When looking at the work of duo Böhler & Orendt, there is a striking resemblance with Studio Ghibli’s films like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle (especially the Calcifer character), or Princess Mononoke. But there’s more than meets the eye. Just like the most famous Japanese animation studio in the world does in its films, the artistic duo formed by Matthias Böhler and Christian Orendt also looks at humankind from a critical perspective, blaming our species for the endless, selfish, consumerism-driven destruction of our precious world.
The Berlinische Galerie presents Böhler & Orendt. The Sweet Certainty until August 14. In the exhibition, the duo tells the story of our furless species in two playful installations that look cute, almost child-like, but that convey a not-so-happy message – it’s actually despairing, horrible, and heart-breaking if you think about it. The first installation features a huge monkey-like creature laying on the floor of the gallery, almost in pain. His entire body is made of resources that are extremely valuable for the squads of workers surrounding him, who’re prepared with heavy machinery to dig and extract every last ounce of raw materials they can until there’s nothing left. On the other hand, the second installation delves into the subject of animals (mainly, how we’ve exterminated over sixty per cent of terrestrial vertebrates) through a spaceship inspired by a lotus bud. Those extinct animals are like ghosts surrounding the audience that now realise what irreparable damage we’ve inflicted.