penelope"
artnet, 18.05.07, Max Glauner