Galerie U Dobrého pastýře 27 03 — 06 07
Opening — 26 03 2024

 “XYZYGY”, in English “syzygy”, in Czech “syzygie”, stands for close union. In astronomy, the term is often used in connection with a straightforward configuration of celestial bodies, for example when the Sun, Earth and Moon are in conjunction, resulting in an eclipse. How can we relate this phenomenon to the concept of this exhibition? It might relate to the exhibition installation itself, where multiple bodies, objects or elements are grouped together to form a whole, thus building on each other as well as overlapping. Just as syzygy is only a temporary configuration, the physical and chemical phenomena and their representations referenced by the artist are temporary and short-lived. The performativity of matter, something that irretrievably escapes in time is suspended here precisely in order to make us aware of its, and therefore our, transience, the constant cycle and transformation of the material world. Specifically, the exhibition discusses four different chemical elements, three of which exist (helium, tin, and calcium) and one that does not exist but is predicted and so far unsuccessfully developed in laboratories (tentatively called ununennium). Calcium cannot be alone and binds to other elements, helium reserves are irretrievably leaking into space somewhere, and ununennium, the much anticipated new element that already has a saved spot in the chemical table of elements, will break down into more stable molecules almost immediately after its presumed extraction. Who would have expected there to be so much sadness in chemistry? 

The scientific endeavor to create ununennium, an element with no further use, no possibility of stabilization or subsequent study (it would decay in a matter of milliseconds), is a fascinating balancing act between fiction and reality, failure and ambition, and between admiration for the “control over matter” and fear of the possible consequences of such experimentation. For the author, ununennium is a concept in which the future, fiction and reality are very clearly intertwined. It tells us about its “radioactive” dream of its own violent birth and subsequent disintegration.  

Ununennium thus acts as a temperamental agent referencing a world in which all ontological boundaries are permeable and can be crossed under certain conditions. It is a world of becoming and metamorphosis that inevitably reveals a rich interplay of atomic, cosmic, and entropic implications.

Syzygy also concerns the awareness of the adjacency of micro and macro perspectives, of distance and unity, of the permeability of the inanimate with the animate, of speculation and lived experience, of our bodies and something that is outside.  Then it does not strike us as absurd that the person and the plaster on the wall of the room have so much in common and the dissociation between us and them disappears. In a posthumanist configuration, minerals, shells, eggshells, plaster casts or human and animal bones are placed side by side in the exhibition, without any privileged position being attributed to the human element. Calcium “equally” flourishes gracefully through the shell of a hen’s egg and a human femur. And it is actually logical that this thinking about matter and its transformation is addressed by Annetta in an object-oriented way, that is, in a medium that inherently addresses the transformation of material. To predict the “body” of ununennium, the author uses tin, a supposedly beautiful docile metal with an atomic number of 50 (the “magic number” in nuclear physics), rendering it the element with the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table. Using the technique of molybdomancy, the casting of molten tin into water, she searches for clues hinting at the (element’s) uncertain future in abstract shapes.  

Sculpture is an opportunity for her to create through a chaotic, random, and experimental process. It is a way to fantasize about hypothetical (theoretical, imaginary) elements through art. According to the artist’s prediction (divination) using tin, ununennium flows and blooms at the same time, pretending to have bones with wings and claws.

Another possible syzygy is the overlapping of approaches in knowledge and interpretation of the world that do not usually “play” together, such as rationality, intuition, spirituality and art. Science is heterogeneous and ambiguous, and therefore fun and stimulating. Thus, in the exhibition, the chemical elements have human attributes: the eyes of calcium look out into space, the ununennium has a mouth speaking with a childlike and at the same time machine-like voice, atomic explosions are almost-children and almost-animals, and the body of helium resembles a kind of bodily organ with a smoky surface. These anthropomorphized elements are both a “hook” that can reliably draw the viewer’s fascination and an upset to the (apparent) rigor and elitism of science.  Thus, the audience does not necessarily need to know the set of scientific and social discursive referents that the author employs; they can imagine and create their own associations and stories. The key is to attune the viewer to a sensitive and unselfconscious observation of what surrounds and connects us.




Martin Piaček
Anca Poterasu gallery Bucharest
Kubicek Factory s.r.o.