Uncanny and seductive contact zones.

Jeschkelanger is a Berlin based artist duo founded by Anja Langer and Marie Jeschke in 2016. They turn everyday, domestic glass previously used as tables, windows and doors, into installative Contact Zones. These Contact Zones reveal the uncanny and seductive potentials of co-creation. Jeschkelanger's Contact Zones are a meeting point between the two artists on glass, the melting moment between Jeschkelanger's practice with glass and architecture, and the project empty_glass - an encounter with chef Hayk Seirig and invited guests.

In 2019 they founded the company Jeschkelanger GbR as an artistic act of self empowerment with their invented construction material: Basis Rho. This material is created from leftovers of glass from a German glass manufactory. Large, multicolored glass stones in a fine concrete matrix form walls, floors and tables. The glass stones are unused remnants from the projects of renowned artists that utilise glass. This union constitute both a starting point and an archive of projects with architects and designers all initiated by Jeschkelanger. With Basis Rho, the duo evolves another strand around their ongoing research into Contact Zones.

Jeschkelanger, June 2019

Sister’s_reflection

The title (...) refers to lost human connections through the concept of sisterhood, which in feminist discourse raises issues concerning unity. Sisterhood functions as a bond, not only in its literal understanding referring to family relationships but also its metaphorical meaning implying building communities. It signifies the fight for equality and freedom, responsibility for the self and the other. Sisterhood stands for the common, the shared and solidarity with others. In the artistic discourse of Jeschkelanger it operates as a bond, referencing glass that possesses an amorphous structure in which atoms and molecules are not organised in a definite lattice pattern. Seemingly chaotic and brittle, glass is a strong material. Strength is in its DNA. Jeschkelanger are interested in its versatile applications and multidimensionality, which translates into the ethics of their collaboration and the sensibilities that drive them - on one hand toughness, on the other fragility; double-sidedness but also reversibility (and in extension reciprocity) and neutrality; transmissivity but also being impervious to light; (anti)reflexivity, twinkling and forming images.

Bouncing from one another, closeness, intimacy and sisterhood are confronted and embraced in Jeschkelanger’s collaborative practice. Even though individually the artists work across multiple media, they connect through glass, which acts as a transmitter, a site and space for transformation and collaboration enabling a new economy of exchange and hospitality. Jeschkelanger explore the versatility and multiple possibilities enabled by glass as a material, a medium, a method, an artistic practice, a tool, and as they suggest, ‘a melting point’ and ‘a danger zone’, and what they consider ‘a contact zone’. According to them glass promotes equality through its translucency, tastelessness and scentlessness. Their installations include elements of interior architecture such as glass doors, mirrors, windows, and refer to the technical and functional aspects associated with glass, on one hand fragile and easy to break, on the other protective and sometimes dangerous. The artists also use materials associated with domestic spaces such as for example toilet paper, rubber or tape.

In #sister’s reflection, among other concepts and themes Jeschkelanger investigate ways of sharing the world and human connections. These are explored through notions of hospitality and mutual exchange enabled by multitude of perspectives inherent in their transdisciplinary work. Glass table tops used for their evolving since 2017 performative encounters titled Empty_Glass become actants of exchange and ritual of hosting. The artists focus on generous reciprocity, which should be enabled by hospitality. Someone opens themselves up to another person and invites them, hosts, perhaps expecting something in return. Someone else is invited, assuming to being hosted, served and entertained. An encounter follows, most often at a table. One such table once inhabited the shared by Jeschkelanger studio space and initiated their collaboration, later becoming part of a series of their works titled Totos.

Jeschkelanger create a discursive space, which complicates concepts of gendered domesticity and the home. The ideology of hosting is profoundly ambivalent. The well-known phrase ‘make yourself at home’ expressed when welcoming a stranger, on one hand connotes being welcome and comfortable, on the other it invites one to an environment which is inhibited by social codes and strict gender roles performed within a domestic space. It is also associated with power dynamics between the host and the guest(s). Jeschkelanger challenge ideas associated with female hosting and open up space for a future of shared mutual respect, hospitality and connectivity through exchange, embodying feminist principles of solidarity and friendship. #sister’s reflection is, in a sense, an appeal for action in a globalised, continuously accelerating world governed by neoliberalism and material possessions, where having is valued higher than being. It is a call to open oneself up to another human being, feel their presence and proximity. The poem engraved on grass presented in one of the exhibition rooms invites to communal whispering, breathing and connecting. Hospitality presented, performed and practised by Jeschkelanger gives hope that politics of togetherness is still possible and necessary.

Basia Sliwinska
BWA Wroclaw, Mai 2019