Artist: Silke Otto-Knapp
Venue: Camden Arts Centre, London
Exhibition Title: Monday or Tuesday
Date: January 17 – March 30, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Camden Arts Centre, London, and greengrassi, London. All images are copyright Silke Otto-Knapp. Photos by Marcus Leith.
Silke Otto-Knapp’s paintings feature two constant subjects – performance and landscape – evoked in gouache and watercolour on canvas in a subtractive process that washes away layers to reveal forms beneath. The translucent space and the fugitive figures that emerge engage the active participation of the viewer whose movement brings aspects of the composition into their perception.
The visual constructs of performance and stage design act as a framework through which issues of nature and artifice are addressed. Rendered almost entirely in black and grey pigments these new paintings appear to be moonlit, yet the light source is hard to determine, ambiguously appearing as a lunar body, stage instruction or theatrical lighting device. Several of the paintings feature Anna Halprin’s outdoor deck – a stage built into the forest at her mountain home north of San Francisco where many choreographers rehearsed and performed within the natural frame of the landscape as an alternative to the traditional framing of proscenium theatres.
Silke Otto-Knapp’s exhibition, Monday or Tuesday, takes its name from a short story by Virgina Woolf, published in 1921. This historical precursor is one of several motifs which hold the work in a framework that extends beyond the realm of painting, into literature, dance and cultural history. Often working from iconic images of 20th century dance performances, such as Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Biches, Otto-Knapp’s paintings invite an understanding of the pictorial space as a site of staged imaginings. Three Seascapes (Eclipse and coastline; Third Movement; Trees and Moon) (2013) consists of 42 etchings which demonstrate the subtle shifts of tonality and colour that emerge within the parameters of three prevailing motifs: A Newfoundland Seascape; A scene from the third movement of Yvonne Rainer’s Three Seascapes, 1966; and the view from Edvard Munch’s cabin in Aasgarstrand, Norway.
Silke Otto-Knapp’s exhibition is accompanied by a season of dance events in the winter public programme. In the first week of the exhibition, choreographer-dancer Flora Wiegmann will be in residence in the Artists’ Studio, developing a performance in the context of Monday or Tuesday. This will be performed on 24 January with costumes designed by Silke Otto-Knapp based on Yves Saint Laurent dresses from the 1960s. Also in the Artists’ Studio, dancer Nissa Nishikawa will run a two-day Masterclass (29-30 March), training the body to respond to the landscape. On 2 March, there will be a salon afternoon of performance screenings with a conversation between dancer Kate Coyne and Silke Otto-Knapp exploring some of the concerns informing cross-disciplinary collaborations.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication with an essay by Sabeth Buchmann co-produced with Charlottenborg, Copenhagen where some of the works in the exhibition were shown in 2013. A File Note has been published with an essay by Rike Frank.