We are very excited to introduce a new series of the “Meet the Team”, where you get to meet the people behind the platform that only offers you important and historical NFTs. This entry is on Marlene Wenger, one of our curators at elementum based in Bern. Marlene is interested in how digital technologies in the 21st century influence the production, perception and distribution of contemporary art. She finished her PhD in art history on the topic of post-digital display strategies in contemporary art at the University of Bern.
Q: What was the first NFT you bought/got gifted (by whom) and when? Marlene: It was the work Hanging Tubes, by Jonas Baumann. It was a gift by the artist that was released as one of our very first drops on elementum in 2019.
Clip image of the artwork below, currently sold out Explore more works by Jonas Baumann, here
Q: What is your favourite NFT drop and/or project on/by elementum? Marlene: I am very much in love with Stephan Bruelhart. He has such a unique artistic expression and approach to the space, each work immediately tells a story and he has such a subtle but striking humour.
Image below: Installation shot displaying Stephan Bruelhart's "The Last Dance" as exhibited at "Digital Landscapes" a collaboration between elementum and unpaired Gallery in Zug (15 September - 14 October, 2022)
explore more works by Stephan Bruelhart, link here https://www.elementum.art/en/artists/stephan-bruelhart-182/
Image below: The curators of the show (from left to right) Marlene Wenger, Petra Tomljanovic, and Christina Scheublein
Q: What did you do before you joined elementum? Marlene: I wrote a PhD in art history on the topic of postdigital display situations in contemporary art. The book will hopefully be published next year. Q: What attracted you to the space and why is that? Marlene: When Tom (Tom Rieder, co-founder of elementum, meet the team entry here) first approached me to ask if I wanted to be a curator for elementum, NFT was not an expression that was born yet. We had to painfully explain to people what we were doing, it was not easy. But from the beginning I was fascinated by this new technology and very curious what it could do for the art world. Also, it was a way for me to engage with digital art, which I had been interested in for quite some time. What interested me most from the beginning and still is one of my driving forces to be in the space, is how the blockchain and smart contracts will not only change the way we buy art but also how we display it. Since I am a museum person, I am curious how this technology will change the spaces and create new ones to appreciate art online and offline.
Q: Who is your favourite NFT artist and why? Marlene: Ah there are so many! One of my favorites though is Sarah Friends Lifeforms – it is a conceptual hack on the notion of ownership, since these cute colored dots only survive if you give them away again. They have to always stay in circulation and therefore work as a metaphor or reminder of the circularity and fluidity digital things have – even if they live on the blockchain. I also love the work of Rafael Rozendaal, Sofia Crespo, Holly Herndon, Rhea Myers, Kim Asendorf and Jonas Lund, just to name a few.
Image below: Sarah Friends's Lifeforms
Q: What is your favourite quote/observation about the NFT space? Marlene: Although it is very speculative, volatile, and overwhelming at the moment this technology is here to stay. The question will be if we find the adequate implementations that will sustainably change how the artworld or the world in general works. I believe that the way the blockchain is used for decentralized governance in DAOs is a promising way to supersede platform capitalism.