“There is always an element of dark humor in my work as there is in my personality.”
“Illusion and Reality,” a solo exhibition by Swedish artist Marie Karlberg, which includes seven single-channel video works where participating art workers and artists improvise in common settings of the art scene using satire. From a gallery dinner to a studio visit to the opening of an exhibition…the footage highlights the established absurdity of the scene. Karlberg is a master of placing dark humor and exaggeration to examine the FOMO machine in which global markets flourish.
“Illusion and Reality” includes a number of sculptures, prints, and installations that goes hand in hand with three performances by Marie that will take place over the course of the exhibition.
“It just came to me, the memory of my mother telling me about the rag rugs grandma wove; how a favorite worn-out shirt was the very thing needed for a stripe in a rug. For grandma, the garments in the stripes held memories, like layers in slate…”
Upward Through The Ceiling, the first solo show by Swedish artist Linnéa Sjöberg with Company Gallery. Sjöberg’s work is concise and evocative, her tapestries are glassless mirrors of memories and introspection, finite narratives, a kind of archive.
“Museums were to offer the individual space of contemplation and quite and the white box and to keep out other world, the real world, in the space of aesthetic appreciation and contemplation, perhaps self transformation, but that is old now and certainly in this century that is not the model of the museum even in Europe anymore. It’s the educational institution, the interpreter of people’s lives and experiences and reinterpretation of the past.”
One of the social function of art is to define an image or a response to a blurred social picture and bringing its outlines into focus. In 1989, Martha Rosler transformed Dia Art Foundation’s space in New York into a voice of resistance. If You Lived Here… sought to contest stereotypes about homeless people and reassert their presence in public life. The exhibition consisted of three installations. The first part ,“Home Front,” was a representation of neighborhoods that were contested. The second part “Homeless: The Street and Other Venues” focused on homelessness as an aspect of capitalist urban conditions portraying the visible and invisible homelessness of streets. The latter, “City: Visions and Revisions,” offered different solutions to urban problems.
With If You Lived Here…, Rosler attempted to blur the distinctions between the public and the private. She brought things that were associated with the private world in the public space of an art gallery, from an old couch to a washed out blanket. A number of forums and meeting were held, where the public was invited to talk with the participants of the exhibition about homelessness and its possible solutions.
Rosler’s approach to art curation as a form of resistance changed the perspective on institutions and how they interact with society. If You Lived Here… was a demonstration of how art can be used to exhibit different conditions in society through diversification of objects and construction of alternative social spaces.
“Cuba was built by migrants. In towing the boat, I was towing the history of my family, my ancestors’ sea voyage, the stories of Africans who cross the sea today and my own experience as a black woman. The boat was made of solid wood; it was heavy and I only managed to move it a little bit.”
Body present, a solo show by Cuban artist Susana Pilar, is oriented towards the artist’s past and history. Pilar focuses on social and historical issues of gender and race by taking her own experiences and family history and relating them to contemporary concerns such as migration and violence against women. Through her family history and particularly her Sino-African roots, Pilar utilizes her body as the genesis of her practice. Through various mediums, Pilar emphasizes women’s power and courage throughout colonial history.
In 2001, Andrea Fraser staged Official Welcome a performance using words and phrases sampled from press releases and private art events that praises an imaginary exhibition and its “renowned” artists. I’m not a person today. I’m an object in an artwork, the artist stated, It’s about emptiness. Official Welcome intended to parody and disrupt the rhetorical functions of institutional opening events, which she described as “a script that moves through eight different pairs of artists and the people introducing them.”
During the performance, Fraser disrobes and stands on a podium revealing her body to the audience – the artist transforms her body into a vehicle of artistic production. Official Welcome pays tribute to the grotesque desire articulated by the Jane Castleton’s character in Museum Highlights (1989) nearly two decades earlier: an art object, of course, that is exchanged for the pleasure and profit of others.
PUP, Aline Bouvy’s first solo exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany is a promenade filled with advertising posters inspired by the magazine (Die Frechheit. Ein magazin des Humors. Zugleich Programm des Kabaretts der Komiker). The periodical was published in Berlin from 1928 to 1933 for the German bourgeoisie. Fascinated by the pre- WWII publication and its apparent openness to homoeroticism, strong women, and depictions of cabaret art. Bouvy lifts the iconography of the period for a series of her own posters.
