Q&A: Troika on "Dark Matter" at Art Basel
For nearly 10 years, Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki, and Sebastien Noel have been presenting the art world with their immersive light sculptures and installations. At this year’s Unlimited Section of Art Basel, the French-German trio that calls itself Troika shows “Dark Matter” (2014), a large-scale aluminum structure. Here, the group discusses the work.
Your new work “Dark Matter” converges three viewpoints into one physical object.
The three different viewpoints show three distinct geometrical shapes — a square, a hexagon, and a circle — which, however, are really only instances of one long continuous line of many different forms that one would see when moving around the sculpture. Also, the sculpture is not simply the result of this system of space and object. It is a reflection on letting antithetical view points coexist in one object, however impossible this might seem, looking for a possible existence of unity beyond the paradox, and what truth might mean beyond its apparent multiplicity.
How will the sculpture be presented at Unlimited?
The sculpture will be suspended in the center of a room that is just large enough to allow you to move around it, a black circular mass being the first thing that is visible from the entrance.
What kind of experience do you want the viewer to have?
We are interested in systems and models that we set up to make sense of the world around us, to create order and sense and stability in a complex and often seemingly contradictory world. These systems can be religious, scientific, or else. We are interested in how sometimes, in fact often, we mistake these models for reality; how they become the status quo, the ultimate truth even though they are just models that we set up to eliminate uncertainty. The sculpture is very much about stepping back from the system, making room for those things whose truth or falsity is not known to you. It points towards a possible unity beyond these models, which surfaces from our partial experience and understanding of the whole.
People who see your sculptures and installations often feel a sense of enchantment. What is it like for you seeing your own work in action for the first time?
The sum of the parts is always a bit unpredictable. Of course, you catch glimpses while making the work of how it might finally come together; the first model, the first section, the first time you work with this incredibly dark fiber material. But you are still in the making of the work. It takes time to distance yourself from that. In particular “Dark Matter,” where the relationship between space and object is so integral to the work, is only coming to completion when it is presented in its final setting. At Unlimited, it will be the first time for us to see it completed in this sense. There are always things that we don’t anticipate and there is always a big leap between knowing, in theory, what a sculpture will look like, and then seeing it in the flesh, once it is finished, sitting in a particular space. Everything can change, the way you experience its size, its shape, its presence. It leaves a space for the unexpected, the incalculable.
by Lisa Contag