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*.

New models of shared authorship aesthetics

Our works create contact zones*. We started off with the smallest unit – the two of us. Both of us met directly on domestic glass table tops within our individual art practices, which encompasses painting and mixed media installation. The result of this initial collaboration was a series of mixed media collages made from glass. From the start we chose glass as our constant source material. Glass became an equal meeting point for us both, a transparent space with no front or back, through which we can always see each other. The first table tops that we produced out of glass were simultaneously tables, paintings and sculptures, and at the same time as we were making them we started to question why it was necessary to define them in any particular way. This is what we call our works ‘poly-positional’.

Since our very first series, contact zones* are something that we have continued to try and achieve and invite other to become a part of. With our ongoing work empty_glass, we found a way to include many genres from contemporary art within our process. We are currently co-working with Hayk Seirig, head chef of Katerschmaus restaurant in Berlin. With him we found a collaborator who is also breaking apart the traditional restrictions of consumption itself. To create contact zones* in empty_glass we are using food as the most basic unit – for humans and togetherness.

To understand this project, one can think through the symposia format that began with the Ancient Greeks. From this inspiration, we consider how to create a new, actual and contemporary format for symposia today that brings together food, drinks and socialising, as oppose to the often formal and rigid academic format that we are used to. Each empty_glass initiates a theoretically conceived menu. The courses of each menu are served directly onto the glass and thus overlap in both content and taste. The glass tables become remnants at the end of each evening – everybody who attended will be visible through the result of their gestures. Together, with all the guests, we are creating a moment of shared and hierarchy-free authorship on the surface of the glass. We call these remnants protocols and exhibit them as ‘collective’ paintings.

New models of shared authorship and aesthetics are the most crucial aspect of our work. We even went as far as building a new material a collective aesthetic is embedded with, as it is made out of the remnants of other artists. These remnants are 3D glass shards, leftovers from a German glass manufacturer which exclusively produces for artist and architect projects worldwide. We call this material Basis Rho. Here, the handwriting of other creatives becomes our palette of colours and shapes. With Basis Rho we are creating walls, floors and sculptural interiors. Next to its physical aggregates Basis Rho’s collective aesthetics also includes the immaterial value of ideas, concepts and the locations of others.

Jeschkelanger, September 2019

* The term contact zone was concieved by Marie DuPasquier during the exhibition Enrico-Autoaction in rehearsals, 2016 with Jeschkelanger. The notion is since then used by both parts respectively as an open source