Four human-like beings, one of which is a doppelganger of Bouvy herself, are placed around the room alluding to a sexual acts park-like setting. While the objects are meant to surprise and confront visitors, the images on the walls build up on the idea of an orthodox municipality. PUP seeks to define what is moral and acceptable in post-contemporary Germany.
There’s A Hole In The Bucket, is Nadia Belerique’s third solo exhibition with Daniel Faria in Toronto. Belerique explores the relationship between the physical world and the world of perceptions. The artist creates her own language by assimilating photographic strategies with sculptural installations. Freestanding metal doors, the kind most commonly found in artists studios or industrial loft buildings are scattered about the gallery floor as stand-ins for a human form, strategically draped with domestic objects such as towels, hats, and lit candles, etc. Interior interventions create tension between the interior and bodily boundaries. The exhibition is guided by an infamous German nursery rhyme with the same title as the exhibition: “There’s a hole in the bucket.”
The children’s song dates back to the 1700s and is based on a looped dialogue about a leaky bucket between two characters, Henry and Liza. The song is a discussion between a foolish man Henry and a common-sense woman named Liza. The song describes a deadlock situation: Henry has got a leaky bucket, and Liza tells him to repair it. But to fix the leaky bucket, he needs straw, to cut the straw, he needs an ax, to sharpen the ax, he needs to wet the sharpening stone. To wet the stone, he needs water.
“Diamond Stingily: Wall Sits,” the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in Europe, and is now on view at Kunstverein München in Munich, Germany. The exhibition’s title refers to an endurance exercise where a person places their back against a wall in a squatting position. The position was routinely deployed as a punishment in Stingily’s formative years.
Wall Sits is a reflection of Stingily’s upbringing in a family of athletes. One of the installations includes hundreds of trophies with personalized messages in the place of the achievement plaques, alluding to the feeling of exhaustion and a desperate need to win in order to prove oneself. The exhibition plays on tropes of Amerian ideology like the “American dream.” Stingily investigates the relationship between her childhood memories and violence, as well as the systemic racism in the United States.
Stingily’s work internalizes an acute awareness of the tensions between social class and artistic production. The artist uses found objects and materials to imply the limitless possibilities of art production. For the installation “Double Dutch Ropes”, phone cords take the place of children’s skipping ropes imply a dark connection between rope and telephone cords.
It’s easy to lose a sense of enchantment with art: galleries, museums, McMansions collecting, indexing, stamping nebulous icons, once alive material unfoldings pinned to the wall like dead insects; anatomical shadows of encounters and struggles that defined an ever-fluctuating umwelt.
Hippocrene Runs Dry subverts this phenomenon, telling a story about depletion through an exposition that consists only of an ending; all events prior inferred from a chaotic (but clearly not random) scattering of limbs and musculature possessed by a majestic engine that pushed itself to the point of catastrophe. This ending is not a frozen image but an ongoing denouement that one traverses in real-time; its passage marked by prosthetics, each with their own characteristic morphogens, that seem to grow from ossified flesh at speeds too slow for us to register.
This quasi-geological sense of time, casts the artifacts strewn about 17 Essex not as inert objects but as a single collective inertia.
Amidst endless apparitions of our neurotic fixation on the possibility of an instantaneous apocalypse, a bang as opposed to a whimper; Yasmin Kaytmaz offers the viewer a chance to meditate on the inseparability of growth from decay, and by extension life’s relentless capacity for invention and renewal.
“I Sing the Body,” is a survey of photographic works which explores iterations of photography’s fascination and dependence on the human form. The title inspired by Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric,” was one of the first poems to comprise Whitman’s masterpiece “Leaves of Grass” and sets a complex and erotic tone for the exhibition. Like the title describes many of the works in the exhibition display the full human form. One of the most prominent examples of this is Carla van de Puttelaar’s full-body portraits of models laying down on their back. Cleveland-native Amber N. Ford’s “Down By The River,” 2017 is one of the stand-out works from the exhibition literally and figuratively.
Cleveland-native Amber N. Ford’s “Down By The River,” 2017 peers out over “I Sing the Body.”
Ford’s work looms largely in the left gallery at Transformer Station. Her model stands Whitman-esque in nature peering through tall green-grass making direct eye contact with the viewer at eye level. Paul Sepuya’s historically significant “Darkroom Mirror Study,” takes a less traditional view of the body, where the “camera body,” [a body electric itself] holds the show together with an abstract rationale that balances this exhibition between the body and mind.