Fabiola Menchelli

Fabiola Menchelli 2013 © All rights reserved fabiolamenchelli.com
Fabiola Menchelli 2013 © All rights reserved fabiolamenchelli.com
Fabiola Menchelli 2013 © All rights reserved fabiolamenchelli.com
Fabiola Menchelli 2013 © All rights reserved fabiolamenchelli.com

Fabiola Menchelli

Work from her oeuvre.

“In a digital age where the boundaries between the virtual and the physical blend and generate new experiences, I am interested in using the language of abstraction to make images which seem to present a tangible visible reality but which are in fact never quite there, except in the eye of the camera and the mind of the maker. In the studio, I construct installations using simple materials and project light on to them. I seek to transform the physical with light and shadow. The process of integrating these elements into a picture allows me to play with the materiality of thought. I aim to challenge our beliefs about perception and make thought visible by drawing attention to the light as it embraces the surface of paper and animates space. The interaction between light and shadow transforms these ephemeral installations into complex visual spaces that evoke a world that is both physically tangible and as elusive as light, both virtual and real.” – Fabiola Menchelli

Lucas Knipscher


Lucas Knipscher

Work from his oeuvre.

“…Second Mouse’ (2012) is a collection of paintings made using photographic emulsion slathered onto sewn fabric, haphazardly folded and slung over stretchers like poorly stapled, casual paintings. Exchanging canvas for two swatches of fabric sewn down the middle, these art works channel the cotton and wool wall pieces of Von Bonin. However, rather than producing a quilted effect, Knipscher complicated the ground by pairing exotic swatches, such as Ikat-dyed material, with the traditional American Gingham – a loud colourful pattern acting as a foil to the minimal grid. These styles made for an unlikely and jarring ground for the image cast atop, a photograph of a cartoon mouse created by a rudimentary image transfer technique. Where a smear of drippy ground expressively stained the fabric, a faint outline of Jerry Mouse (Tom’s under-sung counterpart, Mickey’s lesser rival and Knipscher’s avatar) has been printed.

All the trappings of painting supported this photographic process; the artist tugged at the division between mediums. It’s a conceit that has been explored by the artist’s peers, for instance in Nikolas Gambaroff’s newsprint paintings or Das Institut’s analogue reproduction of digital imagery. Knipscher arrives with the equivocal attitude of a trigger-happy photographer, one who knowingly must contend with the burden of the image – the ease with which it is recast, marketed and used to elicit yet never truly satisfy a desire – not unlike the way in which modes of artistic production are imitated and reframed.

In a climate in which borrowing pre-existing form and content is accepted, applauded and even encouraged for its market success – these works are complicated by their deferral of photographic agency and authorial presence. The dialectic of appropriation and homage is a strategy used to deflect and accommodate Wilhelm Flusser’s theories of a larger photographic apparatus. ‘Second Mouse’ starts a theoretical tug of war, animating a rearguard, conservative image-making process, implementing materials both trendy and traditional in order to serve a purpose, while pandering to the American predilection for the underdog, the second mouse. Knipscher’s idiosyncratic and most elegant sleight of hand may be the very unstable nature of the images that he pilfers, pimps and peddles, as these chemically un-fixed works, darken, change and even disappear over time.” – Piper Marshall

Felicity Hammond

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Felicity Hammond

Work from Capital Growth

“My large scale photo-installations refer to a forgotten industry; industrial relics become urban follies, shrouded as they lie precariously between construction and deconstruction, archaic and futuristic. Manufacturing and industrial process has been discarded, and in its place stands computer generated imagery of luxury living, posters pertaining to a better future. It is utopic yet grotesque; it talks of an unobtainable capital, a capital which proliferates without labour. In ‘Capital Growth,’ I am interested in the way in which these sites that were once producers of power have now become a product of it.

My installations all lie within the limits of photography. They use the material language of urban regeneration; the fake opulence that encases luxury developments as a way of dissecting the linguistic value of urban manifestos. Photographs become sculptural; the ruin in reality is fused with the digital ruin, and refers to renders of futuristic spaces. It refers to a growth fetish, where capitalism is constantly defined and redefined; a hybrid of the ultra-modern and the archaic. The photographic installations and worlds that I create borrow the indeterminate nature of the virtual, fusing digitally warped visions of opulent living with the discarded material that it conceals.”

Ugo Rondinone

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Ugo Rondinone

Work from clouds + mountains + waterfalls

“Ugo Rondinone’s autumn exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, clouds + mountains + waterfalls, comprises three new bodies of work. Each extends the artist’s long-running interest in natural phenomena and their reformulation in art.

