New Gold Dream
06. November 2015,
06 December 2015
When we look at the postmodern societies of our age, the velocity of consumption becomes an identifying code for individuals. Identity, vis-a-vis the types of consumption, artificially replaces happiness while it stratifies and becomes undefined. According to Adorno, the individual, in this soulless life, reaches the state of ‘nothingness’.
Maik Armstrong’s New Gold Dream exhibition is a construction that makes visible, at this point, the fact that our age is knitted with objects. As the world of consumption destroys human emotions, the human, on the other hand, slowly turns into a machine that grinds everything it finds temporary. Individuals, who situate themselves according to the flow of time, ecstasize in the pleasure of consuming and become, unconsciously, grinding machines.
New Gold Dream is the first part of an “Istanbul Trilogy” and takes as its lens through which to look at the city the notion of dystopia. The Trilogy, while focusing on urban restructuring and the place of the individual within the city, follows respectively, dystopian, utopian and nontopian perspectives. The works in New Gold Dream, sprinkle ‘gold dust’ on the structures of city in a vain attempt to make their city a shining bright utopia, but the monotony of color and the metallic coldness of the gold means that this utopia is ultimately bland, emotionless and at heart dystopian.
Armstrong maps the personal histories of the inhabitants of the city as well as the social forces within and above the city to create scenarios formed by the waste material and urban detritus that he has collected over the past two years. The gold dust covers all the sins of the individuals and the mistakes of urban planning promising happiness when sprinkled over the individual lives and the chaotic urban landscapes that were created by them.
The artist is interested in creating gigantic illusions of an unexpected and unaccepted future world. New Gold Dream tells us the standardized story of an ‘individual’ who lives in the faint utopia of our era – in fact a dystopia. The works in the exhibition are evocations of city plans – made of waste items. When we look at the depth of the city’s stories, we also feel the depth of personal histories and sorrows.
Although the different forms of collages composed by Armstrong gather on the surface, sometimes they form a structure that is pushed towards the edge of the surface, leaving just a frame – an empty void where we are confronted with our own identity or lack thereof.
It makes us question the reality of our time, the disidentification that comes along with monotonous color and apparent perfection, and the way that ultimately the objects we consume end up consuming us.