Forms of Presence
In her exhibition Forms of Presence, Albanian, Berlin-based artist Silva Agostini presents us with two video works and a series of photographs. The content of her work derives from different sets of questions- different observations and various formal decisions, mostly reflecting on the human condition. In order to convey her mindset, in Forms of Presence, Agostini uses found material, choreography and documentary shots. At the core of her artistic practice, we find a profound interest in the human potential and its limitations.
In her video work (A) Current State, the performer is involved in a complex sequence of movements. In doing so, she is not following any sort of direction, coming either from music rhythm, scripted choreography or fellow dancers. Instead, we rather find her exploring her inner impulses, rediscovering the body as a vessel. We encounter a paradox here, a profound paradox of the human condition: while we live through feelings, thoughts and emotions (invisible to us and to the environment surrounding us), the “thing” we act with, is our body and what we show is our skin. Agostini´s video concludes there, on the skin, in very close shots of this tissue that coats us, our visible outside, our recording device. Age and wounds are recorded there, as a remainder of the life we encounter.
In the second video work Journal, Agostini shows us an archeological site on the island of Sardinia, a site, only to be discovered by accident during the Second World War. Later in the 1950-ies, it was explored as a miraculous structure dating circa 4000 years before Christ. The structure of this site remains a mystery since it shows an architectural style only found in former Mesopotamia made of stones that do not locally exist.. It is a platform made of piled up stones, an altar, a ramp, and residues of a dwelling hut scattered all around it. Who built this site and to what purpose? This question remains unanswered. With her video Agostini focuses yet on another condition of the human mind: Journal is the remainder of a declared intention, it is a remainder of decisions we do not understand anymore. Nonetheless, a long time ago, these decisions led to this structure and we still are able to experience it. In juxtaposition to (A) Current State, this work implies the human body as an ephemeral entity, its creation as permanent though mysterious.
Silva Agostini´s captured bits of the world function as signifiers. We see a moving body but are confronted with its inner space. We see shots of an archeological site but are reminded of the people who built it, their legacy. What we experience, can merely stand together as Forms of Presence.
Text by Nina Hoffmann