Björn Braun’s (b. 1979, Berlin) practice considers how much an artist alone controls and completes creative processes and his artwork explores what potential there might be to transform this singularity. Braun uses nature as a departure point as he often partners with animals, turning the remnants of their activities – nests, burrows, abandoned eggs, and feathers – into sculptures. At the heart of these collaborative works is an element of chance and, even to some degree, chaos as Braun’s aesthetic choices rely on the functional decisions of the animals as they negotiate their ingrained survival instincts and the realities of their environment.
For Björn Braun’s online exhibition, Marianne Boesky Gallery is delighted to present a selection of the artist’s Nests along with new video works that were featured in his recent solo exhibition at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Switzerland (2019) and his egg carton floor sculptures. Since 2009, Björn Braun has cared for and worked with zebra finches to create small sculptures in the form of nests. The artist provides his birds with non-natural media – including colored plastic fibers, artificial feathers and concrete – to build their resting places. According to Braun, his finches cyclically abandon their nests out of hygienic necessity and the birds have a ceaseless demand for more materials as they participate in this unusual dialogue between artist and assistant. The resulting artworks blur the line between art and nature as well as functional and sculptural as the nests are inextricably linked to this collaborative process, the birds that constructed them, and their intended purpose.
The artist’s video works further explore the relationship between the artist and his birds, but here the animals are no longer simply his assistants – they are also the subject. The videos showcase the animals reconstituting their environment as they interface with a light-switch and an unseen human figure. This interaction is a poetic dialogue of sorts, and suggests the birds have an aesthetic preference about the lighting in this setting. Presented alongside the Nests, these artworks point to the bird’s artistic license and inextricably links them to Björn Braun’s creative process.
Braun’s numerically titled floor-sculptures are made from abandoned bird nests that have been boiled into a papier-mâché type material and then cast using molds of egg cartons. The eggs found in the original nests are hollowed out and placed accordingly within the sculpture. The systematic titles of the works (for example 9:5:1) reference the number of nests, eggs, and cartons used.
Björn Braun embraces the accidental and the uncontrolled in his artwork to create immersive objects and collages as well as video installations. The artist has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Springhornhof, Neuenkirchen, Germany; the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany; the Kunstvereing Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany; and Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Switzerland among others. His work has been featured in group exhibitions at institutions across the globe, most recently including the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Art Sonje Center, Seoul, South Korea; and Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY. Braun lives and works in Berlin, Germany.