The works brought together individually explore the idea of nature and creation, and the myriad of forms this can take and present “a uniform vision of varying patterns of creation and corresponding thought processes.”
There is little information to accompany the exhibition announcement but we may expect work that is slick in nature with delicate touches, and inclusive of content that alludes to appropriation, pop culture and fashion.
That’s particularly when considering Scherer’s recent exhibition during Material Art Fair this year called Snow White and the Huntsman inspired by Kristen Stewart, while the Crib press image is a blurry photo of a young Johnny Depp and Kate Moss lighting cigarettes.
“Material Art Fair es la unica feria de arte contemporaneo en Mexico que se dedica a las practicas emergentes”, reads the homepage of the Material Art Fairwebsite. The third edition, running from February 4 to 7, gathers more than 60 international galleries, project and artist-run spaces together in Mexico City. Settled on the sixth floor of the Expo Reforma –a 60s building caught between its owndecay and attempts at some modernization near the historic city center and financial district –the event manifests in a maze where ‘emergent’ art spaces and practices mix and mingle in a kind of general mess. The hip set indeed exchange their natural habitat ofalleys and signs for a spatial organization where booths follow one another in a row. The advantage: every way enables a round trip between the air-conditioned restaurant, the bookstore, the reception, the toilets, and almost nothing escapes the viewer.
At Mexico City-based Lodos‘ booth two large tapestries, vintage and traditional looking, are suspended on both sides in its center, creating a partitioned space. Forced to sneak behind these compositions by French Mexico City-based artist Yann Gerstberger, these images or landscapes made of tinted floorcloth precede another mixed vision of the world in New Galerie’s installation. At one’s feet, silicone sculptures that look like different colored ox tongues by New York-based Olivia Erlanger prefigure the life-sucking cannibal scenario of movies and images by fellow NYC artist Darja Bajagić. Perched between thriller, pornography and death metal culture, one of her printed CDs hung on a wall reads, “Kill this fucking world”. It appears beside a series of C-print on hand-carved foam board –a blurry image of a goat, a sign that reads “Does that mean they are friendly” –by Vienna-based artists Anna-Sophie Berger’s completing the surgical picture.
Further on, Springsteen, a project established in 2013 by Baltimore duo Amelia Szpiech and Hunter Bradley, presents a series of paintings and found-objects by Erika Ceruzzi, along with a selection of robotic sculptures by Colin Foster including one described in a review onArtspace as “a ‘modified’ bug zapper that now works as a sculptural object while still killing bugs”. At Exo Exo, Brooklyn-based duo Bending Bindingand their ‘Kooling Systems’ air conditioning condenser and aerosol paint explore the future stakes of past technologies in an ultra-productive and fast, yet failing and polluted globalized world.
One of the most interesting stories of this third edition of Material Art Fair is San Diego mobile projectSPF15. Hidden beside the VIP restaurant, it occupies a space between projection, performance, discussion platform and what looks like a fire escape. “I’m sitting on the beach; it’s not particularly warm”, writes Morgan Mandalay, director and founder of the project in his announcement letter, “Despite the tales, it’s not exactly beach weather year round in San Diego.” The exhibition series was first initiated under the Sunday Project before changing its name to SPF15 Exhibitions –not just a UVA protection guideline but short for ‘Sunday Project for 15 Exhibitions’: “Again I dive in head first with curiosity and knowing it will be a project of experimentation; a lab”.
More specifically, SPF15 is physically a three-by-three meter pop-up canopy on the beach. While it operates as a gallery, it is also conceived as a kind of social sculpture in which each exhibition is also a collaboration with a changing tent. For the fair, the canopy is an overall installation with works byMichael Assiff, Chelsea Culp, Tim Mann, Josh Reames and Kim Schreiber. Always creating a fiction or a scenario connected with this context and being able to settle everywhere, the display this time pays tribute to the body. Culp’s large sculpture ‘Party Panties’ (2015) is a drunk, disenchanted and failed one. “The beach as a space ignites the mutual feelings of titillation and shame for that titillation”, writes Morgan in an email addressing the choice of tent-as-installation-area. “The beach to me has always operated as a space to explore dualities: Land and sea, leisure and labor, the sexuality of the body and its banality.” Everything is about borders –physical, political, poetical.
“- How it works? – Clay”, says the text by Schreiber presented on a tablet at the SPF15 tent entrance. Inside is a ceremony, a kind of initiation rite, exposed but intimate; mobile, fictive, hidden. It’s a transitive space, a place of passage, learning, much like Korakrit Arunanondchai‘s ‘Painting with History in a Room Filled With People With Funny Names 3’ (2015) film, this time showing as Lodos’ gallery space in Mexico City’s San Rafael and presenting a spiritual, social and almost technological portrait of the artist.
