MASS Gallery
507 Calles Street Suite 108
Austin, TX 78702

MASS Gallery presents We have never been modern., a two-person exhibition of Mariah Dekkenga and Josef Bull’s collaborative and individual works, curated by Jackie Klempay and Margit Raczkowski. The exhibition’s namesake originates from Bruno Latour’s book published in 1991 of the same title, which rethinks the mental chambers that separate culture and nature.

For this exhibition, Dekkenga and Bull’s work untangles the categorical properties of cultural artifacts to address larger themes. As seen by Bull’s PVC-pipe didgeridoos and Dekkenga’s maze-like paintings, the artists sample the checkered gingham tablecloth as a mutual point of departure. Merging the spaces of outdoor American culture and modernist painting, Bull and Dekkenga, both born in the postmodern era, search for something beyond the compartmentalized thinking of postmodern discourse. This does not signify a return to modernism, but rather is an investigation of ideological fragments repurposed for the sake of holism.

Symbiotically united through sound, the drone of Bull’s activated didgeridoo sculptures guide the subtly shifting forms of Dekkenga’s large-scale digital projection. On the night of the opening, the projection will be accompanied by a live performance of Bull’s sculptures by Austin based musician Steve Daniel. A free downloadable screensaver of Dekkenga’s work will be available on MASS’s website during the course of the exhibition.

Mariah Dekkenga (b. 1978) graduated from the University of Iowa with an MFA in Painting in 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include: Soft Geometries, Eli Ping Gallery, New York; Mariah Dekkenga, Spare Room Projects, Brooklyn, NY; Everything you can imagine is something you already know, Marvin Cone Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA; Recent group exhibitions include, Suzanne Geiss, New York; Windows, Denny Gallery, New York, NY; True Singing is a Different Breathing, Vaudeville Park, New York.

Josef Bull (b. 1984) is a Swedish artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Bull received his BFA from Konstfack, Stockholm in 2009, and in 2013, was awarded the Maria Bonnier Dahlin’s Foundation Grant. He is currently the 2014 grantee of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat Artist Program and will participate in the arctic expedition SWERUS-C3 this fall. He has exhibited internationally at institutions and galleries such as Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm; Hanaholmen Cultural Center, Helsinki; Jackie Klempay Gallery, Brooklyn NY; and Peter Bergman Gallery, Stockholm. He is a co-founder and editor of the publishing house and artist collective Nautofon.

Opening Reception refreshments provided generously by JuiceLand.


MASS is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Development Department/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future.