Axel Loytved, Berlin
17.02.2024 - 13.04.2024


The demarcation between exhausting work and relaxing leisure time has become overdue in the thoroughly economized present. Even if the division of the week into five working days and two weekend days still formally exists in the calendar, it no longer exists in social reality. The constant calls for productivity and consumption do not stop when we close the computer or leave the shopping center. Even in times of supposed tranquillity, there is constant pressure to produce and consume, which no longer stops at leisure time. Always delivering, hanging out with others, improving oneself, singularizing oneself through supposedly original purchasing decisions, even the promising 'me-time' functionally only serves to rest for increased productivity or to buy oneself happily through so-called 'retail therapy' in order to subsequently achieve more so that one can then consume again. There is no protected outside of the economy, which itself forms subject models, the entrepreneurial self and ideas of individualization as well as relationships to things and objects whose functionality is the be-all and end-all of consumer society and the world of commodities. The supposedly lifeless products of capitalism have long since achieved the status of vital actors and infiltrated all areas of life.

In the exhibition NIE WIEDER FREIZEIT, Axel Loytved deals with the (intrinsic) life of objects, the appellative infrastructures and end devices. Shopping carts, screens, radiators, packaging flips, glass bottles and magazines - all objects from the inventory of the consumer world that we encounter in everyday life and do not cause much excitement. Even if these objects initially seem familiar to us, they appear in the exhibition in a desolate and alienated state. The shopping cart has fallen to pieces and sinks functionless into a puddle, an empty cardboard box is covered with packaging flips, radiators are fitted with arms and legs, screens cast from epoxy resin are partially mounted on TV ceiling suspensions, the legs of a plastic chair are stuck in white socks, glass bottles mutated into anthropomorphic figures haunt the gallery space and the 'Freizeit' magazines, which initially suggest an ideal world, are overwhelming in their abundance of imperative appeals and frighten on second glance with their headlines full of dystopian abysses. Loytved's works, arranged into sceneries, are reminiscent of a transitional state: no longer inanimate and passive things, transformed into hybrid beings that are in an intermediate stage on the way to the status of autonomous actors. Both the arms and legs growing out of the radiators and the semantic level of the word 'radiator' point to the objects' becoming bodies. In the 'Screens' made of epoxy resin, pigments and fiberglass mats, the inner structure of the works is striking, reminiscent of the organic and vein-like tissue of the human body. Loytved's material-aesthetic and humorous explorations express the relational interplay between object and subject, compulsion and freedom, consumption and resistance. The play and experimentation with everyday objects and their own life and intended functionality ultimately leads to total dysfunctionality: the objects refuse to serve their purpose and resist any logic of exploitation. The objects produced under capitalist relations of production experience irritating ruptures and are transformed into new states. Their condition is a mirror of our exhausted self.

Text: Elena Maltsev