mumok is showing the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the work of Austrian artist Ernst Caramelle. This exhibition includes all the phases of the artist’s work from 1974 to today. Various media and Caramelle’s conceptual approach will be interlinked and illustrated in an accessible way, but without losing the work’s subtle and strategic complexity.
The exhibition is not entirely chronological, as it presents the overlaps and continuous cross-references between media works (photos, videos, reproductions of images), wall paintings, the artist’s “Gesso Pieces,” drawings, watercolors, the “light works,” and the important body of prints in Caramelle’s oeuvre. Looking at these cross-references allows us to understand the artist’s complex and rich concepts and images.
Abstraction and symbolic figuration, including expressive floral formlessness, permanently interact in Caramelle’s work, as a means of testing out and the anarchic dissolution of boundaries, and an attitude toward the fixation and ideologies of all the various -isms.
Ernst Caramelle will create a new spatial concept with wall paintings for mumok, and this will be a key part of this exhibition that is conceptually and methodologically linked with the artist’s entire oeuvre.
Curated by Sabine Folie
Museum solo show, curated by Eric Troncy.
Perrotin New York is proud to announce an exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based sculptor Genesis Belanger and Brooklyn-based painter Emily Mae Smith. Though the two have exhibited together before, never has their work been engaged in such close dialogue as it is on the occasion of their show at Perrotin. The exhibition presents a call and response between disciplines and a fruitful discussion of shared themes. Emily Mae Smith’s paintings are realized with photorealistic rigor. Their content, however, bears little relation to the ‘real.’ They tend, instead, towards a kind of Surrealism where a displacement of references is the operative strategy. In an ongoing series, an anthropomorphic broom figure, reminiscent of the bewitched worker from Fantasia (1940), stands in for a would-be female figure. She has appeared both as artist—touting a brush and easel on the cover of art magazines—and subject, a surrogate figure in reimaginings of well-known paintings. As the broom has recurred, its role has varied greatly as has the discourse generated around it, though commentary on the strictures of art and the art world has persisted. With this versatile avatar, Smith is able to critique the accepted role of women in art as subject and artist, before and behind the canvas. The broom, a cleaning implement first and foremost, engages a feminist critique around gender and labor in the domestic sphere and the stratified world of art. In Genesis Belanger’s work, a similar surrogacy of the body takes place, as objects, finely sculpted in ceramic and tinted in fondant hues, take on human features. A lamp sprouts an arm. A pink candy bowl grows teeth. These recognizable objects are made uncomfortably familiar as they begin to resemble us. The effect of Belanger’s work is uncanny, as it tows the line between comfort and disquiet, the beautiful and the strange. The confusion of bodies with domestic detritus is not tacit acceptance of gendered roles and spaces, but a subversion of them from within. Recalling the complex symbolic constructions of 17th century Dutch vanitas paintings, a sculptural still life by Belanger presents a seemingly mundane array—furniture, fruit, flowers—loaded with signs and symbols as they protest gendered power structures. A cigarette, emblem of Marlboro Man virility, becomes a comment on limp masculinity at Belanger’s hands as she sculpts a sagging cylinder. A bouquet of flowers and fingers that includes a woman’s mouth, erotically agape, points to the refusal of her objects to just sit pretty. Beyond an illustrative objectification of the body, these sculptures speak up.
In this exhibition, paintings by Smith and sculptures by Belanger are arranged as mise-en-scène. In one instance, Belanger has sculpted a dressing table, complete with attendant accoutrements. To comprise a vanity, Smith has added a ‘mirror,’ a work that takes on Édouard Manet’s final major painting Un bar aux Folies Bergère (1882). The vanity’s potential for semantic play is not lost on the artists, as Belanger’s arrangement of objects doubles, again, as vanitas. Smith’s ‘mirror,’ in turn, takes up the pure etymology of the word as the viewer will not find herself in its reflection, but Smith’s polymath broom posing here as a Narcissus figure consumed by her image. Objects from Belanger’s dressing table are doubled in Smith’s painting, a literal mirroring between both bodies of work that speaks to the larger metaphoric one at play throughout. Smith and Belanger are engaged in a game of inter-referentiality, as painting and sculpture, discrete works unto themselves, speak to each other across disciplines in surefooted, refreshing solidarity.
Organized by Valentine Blondel, Director, Perrotin New York
Mary Mary is delighted to present ‘deshacer’, ektor garcia’s first solo exhibition in the UK and at Mary Mary.
ektor garcia’s multifaceted and densely layered sculptural installations draw influence from handcraft traditions, often with a focus to Mexico and South America, to consider the way in which objects and materials define gender, cultural identities and societal roles. garcia’s accumulative practice encompasses textiles, ceramics, metalwork and found material presented across floor-based assemblages, sculptural groupings and sprawling environments that express personal histories, narrative threads and nomadic states.
Describing himself as ‘belonging somewhere else, somewhere liminal and never fixed, on the road and open to constant change’ garcia maintains an itinerant artistic practice, often working on a small scale with easily portable materials in order to stitch, weave, crochet and mould whilst travelling from place to place. His artistic processes, gestures and decisions are filtered through a perspective of dis-locatedness and an anxious, ambivalent identity politics resistant to the divisions of difference.
