Galerie Wagner + Partner
 Galerie Wagner + Partner

Sophia Pompéry

Berkeley's Cat

10/23/2015 – 12/5/2015

During the Artist Talk on 18th November Maurin Dietrich (KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin) reasoned with Sophia Pompéry about speed, the analogue and the deceptiveness of perception.

With Berkeleys Katze (Berkeley’s Cat), WAGNER + PARTNER is pleased to present Berlin artist Sophia Pompéry’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition presents a series of works in differing media – installations, video and photography – that reflect upon the elements water and fire.

Sophia Pompéry (*1984) began her career as one of the first students of the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), under the direction of Olafur Eliasson. Her work has shown at the Stedelijk Museum, the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Akademie der Künste Berlin and at the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, amongst others – and thesesubtle and ambiguous works have their origin in scientific observations. Pompéry explores this comprehensively from a perceptual perspective: with a penchant for the absurd she illustrates the unreliability, ambivalence and conundrum of perception. Media reversal and transformation are important aspects in Pompéry’s minimalist and refined works, which astutely bridge the fields of art, philosophy and physics. Almost incidentally and with a unique formality, Pompéry utilises everyday phenomena to illuminate great philosophical questions.

With this in mind the exhibition title Berkeley’s Cat is inspired by George Berkeley, an Age of Enlightenment sensualistic philosopher who proposed that ‘being’ is fundamentally linked to ‘perception’. In so doing he examined the question, whether a cat is still a cat if it swells to the size of an elephant and if one were able to reach through it. What then, is the essence of an object that we perceive? This question is approached playfully through several works via the complementary elements fire and water: in the installation Plopp Plopp a magically lit bathtub fills itself with milk dripping from the ceiling. Palindrom (palindrome) is the title given to a kind of seesaw made from two candles, whose longest part tilts down so that it burns quicker and hence the shortest part tips upwards etc."Water in the boat" means normally that a ship is sinking, but in Dry Run the boat is carried by the water. Pompéry’s titles allude to a deeper philosophical level of a work, for example in the video Sheherazade, in which a water surface is filmed in a contemplative manner. However upon a closer look, one sees the fishing line that is almost hidden in the water depths after a catch. The photographic series Stilles Wasser is a play on perceptual illusions with respect to a simple water glass that appears to either hover above a table edge or throws an impossible shadow.