Sonja Gerdes

Hug the trees and tell them stories, 2020

Artist statement
My practice can be defined by the relationship and interactions between the body, energy, and air and what it means to be human. My starting point is the consideration of the accessibility of air through a conceptual science fiction project called Oxygenenergizer (OE). Oxygenenergizer is a sci-fi exploration of a future in which machines create energy from oxygen and “breathing” is recognized as the connecting force between all life and spirits on the planet. It speaks poetically of the contemporary human condition as an ongoing, infinite, fluid movement versus the reality of environmental change. Through a combination of sculptures, performances, writings, spirit channeling, and social activation, Oxygenenergizer manifests moments of infinite possibilities while activating a sense of what it means to be amorphous — abstract, ambiguous, absurd and uncertain.

Sonja Gerdes was born in Germany. She studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin, and from 2007-2013, co-ran the Berlin-based artist run space, Infernoesque. Her work probes our disdainful relationship to the environment, grappling with the unchecked entrenchment of late capitalism and the potential extinction through climate change, while positioning a speculative convergence of technology and organic life as a malleable, amorphous mind and a means to create and embark upon a utopic future. “I see Oxygenenergizer as a multi-dimensional soul organism that draws on air for the potential to create a higher consciousness tapping into models of generative energies; being a soul spirit, a spider, a mother, a healer, an air activist, cellular plant life, an infinite hyper object for multispecies enmeshing.” The work also embodies a collective and dialogic dimension, one in which performances, durational works, and other site based activations become part of a process of engagement and an invitation towards creating meaningful dialogue around thoughts, belief, and change towards the infinite possibility of air and energy. Over the last few years Oxygenenergizer has created environments and installations that often connects us to a larger sense of the feminine and the animistic, suggesting embodied spaces that become porous modes of circulation – an ultimate soul-giving machine.

Recent exhibitions include Soft Schindler, Schindler House, Los Angeles; Pie of Trouble. Stays Trouble. Belly on Belly, Gas Gallery, Los Angeles; Pie of Trouble. Stays Trouble. Let’s Hang. Breathe. Oxygenenergizer. Becoming With. Genderless Breath. Animal Creature Plant Breath Soul. Air For Free. Do spiders breathe? The Multiple Amorphous Us. Crown Chakra – Sahasrara Rising. Nova, Cloaca Projects, San Francisco; Direct Contact, D21, Leipzig; School for Endurance Work, Cal State La, Los Angeles; Pie of Trouble. Let’s Hang. Air for Free. Uncertainty. Absurdity. You look at it but it doesn’t exist. Anahata. Vishuda rising. Unpredictability, Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles; When the sea looks back. A Serpent’s Tale. The Many Headed Hydra #02, District, Berlin; Pie of Trouble. Let’s Hang. You look at it but it doesn’t exist. Air for free and The Elegant Universe, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA; Unblinking Eye, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Berlin, Germany; and informell natur, Sabine Knust, Berlin, Germany. Her show at Cloaca Projects, San Francisco was reviewed by Brian Karl in Artforum, may 2018.