kuk

cologne 

HUNTER / KILLER

Jon Shelton / Natalie Baxter / Samuel Adam Swope

Duration: March 06 - April 16, 2020

Exhibition view 

Exhibition view 

Exhibition view_Natalie Baxter

Exhibition view_Swope/Shelton

Exhibition view_Video Still_Banana Mission_Samuel Swope

Exhibition view_Floating Room_Samuel Swope

Exhibition view_Jon Shelton

Operation Sustained Cluster Fuck_Jon Shelton 

Exhibition view_Jon Shelton

Installation view_Jon Shelton

Landscape_detail_Jon Shelton

Installation view_Jon Shelton

Exhibition view_Samuel Swope

Liphium_Samuel Swope

Exhibition view_Jon Shelton 

Sigint_Jon Shelton

Sigint (detail)_Jon Shelton

Black Heart_Jon Shelton

Exhibition view_Jon Shelton

People will think I have made a Trump flag, VI..._Natalie Baxter 

Light of God / Big Splash (diptych)_Jon Shelton

Light of God_detail_Jon Shelton 

Rifle/Splash_Jon Shelton 

Rifle/Splash_Jon Shelton 

Capitalism without borders_Jon Shelton 

Installation view_Jon Shelton 

Warm Gun_Installation view_Natalie Baxter 

Warm Gun_Installation view_Natalie Baxter


It was not only after the recent attacks by right wing extremists in Halle and Hanau that the German public began to be concerned with the phenomenon of escalating violence and the misuse of weapons. In this context, the question of comprehensive surveillance became seemingly more compelling. In its new show, krupic kersting presents three US-American artistic positions that take on these topics in their works – either in a radical, playful or poetic way.


Jon Shelton presents a cycle of works in different media (oil on canvas, graphite and ink on cloth and paper) pertaining mainly to the United States' global drone program. The core of these works deal with the physical presence of a program that has remained nebulous in the public eye despite its growing importance to US foreign policy and increased use under three consecutive administrations. Delineating points along the "sensor-to-shooter cycle" – otherwise known as the kill chain. From high-key, large-scale drawings of ground satellites and painterly canvasses of US military installations and space satellites, to saturated ink drawings depicting surveillance imagery from the high-altitude hunting grounds of US drone pilots some 7,689 miles (12,400 kilometers) away. Shelton also highlights the mendacity of language crafted by the CIA and military to describe actions carried out within the program. The seemingly innocuous vocabulary describing steps along the path to premeditated extrajudicial killing is euphemistic, at times cynical, and punctuated with acronyms. With that chameleon-like quality in mind, Shelton inverts the sanitized terms, transforming them into a feigned Arabic, the language of perceived mortal enemies of the United States, and the West as a whole.   
To outline his diagrammatic sketch of the program's veiled visibility and obfuscating language, Shelton draws on sources ranging from Italian Renaissance painting and Arabic calligraphy, to digital data leaks and his access to information as a newswriter covering international politics for Germany's foreign broadcast service Deutsche Welle (DW).  


Natalie Baxter explores concepts of place-identity, nostalgic americana, and gender stereotypes through sculptures that playfully push controversial issues. Her series “Warm Gun” examines the issues of gun violence and masculinity through a collection of colorfully quilted, droopy, caricatures of assault weapons, bringing ‘macho’ objects into a traditionally feminine sphere and questioning their potency. Her “Bloated Flags” complement the weapons. They are stuffed, swollen versions of the American flag using a variety of flamboyant fabrics. With these sculptural pieces, she is interested in the flag as a symbol with a variety of representations and swaying definitions of pride and shame. “In the run up and wake of the 2016 election, the United States came full cycle with its reality television dreams based on opulence over substance, quick quips easy to quote and a lust for drama over authenticity. These flags by Natalie Baxter illustrate this coming to terms with a change in pace by sharing what our nation’s flag may feel like it’s become, bloated, flashy and familiar in shape alone.” *Betsy Greer, author of Craftivism

Samuel Adam Swope is most recognized for his aerial art which easily refers - in a more generic way - to Jon Shelton’s drone drawings. Swope turns to flight and air as a medium to show an experimental exploration concerning the entangled relationship between control and freedom.
Throughout his practice he concerns the behavioral dimensions of control processes. Equally concerned with the aesthetic and social aspects of autonomy and agency, in his work Swope examines control systems, aerodynamic logic, hybridity, and the hyperphysical. Swope’s work explores and proposes alternative perspectives in understanding and appreciating the importance of technology and the role air plays in articulating and conditioning forms of life. Merging air with multiple media and artistic-engineering practices, he often crafts objects or environments that facilitate novel situations that oscillate between playful and poetic, introducing an uncanny apparatus to challenge cultural constructs, manipulate norms and produce ephemeral spectacles, which are then complemented by skillful documenting and storytelling. These works play with the intersection of technology and the non-human, framing these encounters through an anthropomorphic lens to explore our place within these complex hybrid systems and confront issues concerning atmosphere, agency, autonomy, and the very possibility of freedom.


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