Deborah Schamoni

Mauerkircherstr. 186

D-81925 München

Wednesday – Friday 12 – 6 pm

Saturday 12 – 4 pm and by appointment

Jonathan Pencafield plots

Museum Brandhorst, Munich, DE

10.01. – 15.01.2023

  • For the first time, the animated film “field plots” (2023) by artist Jonathan Penca will be shown in the media room of Museum Brandhorst. Between science fiction and a Gothic horror story, it casts a utopian perspective on the archaic technology of gardening in the endless (outer) space of the digital surface.

    The artistic practice of Jonathan Penca (b. 1988, lives and works in Munich) combines performance, sound, costume design, sculpture, and painting, and blurs the boundaries between performing and visual arts. In drawings, collages and video works, as well as expansive sculptural installations and performative stage productions, he addresses central contemporary questions surrounding queer identity, science fiction, the natural sciences, and pop culture. 

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    In his newly produced video work “field plots” (2023), Jonathan Penca thwarts the classical notion of animated film with experiments at the transition between the digital and analog space. In a backdrop-like set, computer-generated beings coexist with hybrid forms of nuns’ robes, tools and architectures made of papier-mâché and digitized through 3-D scans. 

    By playing with proportions, the confusion of the interior and exterior of spatial structures, and the possibilities of digitally translating sculptural or material qualities, a narrative structure appears. “field plots” is inspired by a minor character in Rumer Godden’s novel “Black Narcissus” (1939) and the film of the same name (1947), which revolve around a secluded nunnery. In the alienation of place, Sister Philippa plants a wide variety of flowers instead of the planned vegetables. Of interest to Penca is not only the question of vocation and power relations in places of (collaborative) work. 

    Starting from a utopian ideal of the monastery garden, “field plots” is primarily devoted to archaic agrarian technology and the constantly developing technological extension or substitutability of the human body in agriculture and horticulture. Situated somewhere between science fiction and a Gothic horror story, the animated film carries the vital necessity of food cultivation to absurdity with the unquestioning repetition of the act of gardening: sequences of actions of hoeing, sowing and harvesting are performed again and again using different tools, even if they no longer bear fruit in the endless (outer) space of the digital surface.

    Curated by Franziska Linhardt
    Text: Museum Brandhorst
    Photos: Margarita Platis, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Museum Brandhorst, Munich

Jonathan Penca
field plots, 13:44 min, video, 2023
Directed by Jonathan Penca
Animation and programming: Jakob Penca
Sound: Jakob & Jonathan Penca
With special thanks to Franziska Linhardt and Museum Brandhorst