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Enemies of the earth

Fascinated by the contemporaneity, Tobias Bernstrup’s work represents the anguish and paradoxes of actual society with the potential strength of self-definition leaving aside conventionalism and the gravitational pull of a given model. The post-productive approach developed by Bernstrup chases the anxiety of believing in improbability, therefore creating personal mythologies that shapes though audiovisual or performance formats. Virtual reality and first computer-games aesthetic like Space Invaders join in purely physical representations of the artist.Experimental and breaking sources bring about the merging between fiction and reality, or between the human and the animal, blurring the borders.


In Enemies of the Earth, Bernstrup adopts the metaphorical language and low-tech special-FX techniques used in the early science fiction movies. The core of the video project presented at the gallery is 1:1000 scale model depicting Shangai´s futuristic skyline, where two praying mantis are recorded analogically by Bernstrup, both insects look like two monsters fighting, everything set up by a lighting atmosphere that take us to the dramatism of Fritz Lang film Metropolis (1927).


The recording alludes to human-being fear to be invaded by huge monsters, insect plagues which will finish with our apparently controlled and secured postmodern society. These threats, that are a challenge to socio-economic structures, attract Bernstrup to create situations that are not so far from the fears human genre suffers. Two insects perform in a human context far from their own habitat, where body becomes the vehicle to place new identities.


The architectonic design chosen by Bernstrup fits perfectly with the silver and iridescent mantis skin, while the stylized silhouette of the towers suggests an analogy between the cityscape transformation and the metamorphosis insects suffer in their short life cycle. The soundtrack composed by the artist, inspired from eighties trends such as techno and Synth, encompasses the compulsive ethos of Bernstrup towards redefining and altering roles in contemporary urban society.


Apart from the main video Mantis City, exhibition involves a documentary video of the performance that took place in Shangai on the occasion of the solo exhibition of the artist in the city. In Shangai Cosplay Bernstrup plays a mantis with his own music flanked by thirteen cosplayers, characters dressed adopting manga or videogames aesthetics. Finally, four prints on aludibond working with the idea of city poured out by insects will document the show as a preview of what we are going to see on the screens. The close-up stills of the insects and the enlarged view of the towers will increase the dramatic atmosphere in the gallery.


TheMantisCityvideo has been produced in collaboration with DuolunMuseum ofModern Art in Shangai with the support from the ArtsGrants committee inSweden.Tobias Bernstruphas an artistic career with exhibitions in major galleries, museums and institutions worldwide among themPalais de Tokyo,BaselMuseumfurGegenarts Kunst or Biennale of Lyon. He recently had a solo show at DuolunMoma in Shangai.

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