BY Gabriela Acha in Reviews | 09 NOV 20

Camilla Steinum Plays with Chance

At the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, the artist probes the ambiguity – and superstition – of everyday items

G
BY Gabriela Acha in Reviews | 09 NOV 20

‘Pick a card’ is the initial instruction visitors receive prior to entering Camilla Steinum’s immersive exhibition, ‘Symptom, Sympathy’, at Westfälischer Kunstverein. Further directions and notes are included in a booklet that serves as a manual for the show. Yet, before picking a card from the hundreds slipped into the slit between the floor and the walls (Shaken Trick, all works 2020), another choice is required: a purple grille (Stretch) divides the first gallery into corridors, forcing visitors to decide which route to take to experience the show.

Camilla Steinum
Camilla Steinum, ‘Symptom, Sympathy’, 2020, exhibition view, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster. Courtesy: the artist and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; photograph: Hanna Neander / LWL

Suspended from the top of this wooden frame are several black rubber belts (Tighter). Evoking a range of associations – from medical restraints to BDSM, from protection to imprisonment – the combination of these elements speaks to the co-existence of submissive and dominating forces in human relations. In her works, Steinum often explores the ambiguity of everyday items. Through the fence-like intervention, which both defines and restricts the space, she here addresses the underlying power dynamic between different agents, highlighting the special relationship between artwork and viewer.  

Camilla Steinum
Camilla Steinum, ‘Symptom, Sympathy’, 2020, exhibition view, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster. Courtesy: the artist and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; photograph: Hanna Neander / LWL

Three undulating, snake-like wooden sculptures with three numbers scorched on each, such as one, eight and 29 (Prone to Temptation, Logic Contradicted and Innocent Narrative), are placed on the floor around the wooden structure. The artist’s fascination with numeric sequences is reiterated in Strike 1–12 (Itch. Count the Numbers. You Are Special) – a series of lottery tickets taped with coloured plasters, framed and pinned to the wall. Both the tickets and the tarot-like cards of Shaken Trick nod to the forms of superstition people often project onto objects to find existential meaning. When selecting a card or a sequence of numbers for the lottery, we are free yet constrained – and, above all, our choices are often conditioned by randomness. In ‘Symptom, Sympathy’, Steinum invites us to play with chance and personal logics, exploiting our own capacity for speculation to open up a range of conceivable readings.

Camilla Steinum's ‘Symptom, Sympathy’ at Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany, runs until 17 January 2021.

Main image: Camilla Steinum, ‘Symptom, Sympathy’ , 2020, exhibition view, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster. Courtesy: the artist and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; photograph: Hanna Neander / LWL

Gabriela Acha is a writer based in Berlin, Germany.

SHARE THIS
MORE LIKE THIS