Led R. Nanirok is the title of the current exhibition by Daniel Knorr in Kunsthalle Basel. The name reveals the main idea behind all works: they are showing objects in different ways that we are conditioned to seeing them.
The messing with cultural assumptions begins with the title itself: Led. R. Nanirok is an anagram of the artist’s name. But the interesting thing about this anagram is not its being an anagram. The artist’s birthplace is Bucharest. To the average Swiss visitor, Led R. Nanirok is much more likely to be a Romanian name than Daniel Knorr.
All the works exhibited in Kunsthalle have one unifying aspect: they display a different approach to objects and materials. In some works, Knorr works with opposites, for example in Bonhomme (2009) when he builds a snowman with stones, concrete and plastic: materials which stand for durability replace snow and vegetables, materials which are ephemeral and subject to decay. Or take Architecture Buchuresti (2001, 2005), a series of photographs which juxtapose the culturally expected „normally“ developed photograph with their respective negatives. The negatives, besides inverting the light, are also laterally reversed, thus completing the oppositional character.
Other works do not draw on exact opposites, while still showing different approaches to objects. Validate me (2009) is a good example. It consists of LCD screens positioned in every room of the exhibition displaying the floor plan of the exhibition, which looks like a handgun. Each visitor is captured by a motion detector and displayed on the screens as a moving red dot. In Hei Fei (2009), a series of drawings is displayed, each in two versions, one by Knorr and one by Fei Teng. Here, it’s two styles of drawing which show two different ways of looking at the same thing.
Whether Knorr sets up an LED mirror which over a stretch of 30 meters displays the visitors as moving stickfigures (Digital Mirror (2009)), uses broken glass to make actual glasses (Scherben bringen Glück (2009)) or dresses scarecrows in Haute Couture (Haute Culture, Odd Couture (2009)), it’s always a cultural assumption which is inverted, reverted or redefined. The visitor is encouraged to see the different side to objects and becomes aware of the cultural assumptions underlying human perception. And, ideally, he will walk out of the exhibition and see the world from a slightly different angle.
Led R. Nanirok is on display in Kunsthalle Basel until 15th November 2009.