Simon Martin
7 March – 9 May 2010

With UR Feeling, a lecture at Hermitage, 6 March 2010, 4 pm
Private view: 6 March 2010, 6–8 pm

Simon Martin’s practice could be summed up as a continuing, considered inspection of the significance of our cultural baggage – how it is thought about, displayed, categorised and remembered. Whether painting, sculpture or moving image, Martin’s work examines the relationship society forms not only with its artworks but also (historical) artefacts, human icons (Warhol) and objects of design (Memphis).

Untitled (2010) is a formal study of a sculpture – an African figurine placed next to an organic lemon. The sculpture is empirically investigated, observed, rotated, examined as it hovers between a state of pure objecthood and unblemished representation. It could equally be an advert for the sculpture, with its quick edits moving sleekly across surface of the elusive product. This is clearly an animation and, like a diagram or a sign, an animation has no ‘weight’. Or does it? Untitled transitions from knowing to sensing to not-knowing and back again. Untitled ’s duplicity is echoed by the bronze ‘desk sculpture’ with accompanying real organic lemon, called Untitled (2007). A replica of the same African figurine as depicted in the animation, Untitled, like its counterpart, refuses to become a clear-cut, easily defined object. On the one hand, it touches the familiar as a generic model of an African artefact, perhaps a discreetly decorous souvenir, on the other, in its modest placement, remains unsettlingly enigmatic. There is a hint of inert aggression in its demand for wholeness: without the commitment of he who oversees the work – he who promises to replenish the organic lemon – Untitled is not complete; or simply is not.

‘They will feel in the alleyways something, but it’s not quite medieval and its not quite modern. It’s something else. In other words, my whole idea of affect is that you experience something, you feel something, you see something, but you can’t quite explain it. It has an Ur-dimension to it… something between understanding and not, lets say.’ (Peter Eisenman)

UR Feeling is the title of a lecture or ‘investigation’ by Simon Martin. According to Martin, “the UR Feeling describes a pre- or non-verbal moment of apprehension”. The title is taken from a conversation between the architects Peter Eisenman and Charles Jenks. Eisenman outlines a situation where the plural coding of architectural forms and a careful attention to the social history of a place begin to produce a particular affect on the viewer. For Eisenman these affects appear as ‘texts’ and are intended to be explicit and physical.

The UR Feeling lecture will be held once only, prior to the opening on March 6, 4 pm at the Hermitage, Nieuwe Herengracht 14. Along with Untitled (2010) and Untitled (2007), it forms the third part of the artist’s exhibition at Kunstverein.

Seeing as space is limited for the lecture, please make reservations before 3 March to Kunstverein’s members will have priority.