Audemars Piguet Contemporary is pleased to unveil its latest commissioned artwork Becoming Another (2021) by Aleksandra Domanović, on view in Berlin from 16 September to 10 October 2021 at the former Der Tagesspiegel print house on Potsdamer Straße.
Premiering timed to Gallery Weekend *Discoveries, the exhibition is the first that Audemars Piguet Contemporary presents in Berlin, a city that the artist has called home for over a decade.
Throughout her career, Domanović has been exploring the interrelation of technology, history and identity in sculptures, videos and digital artworks. Becoming Another employs the artist’s in-depth research practice and asks: what does technology enable us to visualise? The multi-layered exhibition begins with the history of medical imaging—in particular obstetric ultrasound images— and offers an opportunity to rethink the relationship between seeing and perceiving.
The site-specific artwork responds to the height of the vast exhibition space and features six large-scale video sculptures wrapped and hung from an overhead passage that was originally used by Der Tagesspiegel printing technicians to supervise machinery. The video sculptures hang at alternating 45-degree angles and project down a collage of moving images via LED fan-displays. The images, colours and overall visual experience projected from the video sculptures (titled by the artist “Worldometers”) vary depending on the viewer’s point of view.
Installed on either side of the video sculptures are two large-scale prints—one based on a computer simulation of an ultrasound beam; the other an image of the artist’s mother performing an ultrasound on herself. The prints employ the Bezold effect, an optical illusion that makes small areas of interspersed colour appear to change depending on adjacent colours. These prints—the largest realised by the artist to date—represent the fraught distinction between what one sees and what one perceives.
Ultrasound is at once technical and personal for the artist. Her mother was a radiologist who
specialised in ultrasound and the artist grew up living with the machinery. Starting with the obstetric ultrasound, Becoming Another develops what the artist calls a “language of assimilation.” Domanović reminds visitors of the link between this technology and foetal gender identification. She then points to the danger potentially posed by pyrotechnic devices sometimes used at gender reveal parties, which can and have instigated wildfires including the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino, California, in September 2020—one of the region’s largest to date. As Carson Chan, Director of the Emilio Ambasz Institute at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, explains in his essay on Becoming Another: “Domanović’s monumental exhibition grapples with the images produced by and in our bodies, and the surprising—often cataclysmic—effects brought on by their manifestation.”
By linking ultrasound technology to the gendering of an unborn foetus and to the contemporary phenomenon of the gender reveal party—which can and has resulted in serious environmental disasters—Domanović expands on her research into seeing and perceiving, showing how contemporary technology and culture are inextricably linked; how human perceptions evolve; and how easily one thing can become another.
“At its core, this project is about things becoming something else. Through the example of obstetric ultrasound images,we realise that perception is a political field. Looking at artchanges you or makes you part of art. Similarly, throughperception, a foetus becomes the ultrasound, a gender reveal becomes environmental catastrophe and an image becomes an object.”
“It’s an honour to be working with Aleksandra in Berlin on her first large-scale exhibition in the city. Certainly we can all learn from the questions she poses in Becoming Another, which not only reflect contemporary art, but also contemporary life today.”
Denis Pernet Art Curator, Audemars Piguet Contemporary
“Born in Le Brassus, raised around the world.”