Eva Grubinger: ‘Dark Matter’

‘Dark Matter’ is a series of sculptures by the artist Eva Grubinger. The body of work was exhibited at the Baltic center for contemporary art.

Dark Matter 1

Dark Matter 2

The work raises the question ‘what does power look like?’. Within society there are dominating figures that control our lives, and this body of work explores the artists interest in power and surveillance. Our spending habits tracked, our journeys documented on CCTV, but the people monitoring this surveillance remain hidden and so answering the question of what power looks like seems difficult to answer.

The title ‘Dark Matter’ is taken from the theory in physics, where dark matter is a term given to something that is detectible and yet remains invisible. A metaphor for not being able to answer the question ‘what does power look like?’.

The sculptures consist of an over sized headset, mirrored glass, a control tower, a cooling tower, an atomic reactor and a tower block. Although deciphering the meaning of the sculptures may not be apparent at first, what they represent within today’s society is a little clearer. Metaphors for power, which can be likened to ‘statutes of goddesses of war, eagles and lions’ that were symbols of power hundreds of years ago.

The objects are familiar to us, which is why the artist chose to use them in her work. We all will have experienced them and Grubinger is using these universal experiences as a way of visually representing the mysterious shape that power could take the form of.

Grubinger is taking a complex political issue, something that is difficult to imagine and picture visually, but is still taking the issue and distilling it into a series of objects. Jan Verwoert wrote about this work stating that ‘as long as reality is only arbitrarily experienced, it wont occur to anybody to become politically active’. Taking this into consideration we can see what Grubinger has done is organised a series of objects, (that at first appear unrelated to each other) which all represent power in one way or another. And it is this collection of objects representing power which gives weight to Grubingers metaphor, that this is what power looks like.

This work is something that will inform the production of my own. The objects I am using will be recognisable to everyone.They may appear arbitrary at first, disconnected from the issues that they represent, but will become clearer when united.