GALERIE M+R FRICKE
9. MAI BIS 12. JUNI 2008
INVALIDENSTRASSE 114, BERLIN
“Right and left, through the glass walls I seem to see myself, my room, my clothes, my movements – repeated a thousand times. This gave me new courage. I felt myself to be part of a mighty, unified organism.” (Yevgeny Zamyatin. We, written 1921)
At least since Orwell’s 1984, discussion about the constant evolution of surveillance techniques has never halted, though even Orwell could hardly have anticipated the contributions electronics technologies would make to the idea of total surveillance.
Mark Pepper’s work shifts between installation, fiction and reality. In his first solo exhibition at M+R Fricke, Pepper turns the gallery into a public space of a “transparent” present; though not as it was enthusiastically described in Scheerbart’s Glass Architecture (1914). Pepper’s understanding of glass space is derived from the concept of total surveillance, which he defines, mentally and ideally, as glass space. In his installation, the surveillance mechanisms remain invisible to the people in the space. Only seemingly hidden equipment such as monitors on which images could appear and a few other technical details suggest the situation the viewer has walked into. In the installation Augapfel (Eyeball) the space is turned into a cell, which creates antagonistic feelings in the sensitive viewer through the minimal addition of certain attributes – on the one hand, the viewer seems to have entered a publicly accessible space, though the sparseness of this space exerts, on the other hand, an oppressive sense of enclosure, which no longer has anything to do with public space. The transparency between interior and exterior is subtly interrupted on entering the space, since Pepper only suggests the mechanisms that make one aware of the surveillance. Another interpretation is still possible, if unlikely.
The other works that Pepper has made for the exhibition ostensibly follow the same voyeuristic principle as that of the camera. They can be perceived at a distance from the street through the glass of the window. There’s an important difference, however, since they cannot be approached, or “zoomed in” on. There remains a distance; or, developing this thought, the intimate sphere between object and viewer is preserved.