Tanya Harrod on Pivot

Excerpt from the publication for the exhibition Etwas Mehr als Arbeit in Göttingen Kunstverein, 2020.

(Harrod, Tanya. "Etwas mehr als Arbeit". Just a Little Rest, edited by Tomke Braun, Malte Roloff, Santiago da Silva, BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE VERLAG, Berlin, 2021)

Rasmus Johannsens 2012-2017 work Pivot...comments on mechanization by enlarging to hand-size discrete parts of machines. In effect he turns overlooked widgets into small sculptural monuments, becoming for a while a tool maker - one of the aristocrats of the factory system. None of these ‘machines’ are individually identified:

‘The main reason I don't include the information in the exhibition is that I would end up discussing technical details and historical facts with male visitors, which is not interesting to me. It would take focus and prevent the visitor from drawing their own conclusions.’

In fact, Pivot includes parts from an IED detonator, a Maxim gun and the guidance system of a Tomahawk missile. These shiny lathe-turned objects remind us that the standard histories of mechanisation tend to exclude one area of ‘progress’ – the creation of the weapons of destruction. No one could argue with a Maxim gun. Such things have shaped our histories as profoundly as the Gutenberg press, an element of which is also included in Pivot.