Artists: Maria Bartuszová, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Lin May Saeed, Trevor Shimizu, Erika Verzutti
Venue: VIN VIN, Vienna as part of curated by, Vienna
Exhibition Title: Crumple
Date: September 8 – 26, 2020
Curated By: Emily Watlington
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artists; VIN VIN, Vienna; Alison Jacques, London; Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. Photos by Flavio Palasciano.
Crumple brings together art objects concerned with the hybrid space between fragility and permanence. The works mine humble materials, be they fragile, quotidian, or provisional. All exude a certain vulnerability, and even humility, yet nonetheless, all are material objects.
Likening the humbleness of their materials to that of their message, the works make principled points without preaching, or avoid grand statements altogether. Some of the artists—such as Elaine Cameron-Weir (b. 1985, Canadian) and Maria Bartuszová (1936–1996, Slovak)— emphasize their work’s materiality, without endeavoring to transcend it. In her 2019 wall piece, as elsewhere in her work, Cameron-Weir emphasizes the hybrid delicacy and durability of industrial and functional objects: in this case, laboratory lattices and parachute harnesses. Bartuszová sculpts using plaster: she favored the material’s provisional connotations. The stacked sections comprising Untitled (1968–9) exude simultaneous precarity and sturdiness.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lin May Saeed’s (b. 1973, Iraqi-German) sculpture and relief comment on human-animal relations. Bilal (Pyramid) (2014) is based on a visit to Egypt, where the artist saw many stray dogs. Saeed’s chosen material—styrofoam—is prone to crumbling, yet also rather permanent: it does not biodegrade. The twinned pitiful and attractive qualities of Saeed’s styrofoam mimic the way one often perceives stray dogs, for whom the artist seeks to evoke empathy. Her strategy differs starkly from that of wagging fingers at human perpetrators, yet the live plants placed atop the structure gently remind us that all species are part of one ecosystem and are interdependent. Similarly, her styrofoam relief Hammar Marshes (2015) reflects on the dehydration of Iraqi marshlands—likely the site of the Garden of Eden—due to climate change. Even this sacred site is vulnerable. Nature is also found in Erika Verzutti’s (b. 1971, Brazillian) wall relief and Trevor Shimizu’s (b. 1978, American) two paintings. Verzutti deeply reveres natural beauty, and her practice is driven by the question: why does nature make certain things beautiful, even when it serves no obvious evolutionary function? For Dieta (2018), she cast bananas—which are abundant in her native Brazil—using papier-mâché, creating one-to-one copies of nature rather than endeavoring to subsume or outdo it. Similarly, Shimizu paints animals and mushrooms, but eschews the trope of sublime beauty common to landscape painting. He also does not attempt to “master” his medium. In Pigs, Horses, Birds (2016), he leaves the canvas unstretched, while the canvas for Shrooms 1 (2017) is small and most of its surface unpainted.
It is a pleasant coincidence that crumple and humble rhyme imperfectly.
Mária Bartuszová (b. 1936 in Prague, Czechoslovakia – d. 1996 in Košice, Slovakia)
Upcoming solo exhibitions: Tate Modern, London, November 2020. Solo exhibitions include: Alison Jacques Gallery, London, UK, 2016; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2014; Slovak National Gallery Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2005; Group exhibitions include, among others: Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana, Palazzo Grassi, 2020; Museum Susch, Switzerland, 2018; Lévy Gorvy, New York, USA, 2018; Tate St Ives, UK; travelled to Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, 2018; Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK, 2018; Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, West Yorkshire, UK, 2017; Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany, 2014; The Goetz Collection, Munich, Germany, 2013; Palazzo Reale, Milan, Italy, 2013.
Trevor Shimizu (b. 1978 in Santa Rosa, California, USA)
Trevor Shimizu had solo and two person exhibition at, among others: 47 Canal, New York, 2020; ICA Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2020; Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brazil, 2018; Galerie Christine Mayer, Munich, Germany, 2017; Magenta Plains, New York, NY, 2016; Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, Japan, 2015.
Lin May Saeed (b. 1973 in Würzburg, Germany)
Lin May Saeed had solo exhibitions among others, at: The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, USA (June – October 2020); What Pipeline, Detroit, USA (September 2019); Jacky Strenz Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (May 2019); Studio Voltaire, London, UK, (June – August 2018). Group exhibitions include, among others: Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw, PL (June – October 2020); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR (June – September 2019); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, DE (November 2018 / February 2019); MUMOK, museum moderner kunst stiftung ludwig, Vienna (June – November 2018); Museo Castello di Rivoli, Turin, IT (March – September 2018). Upcoming: Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, RivoliTorino, IT (October 2021 – February 2022).
Erika Verzutti (b. 1971 in São Paulo, Brazil)
Erika Verzutti had solo exhibitions, among others, at: Aspen Art Museum, 2019; Centre Pompidou, 2019; Misako & Rosen, 2018; Andrew Kreps Gallery, 2018; Sculpture Center, New York, 2015; Alison Jacques Gallery, 2015. Group exhibitions include, among others: Pio Pico, Los Angeles, 2020; Peter Freeman Inc., New York, 2019; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, 2019. Group exhibitions include, among others: Mendes Wood, 2018; 57th La Biennale di Venezia, 2017; Galerie Neu, 2016; Guggenheim, New York (2014).
Elaine Cameron-Weir (b. in 1985 in Alberta, Canada)
Elaine Cameron-Weir had solo exhibitions among others, at: JTT, New York, 2019; Sadie Coles, London, 2019; Storm King Art Center, New York, NY USA, 2018; Dortmund Kunstverein, Dortmund, Germany, 2018; New Museum, New York, NY USA, 2017; Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, CA USA, 2017. Group exhibitions include, among others: Gió Marconi, Milan, Italy, 2019; Magenta Plains, New York, NY USA, 2019; Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY, USA, 2018; Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong, China, 2017; Luxembourg & Dayan, New York, USA, 2017; La Biennal de Montreal, Montreal, Canada, 2016.
Emily Watlington is a critic and curator of contemporary art. She is assistant editor at Art in America, and was previously the curatorial research assistant at the MIT List Visual Arts Center. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has taught in the Department of Architecture at MIT. Her work often focuses on video art through the lenses of feminism and disability studies. She holds a SMArchS in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art from MIT, and has given talks at numerous institutions including the University of California, Berkeley; Rhode Island School of Design; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including: Artforum, Mousse, Frieze, Another Gaze, Spike, and Art Review, and has been translated into German, French, and Croatian. Recently, she contributed to the exhibition catalogues Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995, Sheida Soleimani: Medium of Exchange, and An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art. She received the Vera List Writing Prize in the Visual Arts (2018) and the Theorist Award from C/O Berlin (2020).
Link: “Crumple” at VIN VIN