Artists: Tom Burr, Bernadette Corporation, Claire Fontaine, Sergej Jensen, Kitty Kraus, Josephine Pryde, Gedi Sibony, Andreas Slominski, Cerith Wyn Evans
Venue: Galerie Neu, Berlin
Exhibition Title: “…”
Date: October 5 – November 13, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Galerie Neu, Berlin
The group show “…” takes its title from a neon-work by Cerith Wyn Evans, which is also included in the exhibition. Commonly used to signify a moment of pause in written or spoken language, indicating surprise or the tacit understanding that further words are unnecessary, this graphic symbol implicates, above all, an open space, to be filled with thoughts, wishes, and desires – much like the curatorial act of putting together a group show.
Another neon-piece, Claire Fontaine’s Kultur ist ein Palast der aus Hundescheiße gebaut ist (the title translates as: Culture is a Palace Built of Dog Shit) installed on the roof of the gallery, uses an obscure quote by Bertolt Brecht, referenced in Adorno’s Negative Dialectic, to give a pessimist (and/or realist) view of contemporary culture while at the same time functioning as a sly advertisement for Claire Fontaine’s parallel solo show of the same title, which is on view at Neu’s Mehringdamm 72 space in Kreuzberg. Neon letters are nowadays obviously a standard element of (post) conceptual art – and thus of interest for the self- declared ‘ready-made artist’ Claire Fontaine – but they are also closely linked to product propaganda, a connection that Claire Fontaine’s piece cleverly reveals as a closed circuit. Trust is from a series of blank checks that Claire Fontaine had signed by their gallerists.
The works by Kitty Kraus, Tom Burr, Sergej Jensen, and Gedi Sibony hint towards the formal vocabulary of Minimal Art, each pushing the horizon of self-referentiality, that is conventionally associated with it, in different directions. While Kitty Kraus employs glass panes to create sculptures that are as visually captivating as psychologically charged with opposite notions of fragility and latent danger, Tom Burr’s Black Wall Skirt (Maria) wilfully confounds the realms of supposedly ‘neutral’ materials (as claimed by the theorists of Minimal Art) and elements that suggest the use or origin in a certain context. Sergej Jensen’s monochrome canvas displays the artist’s characteristic nonchalance towards the history of abstraction, as it can alternatively be read as a shaped canvas in the tradition of Frank Stella or as the accidental result of skewed stretcher bars, while its glittery surface confronts this focus on materiality with a purely visual effect. Sibony’s piece appears even more laconic, but distils a striking formal elegance from the matter-of-factness of its materials.
Both Bernadette Corporation’s and Josephine Pryde’s works revolve around questions of subjectivity. Bernadette Corporation’s Dornbracht fixtures engraved with statements from the internet that are concerned with the leaking of nude photos of pop star Rihanna propose a parallel between bathroom and internet as spaces where subjectivity is constructed and exercised. Josephine Pryde’s hanging sculpture made from baskets and meat hooks evokes opposite connotations of fragility and mundane yet somewhat abject brutality, literally keeping them suspended to explore their potential implications in terms of expectations that are projected on subjects. The humour that is subliminal here comes full blow with Andreas Slominski’s interest in absurd appropriations of everyday culture, as expressed by his Christmas decoration, which not only appears out of place in autumn, but also oddly oversized in the gallery space.
Link: “…” at Galerie Neu