The Electric House

Andrew Ross, Jessica Segall, Swen-Erik Scheuerling
Curated by Rachel Steinberg

November 15 - December 14, 2014
OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, November 15, 7-10pm


The Electric House is a three-person exhibition curated by Rachel Steinberg featuring New York based artists Andrew Ross and Jessica Segall, as well as Hamburg based artist Swen-Erik Scheuerling.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the 1922 Buster Keaton short film by the same name. In the film, Buster Keaton, mistaken for an electrical engineer, is hired to ‘electrify’ or wire a house, which eventually goes haywire, seeming to take on a mischievous life of its own. The characters are at the comical mercy of their own furniture and surroundings as they try to adjust to the new estrangement of a familiar space.

In an age of over-abundance and consumption, this exhibition plays with the superfluousness of familiar objects, through a pointed shift and personification of their function. This shift produces a tension, juxtaposing the mundane with anxiety to produce subtle, uncanny humor. Launching into a contemporary framework, The Electric House centers on object-oriented humor stemming from simple mechanics within this arena of overflow.

Borrowing further from the anthropomorphic language of formalist sculpture, this exhibition is also indebted to the modernist object makers of the 1960’s. However, as these artists are emphatically not formalists, the focus of the electric house is softer, less presumptuous. Rather than dictating an ordered hierarchy, the objects are the vessels upon which we channel a world filled with stuff, movement, and awkwardness, designed by humans. This subtle comedy lives within objects because of the functions we project on to them, as the users and creators. As agents of change in their own right, they offer resistances which are capable of usurping human intention. When objects are liberated from explicit human direction, the relationships that emerge reveal the promiscuity and levity waiting to be elicited from their own quotidian materials.

The Electric House is supported by the Hamburg Ministry of Culture.