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VIC @ insitu Berlin 2015. Foreground: Aurora Sander, "Trust no one“, 2015; background: Britta Thie, "HAVING A COKE W U“, 2014. Photo: Markus Georg. Images courtesy of insitu
Installation view of VIC, insitu, Berlin 2015, foreground: Aurora Sander, Trust no one, 2015; background: Britta Thie, HAVING A COKE W U, 2014, photo by Markus Georg, images courtesy of insitu

Life imitates art the same way that art imitates life – or is it? Taking their cue from a Lana Del Rey persona, the curators at experimental gallery insitu in Berlin created a show around a fictional character – Vic. This is the first part of their year-long series, in which they invite artists to create intimate worlds based on either a particular psychological profile, personality trait or an existing character found in literature, film or music.

“Vic” features artists Aurora Sander, Christian Falsnaes, Britta Thie offering their visual take on chameleon personalities and the post-MTV human condition.

Aurora Sander "Stammtisch (excerpt)", 2015, Detail. Courtesy the artists. Foto: Markus Georg
Aurora Sander, Stammtisch (excerpt), 2015, (detail), courtesy the artists, photo by Markus Georg

The impressions of Vic offered from three artists vary in sentiment but relate physically to each other. Christian Falsnaes’ video work “Influence”, 2012, presents the artist as some kind of seductive/humiliated Jesus, in front of a crowd of middle-aged people on the edge of hysteria. While Britta Thie’s work is a projection of “HAVING A COKE W U”, 2014, on pale aqua walls that set the mise en scène somewhere between a teen dream and a dental clinic. In it, Thie reads Frank O’Hara’s 1959 poem with the same title, which also plays with the artist’s ethereal grace. Yet the truly charismatic side of Vic – the overconfident pseudo­philosopher – is channelled through two works by duo Aurora Sander. In this interview they tell Sleek about performing the duality of Vic’s character and having meetings on trains.

VIC @ insitu Berlin. Detail: Youtube-Auswahl, inistu 2015. Photo: Markus Georg. Courtesy of inistu
VIC, insitu Berlin (detail) Youtube-Auswahl, inistu 2015, photo by Markus Georg, courtesy of inistu

How did you approach “Vic”?

Insitu introduced us to a quote by Lana Del Rey, which was the first inspiration for Vic’s character. If you notice the inscription on the hand in the piece “Trust no one”, 2015, it’s inspired by Lana Del Reys hand tattoo: she has on one side “trust no one” and on the other “paradise” yet we mistook it for paranoia in one of her music videos. In general we compile our work from fictional protagonists, where often their stories are rooted in comedy, romance and the tensions and scenarios of everyday life. We also take a lot of personality traits from Hollywood films and pop media. So when insitu approached us, we could imagine working with Vic’s story. In fact it seemed as if s/he had been involved with us before.

Britta Thie “Translantics. Episode 1/ 6: Pores of Perception” 2015. Courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.
Britta Thie, Translantics, Episode 1/ 6: Pores of Perception, 2015, courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Is Vic a friend or foe?

Well…I definitely think there are a lot of Vics out there in real life. I think I would find her/him attractive but I wouldn’t particularly like them.

After reading Vic’s statement, thoughts of the work of fiction entitled; “The Secret Lodge by Elda Oreto, a former art dealer who ran Club Midnight in Berlin just a few doors down from insitu, came to mind..

Oh yes, the gallerist who brutally murders all her artists and stores them in packing crates. I have read it. It’s a pretty good read, though it has lots of typos. I think it was written in a fury but its worth reading. A lot of the “fictional characters” are friends of ours. There must be something in the air down here in Schoneberg but it could just be a coincidence….maybe (laughs).

Britta Thie “Translantics. Episode 1/ 6: Pores of Perception” 2015. Courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.
Britta Thie, Translantics, Episode 1/ 6: Pores of Perception, 2015, courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

How did you deal with authentic vs fiction when working with the identity of Vic?

The authentic is defiantly blurred in the art world at the moment, but as a duo I think we are able to become more authentic in our thought process and works, because you always have someone to back it up with. A lot of our works are based on real life happenings or a situation that has happened to either one or both of us. Plus we normally have our studio meetings on the Berlin Ringbahn train. It runs for about 1 hour and 20 mins in a loop which is great because we just sit, chat, watch and define our ideas in a real life situation which adds pace and reality to our works.

In “Trust no one”, 2015, it’s easy to see the wishing well telling the tale of Narcissism and his pursuit of gratification through his ego and vanity.

Well yes, it is actually inspired by Hyper Mall fountains, where people toss coins in and make a wish. It’s man-made but mystical. Yet of course it could also be the legend of Narcissism and then again you could also just see yourself in the pool. I feel Vic is always wishing for something – she has all these hopes, wishes and ideas but then she just ends up at the “Stammtisch (excerpt)”, 2015.

Narcissism is a two-sided coin: on the one side you have failure and on the other, success, but they are always intertwined. If you see at the “Stammtisch (excerpt)” we have The Fantastic Man and The Gentlewoman who are lined up for failure or success, but it’s a test, where one is always insecure on a first date, so perhaps the wishing well comes before or after. But the way I see it, is more continual energy.

What do you wish for?

Aren’t you supposed to keep your wishes to yourself otherwise they don’t come true? But a new jacket wouldn’t hurt…

Isn’t it odd to have a first date at a Stammtisch [the regular table at the local pub]?

Is it though? I always have my first dates at my local Stammtisch. There I am in my comfort zone with friends. I’m not sure if its brave or lazy but the bar tender always gives you the eye like “this is the new flavour of the week eh…” Maybe that’s just me… I’m a little narcissistic. 

What do you think will happen to Vic in the next 5 years?

Vic will fade away, get a normal job at Zalando [online shop] and give up her or his art-hip career probably.



Interview by Penny Victoria Rafferty

Vic” is a group show featuring the artists Britta Thie, Christian Falsnaes and Aurora Sander, on show at insitu gallery until 2 October 2015

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