Reptilians Ravage Human Hardware on Holotropic Breathwork Session, 2017.
Light and sound installation by Miķelis Fišers for Latvia’s Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Dimensions variable, extruded polystyrene, structured polypropylene sheets, drawing carved in ORACAL® adhesive film, LED light strips. Sound by ERROR. Photographer: Ansis Starks
At the press conference for Latvia’s Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, Miķelis Fišers shot a chicken and introduced some lizards. The chicken wasn’t real and the reptiles wore masks, but communication between the reptiles and the Minister of Culture, when the latter was presented with a plate with the project’s coat of arms, was real. The artist and the curator read from a script, stylizing the official language, where the phrases composed by the artist merged paradoxically with excerpts from policy documents. For example: (A) In the context of contemporary issues such as the depletion of natural resources and demographics, innovation and creativity come to the forefront as principal resources, providing an investment in the solution of problems; (C) We must significantly limit the falsification of the true history of human civilization, the control of consciousness, and continue our partnership within the Avatar Association.
The title “What Can Go Wrong” can be interpreted in various ways – as surprise, question, or as history. This ambiguity highlights an issue that concerns practically all contemporary projects: How do we talk about “our time”? And in what language?
Miķelis Fišers chooses the language of the renegade, a marginal discourse full of unscientific bodies and substances – Grays, Egregores, Secret Governments and other esoteric master signifiers. Out of all the bodies of knowledge, he chooses knowledge without status. A romantic propensity towards the author’s hand, beautiful compositions, lines and colors, references carefully selected with subjective pleasure, ignoring everything objectively progressive – with this concept, Fišer’s art is quite the ideal opposite to the status quo of contemporary art, as defined with criticality by the artist Paul Chan: "Objective forces manifest in art today as subjective acts without an actual subjectivity, to express the power of inhumanity to define what is most human.” In disagreement with legitimate violence, in “What Can Go Wrong”, Miķelis Fišers demonstrates how life on earth is squandered, reminding us of the “banality of evil” (Arendt).
By presenting the work of Miķelis Fišers (1970), the Latvian pavilion introduces an artist who, after graduating from the Latvian Academy of Art in 1995, gained recognition in the Baltic art scene rather scandalously: his series of paintings, “Sex’n’spaceships”, was removed from the exhibition “Misfits: 6th Triennial ofYoung Baltic Art” held in Vilnius, in 1995; in his installation “God Is. Dogs Cannot Read” (1995), Fišers uses a famous piece of taxidermy – a two-headed dog created by V. Demikhov, a physician and pioneer in organ transplantation (Demikhov added the front half of a puppy to an adult dog to merge bloodstreams, lungs and heart). Twenty years later, Fišers was awarded the highest prize in Latvian art, the 2015 Purvītis Prize for his solo exhibition “Disgrace” (2014), thereby demonstrating that his presence in contemporary art is relevant.
curator of the Latvian pavilion
Commissioned by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia
Organised by INDIE Culture project agency
Main supporter ABLV Charitable Foundation