Uta Eisenreich's A NOT B

Issue no5
Oct-Nov 2021

Uta Eisenreich and Metropolis M met for the first time on the cover of the games issue (2009, nr. 5). A die, a burnt match and a ladybug against a black backdrop, with the uncomplicated title Würfel (Die). A simple yet perfectly balanced composition. I immediately became a fan of Eisenreich’s work.

After that, I kept running into her work: in May at the Art Amsterdam fair with a solo presentation at Ellen de Bruijne Projects and in June at a performance night at Nieuwe Vide in Haarlem.

Just recently her book A NOT B was published, designed by Julia Born. The book showcases a selection of still-life photographs of various collections of domestic objects. Alternating art historical references and optical illusions with ‘spot-the-difference’ puzzles, the images display Eisenreich’s distinctive play on logic and common sense.

As a rule, Eisenreich solely works with everyday objects that can be found in any given living room or kitchen – eggs, matches, paper, ladybugs – that have no functional relationship whatsoever. However, the objects are organized in a way that seems ‘logically’ cohesive. The depicted scenes are carefully photographed from an exact angle, the click of the camera their long awaited moment of release.

Short captions accompany the photographs. To go along with a bruised peach and a deflated football: ‘What did the football say to the peach?’. A title that reads like a typical what-did-the-so-and-so-say-to-the-so-and-so gag.

Some captions contain a comic lightness while others are quotes from academic or philosophical texts, and thus provide a glimpse into Eisenreich’s theoretical background. ‘It is necessary to imagine other principles, even those which appear inapplicable, by means of which the game would become pure. There are no preexisting rules; it bears upon its own rule’, is a quote from a passage from Deleuze’s Logique du Sens (1969) in which he explains ‘the ideal game’ after a scene from Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Here Eisenreich’s affection for chaos is demonstrated. Or at least, that which we can imagine in terms of the Deleuzian orderly disorder she quotes.

A NOT B illustrates Eisenreich’s on-going urge to balance between sense and non-sense, the idiocy of putting things in order and the pleasant tranquillity that also comes with it. The arrangements are played out on an associative level, which makes them as surprising as recognizable, without you being able to put your finger on exactly why. An irrational order which evokes the feeling of familiarity.

A NOT B / Uta Eisenreich costs €32,00, Roma Publishers, ISBN: 978-90-77459-46-1

You can now buy the edition Bug, Die, Match, a photograph Uta Eisenreich exclusively selected for METROPOLIS M, at our webshop.

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 5 — 2021