For the Æther’s Love experiment series Love Crafting, we have invited Stephanie Ballantine & Zack Helwa to create the new proposition. The title of the show is: “Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real”, a quote by Iris Murdoch, The Sublime and the Good , Chicago Review, 13:3 (1959:Autumn) p.42 . On the opening night you can witness a live performance where the couple will position themselves in deliberately different spaces of the gallery in order to re-enact their first digital encounter suggesting the beginning of a love story. Further in the work they have created a formula, a graphical representation of how the sentiment of Love functions. That will come to discussion and understanding in the works proposed as images/photography ,video and installation/objects. Documenting and re-experiencing their own voyage of becoming a couple in love, the artists are looking for new realizations and ways to present the intimate process of love acceptance. Further on questioning them to explain the formula, an other side of the psychology appeared: This definition is in itself a formula; A tragic, painful realization that we are separate, we are alone, and that our existence is a mortal one. The formula for “Love is…” departures from the ideal we have imagined, ingested and devised and to embark on the painful exercise of overcoming one’s flawed self. The formula for love is a process of acceptance. Acceptance of separation, acceptance of The Void, acceptance that there is no pre-existing harmony in which we can simply step into. One self is I and falling in love makes us realize what can never be understood in ourselves. Alone in our sleep the process of acceptance is like the process of waking up, it happens again and again and we cannot say when it begins and ends. The mechanism for love is a tragic acceptance, one filled with joy and exhilaration, one filled with longing and loneliness, one that gives you a chance to see yourself in your best and worst capacities. “The tragic freedom implied by love is this: that we all have an indefinitely extended capacity to imagine the being of others. Tragic, because there is no prefabricated harmony, and others are, to an extent we never cease discovering, different from ourselves.” MURDOCH, IRIS, The Sublime and the Good, Chicago Review. About the artists: Zack Helwa (RO.EY.) After studying BA Photography at the New York School of Visual Arts, Zack Helwa relocated to Berlin, Germany, where he currently resides and works. He is a multidisciplinary artist using video, photography, sculpture and performance; Helwa exhibits, curates and screens widely, as well as and running F.K.Kollektiv-a photography collective, Exhibition space and printing lab in Berlin.
Stepahnie Ballantine (UK.,DE.)is working with photography, performance, video and design. Her field of interest includes areas such as: commoditised sexuality, political identity, political agency. In her work she embodies the roles of ‘The Hysteric’ and ‘The Researcher’ playing with expressions of queer identity, surveillance as ‘the Gaze’, absurd, bondage, pop language. Exhibitions, screenings and performances include ‘Gal in the Studio’ Headon Photography prize finalist, Museum of contemporary Art Melbourne, 2016, ‘Linespacing’ instillation as part of Leipzig film festival produced by GAGENkino, 2015, ‘Jane’ Pantocrátor Gallery, Shanghai 2015, ‘A Symposium’ at KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin 2014, ‘Queer today is Not Tomorrow’ at NGBK Berlin 2014, ‘Manisensations’ at Leap Gallery Berlin 2012, ‘Accidental Sculpture’ at The Henry Moore Institute Leeds 2009, ‘Peripheral’ at Tate Liverpool 2008.