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Lina Hermsdorf “A Biologically Immortal Living Being Can Still Die”
September 27, 2016 - October 2, 2016
Performed by Henry Babbage
Performance September 27th, 8pm
Exhibition on view from September 28th—2nd October (12pm-6pm daily)
Hydras never die of old age. In the ancient Greek myth, the Hydra is a multi-headed serpent, with a specific organic talent. As soon as one of its heads is decapitated, the serpent regenerates the missing body part. Hydra is also the name of a freshwater animal with similarly extraordinary regenerative abilities. Stem cells from this genus of Hydra have a capacity for indefinite self-renewal.
In the multidisciplinary exhibition “A Biologically Immortal Living Being Can Still Die“ at Human Resources Los Angeles, Frankfurt-based artist Lina Hermsdorf examines the varying philosophical and scientific meanings of ageing and confronts them with the seemingly ubiquitous desire for eternal youth.
Hermsdorf is concerned with rhetorical strategies and modes of narration. Through employing intertextuality as a device, she hints at the very foundation of language and the instability and unreliability of the voice of the artist. She uses the exhibition space as a stage on which language, the mind and the body exercise, testing ways that one perceives and processes information as a cognitive being in stimulation-rich environments.
Her ongoing interest in the characteristics of living organisms as systems that receive, store, exchange energy and information in all forms – food, oxygen, heat, signals and are subject to the irreversible time of the second law, since they are dying entities, has also shaped the form and content of this exhibition.
Originally commissioned by BlockUniverse, London, this iteration of the work will open with a lecture performance on September 27th, 8pm and transform into an exhibition, surveying the subliminal structures regarding questions of preservation, ageing and temporality at the intersection of performative and object-based practices.
“What is an organism? A sheaf of times. What is a living system? A bouquet of times.”
– Michel Serres
Lina Hermsdorf studied Theatre at the University in Giessen and Fine Arts at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Her performative works and installations have been shown at Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach (2016), BlockUniverse, London (2016), Minibar, Stockholm (2015), Yvonne Lambert, Berlin (2015), Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2015), Rowing, London (2015), and Taylor Macklin (2015), Zurich among other venues. Upcoming and current projects include: Salon Kennedy, Frankfurt, Atlas Economy at Mélange, Cologne and Rowing, London (2017). She will be Artist in Residence at Gasworks, London from October 2016 on.
Production Assistant Carl Marion
supported by Goethe-Institut, Munich