The artist Mika Rottenberg, who was born in Argentina and grew up in Israel, is concerned with cycles of production and the manner in which commodities are transported. Her work is neither disinterested critique nor precise political documentation, rather undertakes an analysis of the present in a distorted, caricatural exaggeration. In confining claustrophobic spaces, frequently fabricated from cardboard and found objects, the core of Rottenberg’s installations is usually a video showing specific production processes, such as the extracting of pearls from mussel shells. Rottenberg highlights the premises of labor, whilst simultaneously forcing the viewer into the role of a voyeur who is coerced into narrow corridors in order to view the processes of work. In her small spaces, objects tower in surreal scenographies, revealing the absurd accumulations and senselessness of some global enterprises.
The majority of the protagonists in her films are women who, according to Rottenberg, “loan” the artist their body parts. In the film Dough (2006), there are four women, two of them, the corpulent Raqui and the slender Kat, fashion lumps of dough in a factory-like environment.
For her highly acclaimed work Cosmic Generator for Skulptur Projekte 2017 in Münster, Rottenberg again worked with provisional architecture. She employed a disused Asian store as a readymade set-up. In the video filmed in a small border town between the USA and Mexico, she depicts the lives of Asian immigrants who maintain – literally between frontiers –a continual production process. Capitalism does not acknowledge borders.
Many of her installations are comical or incorporate erotic elements. For her exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz, she is planning, among other things, to set up the multi-layered processes of cheese production.