It’s a portrait that Yves Scherer extends well beyond himself, interring it into a beautiful, abandoned building in Mexico’s Juárez district with his Snow White and the Huntsman exhibition. Organized by joségarcia, mx and Attilia Fattori Franchini, it takes gossip and fan fiction as a starting point, reconstituting these stories into a physical context of immersive environments. Photos of actress Kristen Stewart and references to her public love scandal with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders appear alongside drawings and photos of Scherer himself to recreate the ‘rumor’ in his own image. Iconic representations of 19th century icons, pictures from Hollywood movies and tabloids, as well as personal pictures of the artist are arranged, framed and under glass as compositions or collages that put all these narratives on equal footing. What is real? What is invented? What is media?
An interweaving or imbrication of fictions, one within the other, is at work here. As with the Material Art Fair booths following one after the other, the VIP restaurant containing the SPF15 project containing the story of San Diego’s beach, and Arunandonchai’s film telling the story of an artist becoming an artist, there’s something ambiguous at play here; something ungraspable yet contained between the being, wanting, acting and telling of art and existence. **
Brand New Gallery in Milan presents group exhibition, Grey, opening January 14 and running to February 20.
The exhibition title can be spoken about in many terms, and the press release for this show makes a list. As a colour it contains both black and white. It is neutral – and not white. If an object is at first grey, the human eye can apparently recognise it in many different colours thereafter. It is objective. The brain is grey matter. Grey is the colour of Kansas and Dorothy’s red shoes in the Wizard of Oz. Actually, grey is pretty open.
The copy g_ods group exhibition is on at Cologne’s DREI, opening November 12 and running to January 9, 2015.
Featuring Julia Scher, Melike Kara and Yves Scherer, there’s little information on the themes of the exhibition itself but for the previous work of the artists within it.
An LA-born installation and performance artist working with the early web, Scher’s practice often concerns themes of surveillance culture in online works such as Securitylandand Wonderland. Kara is a Cologne-based artist working with sculpture and painting in examining dissolution through not necessarily defined but still somehow familiar content, while Berlin-based Scherer’s recent exhibition Where is the loveat Paris’ EXO saw the artist look at the possibilities of resistance through re-appropriation.
Yves Scherer’s Where is the love exhibition, running at Paris’ EXO from September 17 to 24, presents fragments from a recent trip to Beijing, Hong Kong and Thailand taken from his personal archive. They’re fragments, which might appear to have but a thin thread connecting them, but they also show the push of dominant contemporary cultural structures and conventions towards an understanding of the self as mutable or undefined.
Scherer presents three works, one of which you encounter as soon as you enter the space. There’s a clothes line hanging so low you have to look down to view the sketches hung on it. On the floor, at the centre, the viewer finds a partially exposed counterfeit Prada handbag in an original Prada shopping one that the artist bought in Beijing. Supported by a beam, a video work called ‘Cry Me A River’ hangs high above it –inaccessible and out of reach –featuring personal footage of the artist’s recent trip to Thailand. It’s been edited into a remake of the Justin Timberlake song of the same name, while the exhibition title in turn references a Black Eyed Peas track, featuring vocals from the aforementioned pop artist.
A series of sketches and plans are presented on Royal Plaza Hotel paper and hung on the clothes line, tied to a moped scooter. Although the notepad suggests that Scherer was staying or visiting the hotel, the emphasis is not on the notepad’s authenticity, but rather on how we look at an object such as this one, as it exists in the world.
In the ‘Cry Me A River’ video most shots are taken on a beach or resort and depict three characters on holiday singing to the Justin Timberlake song. Through this act, there is a demarcation, an active taking charge that affirms difference through the gesture of sameness. Scherer’s intervention exists within a contemporary discourse on ethics and form. His questioning of the boundaries between real and non-real, authentic and inauthentic, are continually being stretched, his mode of resistance being to put in place a structure of reappropriation.
Going back to the counterfeit Prada bag inside the original bag, it sheds light on how increasingly difficult it is to regard the authentic and the inauthentic as a traditional dichotomy. Not only does the distinction become blurred, at one point it is non-existent. Once the traditional dialectic is disrupted, the ‘Other’ is no longer recognisable through empirical referents, thus resulting in an unfixed understanding of the self. The critical distance that is needed to rationalize the Real, cannot exist once the Real has been replaced by another that is as accurate as the Real itself. The experience and its trace in time becomes more object-centred, its manifestation is a physical one; the private or public discourse around a culture for consumerism becoming embedded within it. **
Bulgarian art space Swimming Pool is opening its inaugural exhibition Balconia at their Sofia location, running from April 25 to May 31.
The premise of the space —a terrace pool atop a modernist building at the heart of Sofia —works swimmingly with the themes of its inaugural exhibition: a vacation spent at home, on one’s balcony. A “dated domestic setting — infused with fragmented memories” marks the exhibition, which invites not a change of geography and a redefinition of it.
