Franziska Furter: Spark Erosion
Swiss artist Franziska Furter here presents a challenging series of sophisticated conceptual works. The skin and bones of this exhibition are graphite drawings, PVC pebbles, and electrical tape sculptures, none too exciting or provocative in their own right. The sum, however, demonstrates a complex play with perceptions of medium, artifice, the so-called natural and the supernatural, and therein lies the power of this post-medium artist.
Furter’s characteristic drawings adorn the walls: they appear to depict aura-like hazes, galactical planes and post-cataclysmic landscapes. The viewer strives to recognise the scenes. As the accompanying literature suggests, the artist’s works take as their starting point visual records of phenomena, dreams and visions, which the actual works themselves belie. These seemingly supernatural images at once suggest so much, and yet document little. A further stretch of our conception of drawing as a medium comes with Furter’s application of powdered graphite directly onto the walls. Gunmetal grey bands in various widths wrap around the gallery space, at once offering a point of continuity and manipulating a disorientating effect.
A series of stone-like sculptures entitled ‘Erratic Pebbles’ sit on museum-like plinths. The stuff of geological dreams, Furter’s glazed pebbles are made of psychedelic sweetshop swirls of coloured PVC. Whatever their likenesses – philosopher’s stone or UFO fall-out – these brazenly artificial rocks only ever flirt with the reality of their geological nomenclature. Furter’s final sculptural work, a menacing cluster of seemingly organic black forms, lies hidden around a corner. Composed of large, thorny knots of tape, this parasitic intervention, entitled ‘From the corner of your eye’ (pictured), remains familiar yet austere.
This exhibition presents a land where three simple materials can conjure supernatural tropes and threatening life forms. Yet the land remains source-less, exhibiting drawn and sculpted documents of non-existent originals. Furter painstakingly plays with her visitor’s ability to infer and fabulate. It’s an exhausting business, certainly, but ultimately a rewarding one.
Doggerfisher, Edinburgh, until Sat 24 Jan