6 May – 12 Jun 2021
Although the meticulously staged artworks of 1984 born artist Alwin Lay are especially founded in the medium of video, photography and installation, a sculptural origin cannot be denied. Even so, Lay’s works are not a mere reflection of the relationship between photographed image and sculpture as they deliberately play with intuitive expectations that form the contexts of our everyday experiences. In his work we often find objects seemingly caught in the act of having been busy elsewhere, outside of our perception. It is a disconcerting zone of reality that these objects seem to inhabit when we are not around, so disconcerting in fact that when they return to us – or when we return to them as the case may be – they seem to have acquired new talents that apparently defy the laws of nature. Similar to the methods of a magician, Lay uses these everyday situations as a foundation for the manipulation of their physical, temporal and aesthetic laws. The result is an array of strange or absurd, humoristic interludes. Lay intentionally creates seemingly surreal moments and sequences, in which antecedents and anticipated outcomes are interrupted by narrative vacancies. At the same time Alwin Lay’s simulations create a space of contemporaneity in which the beholder can only linger and experience the present moment. Experimental products of a curious yet idle mind, Lay’s compositions are an improvised sort of creativity performed with whatever is close to hand. Household objects and appliances, studio left-over sand various exhibition apparatus, all become mediums dug out of their commonplace contexts by idle abandon and recomposed with mischievous bent.
Furthermore, a curious lack of the human is recognizable in Lay’s work. Things apparently operate themselves making the human redundant in the action, thus becoming autonomous. The coffee machine drowning itself in eternal espresso is no longer reliant on humans to justify, and therefore limit, its action to those for which it was originally intended. In fact, though clearly man-made, through its seemingly function-defiant actions the espresso machine begins to shed its anthropogenic mantle in favour of a sovereignty built upon a constitution of function and form free anthropocentric obligation. This act – somehow estranged from yet confined by predefined function – is exactly as is to be expected from such an object if it were endowed with will and liberated of human commitments. It is as if the things that Lay films and photographs should be considered from the human spheres and oftentimes even from the laws of physical reality itself.
 Leddington, G. (2015): Devices left to to their own devices: The inter-dimensional objects of Alwin Lay.