Artists: Ed Atkins, Matthew Brannon, Carter, Antoine Catala, Helen Chadwick, Alice Channer, Anne Collier, Anthea Hamilton and Julie Verhoeven, Eva Kotátková, Jochen Lempert
Venue: Lisa Cooley, New York
Exhibition Title: Antibody
Date: June 28 – July 26, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Lisa Cooley, New York
Lisa Cooley will present a group exhibition, Antibody, featuring video, photography, sculpture, and painting by Ed Atkins, Matthew Brannon, Carter, Antoine Catala, Helen Chadwick, Alice Channer, Anne Collier, Anthea Hamilton and Julie Verhoeven, Eva Kotátková, and Jochen Lempert. The exhibition will run from June 28th until July 26th, with a reception for the artists on Friday, June 28th, from 6 until 8 pm.
Antibody will circle around an absent body. This body is not solid and central. Neither is it immediate, primal and expressive, like the body in Body Art. Instead, our body is mediated and extended by technology and completely commodified. This explodes and expands the body, as well as contracting and concentrating it. Each of the artists in the exhibition proposes a particular kind of authorship and artistic identity that is mediated through technology, media, and other things in the world that flatten, objectify, and erase the body.
Conversations about Helen Chadwick’s work sparked the idea for the exhibition. She destabilized the art historical idea of Body Art, where ‘the body’ is used in a primal, direct, visceral way, and conjured a more complicated idea – the body in flux, extended, mediated, free of boundaries and full of possibilities. In these unique polaroids, offal weaves around electrical apparatus, alluring yet fragmented, presaging the way that our bodies and minds are enmeshed in Fitbits and iPhones. These works employ both an unusually toxic sensuality as well as jarring formal juxtapositions, qualities shared by other artists in the exhibition.
Atkins and Brannon frequently use language to evoke an absent human narrator or body. Their language arises in the context of exhibition making, rendering their humans hyper present yet also completely absent, while reflecting human anxieties about the flattening of the human body into virtual space and language. The reverse type on Brannon’s door suggests that the die is cast and that the narrator is already inside, complicit. Atkins’ A Tumor describes an unstoppable malignant force, amplified by any attempts to mute, identify, or discover its source. A takeaway chapbook is available in the gallery as part of the piece.
Photography is uniquely suited to flattening and objectifying the body. In Jochen Lempert’s photographs, a human body usually examines the non-human body of a bird or insect. The unseen human behind his camera regards his subjects in a way that is both objective and empathetic. Here, we see traces of a body, a swarm of insects creating a group, and cloud cover above the absent viewer – a phenomenological space above a human – alive, sensing, recording, feeling, thinking.
Catala’s work, Storage, negates the body by embracing every variation of an idea’s representation. These iterations echo each other through image search and open up immense possibilities for human existence, just as here, one image lies just behind and underneath another. As image search extends our memory, imagination, and entire central nervous system into the world, we can simultaneously claim multiple forms – for ourselves, for cats, for pots and pans, for anything
Similarly, Channer’s work searches for a physical presence in an environment where the body is fragmented, extended, compressed and otherwise negated. Here, casts of different segments of clothing are chromed, painted, and hung on wooden dowels, in a sense, not only compressing a bodily form into the wall, but also extending it onto the floor.
Carter, Collier, and Kotátková examine what makes us be and feel human, what sorts of things prevent us from communicating, or from being ourselves, and the structures that we use to create a sense of ourselves and the world around us. Carter’s paintings explore how identities and personalities appear and disappear – how we can capture only a fragment of understanding about any human being at any one time. Masks, veils, fragments, and stitched-together fabrics are apt metaphors in his work. Anne Collier’s photographs – found in books, on record covers, postcards, and other ephemera of modern life, focus on themes related to the process of looking and being looked at. Here the space inside a book where one might expect one of her alluring ciphers is blank, supported by disembodied arms
Kotátková, here, presents several photo collages as well as a curtain draped across the gallery’s front window. In her collages, drawn structures overlay a pair of moving figures and describe boundaries between interior and exterior, secondary communication, movement, intuition, and self-formulation. Holes are cut in her curtain, allowing her performers to ‘leak’ their eyes, arms, and legs of performers out into the street. In these ways she explores fragmentation of both body and mind. Kotátková’s script will be performed Friday, June 28 from 6 until 8pm, Saturday, June 29 from 2 until 6pm, Sunday, June 30 from 2 until 6pm, Thursday, July 11 from 2 until 6pm, Friday, July 12 from 2 until 6pm, Thursday, July 18 from 2 until 6pm, Friday, July 19 from 2 until 6pm, Thursday, July 25 from 2 until 6pm, and Friday, July 26 from 2 until 6pm.
Originally developed as part of a larger solo show at Firstsite, a public museum in the UK, Anthea Hamilton’s Fruity Seating, a group of soft sculpture for resting visitors, resulted from a collaboration with the artist, fashion designer and illustrator Julie Verhoeven. The works, sensuous and playful, were originally installed around the Berryfield Mosaic, an artifact dating back to 150 AD that originally served as a dining room floor of a Roman townhouse. The artists invoke the original, domestic context, populating the mosaic with images of abundant food and a nude female figure lounging around, humorously updating a familiar image from classical antiquity. The sculptures are full of contradictions –mechanically printed yet showing evidence of the artist’s hand, rectilinear in form yet full of curves in every other aspect, contemporary in their flatness yet clearly evoking flower-child naturalism.
This exhibition does not assume that its body is necessarily human, solid or three-dimensional. But it does assume that the question of the body is, in many different ways, central to these artworks and the way in which they were made.