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Michael Fuchs Galerie Michael Fuchs Galerie

Théo Mercier | Knock, knock... who´s in the pet store?

October 24 - February 14, 2020

Knock knock… who’s in the pet store? is the second solo show of French artist Théo Mercier at the gallery Michael Fuchs in Berlin. The exhibition features a new series of works exploring the themes of the artificialization of the nature and the domestication of non-human species. Turning the gallery space somewhere in between a colourful pet store and a large-scale terrarium, Mercier invites the viewers in a cartoon-like speculative fabulation in which they would rather encounter petrol storytellings than pets in a store.

 

Fascinated by archetypal objects, the fetishism of commodities and what Karl Marx called the « Secret thereof », Théo Mercier has been collecting imitation rocks mass-produced for aquariums all over the world since 2013, in order to create an inexhaustible set of industrial specimens that he elevates to the rank of imaginary geological collections. Entitled "Possessing the world is not my priority", a site-specific version of this collection is displayed on a shelving unit in the first gallery space, as the symbol of a fantasized version of the so-called nature in the age of mass re-production and global urbanisation of the planet Earth.

As both a stage director and a visual artist, Mercier’s practice emphasizes on the embodiment of narratives and ideas. For the exhibition Knock, knock… who’s in the pet store?, he decides to recreate a subaquatic pseudo-life environment by installing large-scale reproductions of the best-seller aquarium stones. Made of resin and polystyrene, these giant copies of fake-ready-made sculptures seem to affirm that the false of false might somehow be truer than the truth itself, or that the idea of nature might be more natural than the nature itself. This upside-down rescaling goes along with another paradigm shift, ranging from the eternity of the Stone Age to the planed obsolescence and the augmented reality of our current Plastic Age.

The second gallery room features another kind of smaller collections challenging the traditional canons of scientific, museographic or artistic displays in a both joyful and critical manner. With the post-industrial entomological frames "Archeology for dogs", or the miniature bronze sculpture "Modern Art for cats" (co-created with French artist and designer Arthur Hoffner), Mercier engages ourselves in a turnaround of the situation knocking over the human exceptionalism, in which the traditional "artist of genius" becomes the contemporary "good boy" and plays the role of a sculptor for companion species. 


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