mixed up with others | Nothing Nowhere Into Something Somewhere
The artists Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová, natives of Romania and Slovakia respectively, were responsible for devising the exhibition architecture for mixed up with others before we even begin. Developed for the previous exhibition, Collaborations, this display system serves as the conceptual and spatial framework for the current show. For their design, the artist duo chose materials and combined them in such a way as to make opposites collide: old versus new, transparent versus opaque, internal versus external, high versus low. Amid this ruined landscape, the new exhibition spreads out its tendrils like the mycelium of a fungus.
In this context, Chişa and Tkáčová also present a work called Nothing Nowhere Into Something Somewhere, 2015/2022, for which they consumed fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) like Siberian shamans. “Inspired by the practice of ancient knowledge-seekers and their (preter-)natural guides,” say the artists, who view their experiment as a step across the threshold to a non-human state of consciousness, “we collected our urine after ingesting fly agaric mushrooms and manufactured jellies out of it. Following an alchemical process of transmutation, we dissolved and filtered the psychoactive compounds through our organisms and coagulated them into edible sculptures.”*
Mycelia, whose fruits surface in the forest as mushrooms like the Amanita muscaria, are, according to biologist Merlin Sheldrake, an “ecological connective tissue” that interlinks vast parts of our world. Mushrooms have no fixed predetermined boundaries like animals; they are bodies “without a body plan.” Like plants, they are decentralized, which means that there are also “no operational centres, no capital cities, no seats of government.” It is better to think of them “not as a thing, but as a process—an exploratory, irregular tendency.”** Similar to how fungi put their bodies in the food, the mushroom injected into the museum by Anetta Mona Chişa and Lucia Tkáčová in the form of Nothing Nowhere Into Something Somewhere also taps into the DNA of the institution. The mycological intervention that develops in the exhibition spaces seems to proliferate to the point that the mycelium changes the name of the museum. For the duration of the exhibition, the writing on the façade of the black building no longer reads “museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig wien” but a sequence of letters with a mysterious meaning: “let fungi guru wisdom meet minds / turn us new.” This new version of the museum’s name evokes the wisdom and transformative power of the mushrooms that are the basis for the site-specific intervention.
* See Nina Gažovičová, ed., a Love Can atTack a sun: Ah, atoMic I. (Bratislava: The Auction House SOGA, 2018).
** See Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures (London: Vintage, 2021).