The group exhibition brings three different artists contributing work: Stefania Batoeva expands on a new exploration of a fictional Club Caligula in dense paintings; Emanuel Röhss presents synthetic sculptures composed of found objects; and Yves Scherer plays with simulacrum and privacy in his latest works.
Boetzelaer|Nispen is hosting a new group exhibition titled Do I want an Old Fashioned? at their Amsterdam location, running from January 10 to February 14.
Following a theme we have (happily) seen arise of late in the art world, the Emma Siemens-Adolphe-curated show takes the physical as its starting point, questioning the “relationship between viewer, artist and body” and exploring the contradictory definitions surrounding it. The exhibition asks “What if our pupil had a crack in its lens; allowing for a fragmented view of a world in which no singularity prevailed?” and suggests this crack as the fluidity through which true communication can occur.
Participating in the group show is May Hands with a series of sculptural paintings entitled ‘Feather Duster Paintings’ (2014) Sandra Vaka Olsen with a photo series called ‘Sunshield’ (2014), Cory Scozzari with a new body of work titled ‘Crossfire or five years old running behind you at the beach’ (2014) and Yves Scherer with a work that attempts to redirect the male gaze titled ‘Persian Rug’ (2014). There’s also Tore Wallert with a body-size installation called ‘Margot’ (2015), and Thea Govorchin with an erotic painting series called ‘Kirigoe Mima (霧越未麻)’ (2014) and a sculptural element titled ‘Hojōjutsu’ (2015).
On the way to new London gallery Union Pacific, there’s a health and wellness centre called Zen Clinic. It’s a title that’s emblematic of the the all-too-familiar contradiction of late-capitalist desire, where the privileged fallacy of ‘self-actualisation’ comes in the cryo-packed quick fix of commodity spiritualism; of body and soul subsumed by industry. It’s an idea that has occupied the minds of gallery founders Grace Schofield and Nigel Dunkley for a while now, the latter of whom explored the Western business model for Eastern metaphysics as part of the N/V_PROJECTS-curated The Fulfillment Centre at the The Sunday Painter earlier this year.
In bringing together the work of artists represented by Union Pacific, as well as those artists’ friends, and those artists’ friends’ friends, for its inaugural exhibition – aptly titled Union – a thematic thread, birthed from the eighth hexagram symbolising ‘holding together’ in the Ancient Chinese I Ching and borne along the Union Pacific railroad enterprise, emerges. Perdo Wirz‘s ‘Dials’ (2014), a rubber hose meant to be used as a pipe of sorts to be shared at the exhibition opening but turning out to be toxic is chained to the outer front window as a means to be taken, only to have the gallery roller-door down, blocking the potential for artefact and appropriator to come into contact.
Adriano Costa‘s simple sculptural addition, a concrete filled bottle with its plastic promise of ‘Little Miracles’ (2014) weighs down a pillow’s soft center, while Yves Scherer‘s tantalisingly jarring baby blue Tatami mat and perspex in the wall mounted ‘Sirens (Sauereien)’ (2014) glares across and down at Olga Balema‘s ‘Untitled’ (2014) fountain. Steel beams engraved with fragments of cryptic diary entries rust under a stream of water splashing indiscriminately out of its bucket and onto the gallery floor. Companion piece ‘Untitled (shaky blood stone)’ (2014) looks across from a corner; a motorised piece of red and hardened epoxy glue shivering in the chiseled niche of a solid granite block.
This is all a fairly familiar feeling of hybrid cross-cultural and corporate tropes drowning out any sense of individuality. Downstairs and in the dark Julie Born Schwartz‘s subjects in the ‘Love has no reason’ (2014) video literally embody this commonality by becoming transformed by the masks made from images of other people. Jan Kiefer‘s ‘Base: biz fed ecb’ (2014) sculpture nearby features a miniature model of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, lovingly engraved into copper beech wood and topped with a traditionally made cone-shaped candle by Matthias Huber.
Back upstairs Max Ruf‘s ‘The monuments proved visible in the morning’ (2014) looms in three panels of paintings of corporate logos rendered unrecognisable in its abstract landscape that’s less location and more time and motion. Aude Pariset‘s inner anxiety of being a house guest is externalised in the woozy movement of an inkjet print on dry and cracking rice paper for ‘Bedroom Posters (To Leave)’ (2014). The gallery guestbook suspended beside it evokes Constant Dullaart’s thoughts on the ‘consumer experience’ of 21st-century travel: “hitching a ride is Uber, hospitality is Airbnb, and when you are interested, you are a follower”.
Another Kiefer screens a looping slideshow of brands and popular icons from a macbook. These are handpainted with black acrylic, then digitised and reconfigured into a childish stream of animal cartoons rendered familiar via repetition and reminding its audience: the religion’s in the ritual. **