You changed when you came through the door, through the second threshold. On a molecular level, you are altered.
Though the title, ‘Volume Excess’, George Henry Longly’s first show at Koppe Astner, is taken from a hairspray in the Elnette product range, it suggests objects that attempt to go beyond their physical form, whether physically, as in aerosol sprays or bouffant hair, or via other sources of power that generate space. It suggests that which is ‘too much’. Volume Excess (2014) depicts the artist casting the torso, leg and foot of a muscular male model on a pink marble table during a residency in Istanbul. A cresting techno track is heard as we closely follow the application of grease, which is smoothed over curly chest hair, nipples and hard legs, before alginate and plaster are applied. Though the artist extracted replicas from this body, what matters is that both bodies were transformed via a material process. ‘We’re taking something from you’, says the artist. ‘No, this is an exchange’, comes the reply. Some excess has been produced.
The hierarchy between the Classical figurative sculpture and their support structure is upended in ‘Volume Excess’. The resultant casts of the model’s body are displayed beneath a monitor playing Volume Excess, in a unit fashioned from the table on which the process took place. The marble top on which the body was cast has been split up into modular units in a move that expands and splinters the duration of the process, rather than prioritizing end results. A material formed over thousands of years, the pink and yellow marble is older and wiser than the bodies that worked on it, having been created at a pace difficult for the living to fathom. We benefit from its durational slowness, which is now contrasted by the fast-moving potential energy of objects such as eggs and laughing gas canisters that have been laid into them. The western world has inherited elements of culture that has been carried by minerals; traditions, images and objects that have gone beyond themselves by thousands of years. Yet they continually collide with less stable elements – with laughter, desire, and bodies.