Spontaneous, intuitive, and frequently revisionist, garcia’s installations can be viewed as a personal psycho-geography crowded with references, emotions, and tensions. Heavily worked on and intricately crocheted leather and copper panels stitch together narratives of violence, marginalisation and erasure, as well as tenderness and compassion, expressed all the more viscerally through their close relationships to his personal and lived familial experience. Collections of glazed ceramics, found fragments and talismanic objects are visual metaphors for place, mental states, the body, and other people, and garcia interweaves these associations, connecting the past with the present, and the universal with the personal.
Tending towards lightness and permeability, garcia’s assemblages belie many days and hours of intensive labour and physical production. Perhaps masochistically – garcia treats his body as a tool and his hands like a machine configured to fervently and dextrously oppose the mass produced. As such, hands themselves appear as repeated motifs and are evidenced constantly in his work: from the expanses of crochet and collections of doilies to the ceramic chains that mimic stitch work, and the figurines and phallic shapes covered with finger marks.
Acts of making and unmaking are at the centre of garcia’s present work. ‘deshacer’ translates from Spanish as ‘to undo’ and seems to indicate a critical questioning of the artist’s recent pace of production and the proposal for an increasingly malleable and open-ended work. The exhibition contains a number of earlier works disassembled, deconstructed, broken apart and reconstructed anew. In this way, garcia’s work occupies its own temporal space whereby memory and ancient histories combine with the present.
His work, both inclusive and subjective, expresses the political and personal, and the multivocal and autobiographical at once. Journeying to remote regions of Mexico, garcia seeks out specific artisanal techniques that are routed in ancient Meso-American cultural traditions, as well as his own cultural genealogy, adopting and appropriating processes traditionally associated with ritual spaces or else domestic wares. garcia’s processes also align him closely to the fibre art movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the wire sculptures of Ruth Asawa, the leather masks of Nancy Grossman and other queer, feminist textile artists such as Harmony Hammond who asserted so-called feminine materials and craft processes as fine art. Likewise, garcia’s elaborate installations confront gendered notions of materials and trouble the traditional division between high and low culture.
“Pieces of You Are Here will mark Scottish artist Lorna Macintyre’s first solo exhibition in a major UK institution in which she will debut a new body of work commissioned specifically for Gallery 2 at DCA.
Macintyre uses a broad spectrum of references – including literature, archaeology, Greek mythology and symbolism – as sources of inspiration for photographic and sculptural works. Often her work evolves as a response to source material that is language based – a phrase in a novel or a line in a poem. These references form a kind of oblique structure behind a piece of work, lending a form for a composition or providing the impetus behind her choice of materials.”
Oficio y materia (Skill and Material) is a small sampling on the contemporary art scene of an interest in —and of the pertinence of— traditional craft techniques, folk practices, regional materials, and ancestral skills associated with rural milieus.
This attention given (supposedly only recently) to artisanal techniques in the handling of textiles, ceramics, and natural pigments and to various practices originating among country people can be understood in various ways. The artists assembled in this exhibition come from different environments, with a range of motivations that have in one way or another determined their work: the raising of pigs and sheep in the region of Los Altos in Jalisco; the codes of male power reflected in the intricacy of the embroidered belts made in Colotlán; the settled fate of generations of women weavers, transmuted by a male artist whose skill with the crochet hook is a central element of his work. The participants are young artists who celebrate the dexterity and painstaking effort of manual work, who acknowledge the vitality of local materials and the importance of natural cycles, who honor the influence of Mexico’s indigenous peoples and the treasures of folk wisdom.
Some of the artists draw directly on manual techniques, reinterpreting traditional designs, codes, and meanings. Some reformulate the techniques themselves through the use of new supports and unexpected elements, highlighting the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and representations of power. Still other experiment with local materials, injecting new value by transforming raw materials into finished products.
The division that produced the modern notion of the “fine arts” and the fetishization of certain specific techniques and genres (such as easel painting, generally executed in oils, as it developed in the seventeenth century), considered noble and intellectual, in contrast to “craft genres,” brought with it a hierarchy of values and a redistribution of visibility and signification. This dichotomy between art and craft, also reflected in terms of class, rank, sex, and cultural or ethnic origin, implies not only a distinction between the artist and the artisan, but also the development of a non-ordinary esthetic pleasure to be taken in objects of “static attention.”
These hierarchies are upended by the insertion of artisanal practices and techniques into the hegemonic ambit of contemporary art, as both the scope and functions of art are expanded. Nevertheless, there is still a need to challenge both artists and museums as the sole agents, spaces of visibility, and arbiters of the cultural legitimacy of these expressions.
With works by Napoleón Aguilera, Karian Amaya, Lorena Ancona, ektor garcia, Rodrigo González Castellanos, Carmen Huizar, Felipe Manzano & Nuria Montiel.
Opening Reception: 30.08.2018, 8pm
Including work from:
Dike Blair, Joan Brown, Beverly Buchanan, Jordan Casteel, Vija Celmins, Leidy Churchman, Moyra Davey, Taylor Davis, Tacita Dean, Manny Farber, Fischli & Weiss, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Jennifer Guidi, Roni Horn, Kahlil Joseph, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Chris Marker, Josiah McElheny, Roy McMakin, Rodney McMillian, Aliza Nisenbaum, Catherine Opie, Patricia Patterson, Quintron, Charles Ray, Rachel Rose, Sue Schardt, Nancy Shaver, Lorna Simpson, Becky Suss, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Jonas Wood.