Underground beings

22.09 — 23.10.2022

In Andrea Scholze's world, you meet varieties of bats, pack animals and solitary figures. Snakes scurrying towards you. Crossbreeds of animals that are a small wolf, rat or hyena? I do not know. The presence of the sculptures means that the feeling of emptiness is deceptive. At the same time, highly alive plants emerge from a lying figure, which appears dead. The plants grow as if they were weeds, independent of living conditions, and are reminiscent of Darwinism's theory of evolution. The exhibition "The ones underground" plays on folk beings who, according to popular belief, lived as invisible creatures in a parallel world to humans, as animals also do. Scholze highlights how animals live side by side with people, and how there are similarities and differences between them and us.

Just as when we animate the objects we use on a daily basis, such as when the mobile phone becomes a living being, the creatures are underground observers, eyewitnesses and informants. Scholze's sculptures are silent observers who strangely follow along. With their hollow eyes and animal-like features, they don't look at you, but approach you anyway. Avoiding eye contact, the aimless expression gives the impression that they appear blind.

At the same time, the massive manifestation of the clearly modeled, heavy bodies makes them feel lifelike. They perceive you the way an animal perceives you in the forest, without you knowing it. In a strange way, they are appealing, but the withdrawn attitude invokes existential thoughts. How could the human dominance from "The Origin of Species" (1859) remain?

The storytelling tradition that was written down from the 19th century says that the ones underground could torment and persecute people. Be it poltergeists or spooks, who took refuge if people violated them. If, on the other hand, you showed respect, they could give help and support, even the sages married young girls.

Andrea Scholze is an artist who is able to create resonance and recognizability. Her characters are witnesses of the times who shine a spotlight on those who are vulnerable. She points to the brutal and vulnerable, strength and powerlessness. The exhibition tells about concerns, but also about justification for existence and new life. "The ones underground" reveals how relationships between humans and animals, dominance, empathy and non-verbal communication are highly relevant.

/ Exhibition text by Line Halvorsen

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