Rondinone’s Cloud paintings are large canvases painted in fine gradations of sky blue. Their rectangular fields transform into cloud-like undulations at their upper perimeters, creating a sharp contrast between the vaporous trompe l’oeil image within each painting and the jigsaw-style silhouette of the canvas itself. As with the artist’s other groups of paintings (including the Landscapes, Mandalas and Horizons), these works depict immeasurable space while also exuding a contrary sense of finiteness: the borders of the canvas arrest the illusion of infinity, while the title of each refers to the precise date of its creation. Rondinone has remarked that

“they form an entity of time and space”, at once universal and contained. The near-blank surfaces of the Cloudpaintings, ethereally painted using a sponge and dilute pigment, act as sites of imaginative possibility, in the same way as clouds themselves conjure phantasmal images and associations. In this way, they carry echoes both of Colour Field abstraction and the visionary seascapes and skies of Romantic visionaries such as Caspar David Friedrich, while at the same time subverting those precursors through their cartoon borders. More immediately, the Cloud series forms an airy counterpoint to Rondinone’s long-running series of Brickpaintings, which depict solid brick walls in thickly-layered paint.

Mediating between geological formations and abstract compositions, Rondinone’s new Mountain sculptures consist of rocks stacked vertically on concrete plinths in groups ranging between two and six. Inspired by naturally-occurring Hoodoos (spires or pyramids of rock) and balancing rock formations, the stacks also evoke the art of meditative rock balancing. Each stone is painted a different Day-Glo colour, with the sculptures’ titles referring in Minimalist vein to their component pigments. The works appear poised between monumentality and collapse – seeming to defy gravity in their teetering formations, but equally to depend on it, bearing down like unsteady pillars on their concrete plinths. As with the Cloud paintings, stark physicality collides with painterly abstraction – each Mountain (like any real-life mountain) is caught between rugged literalism and metaphorical potential. As a group, they invoke parallels as divergent as the stacked totems of Barbara Hepworth and the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse. Many veer towards anthropomorphism, suggesting figures in crouching poses or gesturing attitudes, while others abruptly resist any such associative reading.

Waterfall sculptures form the third new series – thin, freestanding lines modelled by hand in clay and cast in aluminium, whose spiralling forms evoke jets of water. Like the Mountain sculptures, these vertical forms succeed in appearing simultaneously weightless and earthbound, graceful and awkward. Delicately balanced on the floor, they seem both to cascade downwards and unfurl upwards in the manner of an Indian rope trick, yet their mottled surfaces – indented with fingerprints and ridges – profess their rigidity and artifice. Rondinone’s paintings and sculptures have frequently referred to primordial phenomena – air, moons, the sun, the cosmos – in their titles or forms. Referring concurrently to the natural world, romanticism and existentialism, his latest works encapsulate a “mental trinity” that has underpinned his art for more than twenty years.”

Hyounsang Yoo

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Hyounsang Yoo

Work from Salmon / Yolk.

“I look to mass media as a starting point because it provides an outline of the socio-political landscape. I take the source, which is often a specific political and historical event. I then strip it from its context, leaving only the relationships between people, in individuality and as a group, and the event […] even when manipulated, my final images are still capable of triggering the memory of the viewers. However, because historical and political context is heterogeneous in space and time, each memory response is a function of where the viewer is from and what event is being portrayed. This work thus allows me to question how political and social differences in a globalized world shape our individual memory response.” – Hyounsang Yoo

Drew Nikonowicz


Drew Nikonowicz

Work from This World and Others Like It.

“Functioning both as metaphor and exposition, Drew Nikonowicz’s series This World and Others Like It thrives in the growing chasm between reality and mediated fiction. Calling upon one of photography’s earliest uses—recording the vast, unexplored landscapes of the world—Nikonowicz brings forth a reality that is simultaneously uncanny and unknowable. The world we live in has been conquered and exhausted, his images seem to say, so we must turn to fictional or even extraterrestrial terrain instead.

While his monochromatic landscapes evoke awe of the sublime, something darker lurks in the crevices. The photographer draws on the language of nineteenth-century geographical surveys but presents a bleak twenty-first-century equivalent, where everything can be digitally rendered, and where measurements and numbers are the point of departure, not a goal of the endeavor. Through dark-hued landscapes and high-contrast portraits of rocks and shiny minerals, Nikonowicz not only calls into question the physical properties and realness of the earth’s building blocks, but also the way in which a distrust of images has become inherent to our experience of the world around us.

The only human figure represented in the series is the image of an astronaut, captured through a screen. Once the hero of the unknowable world, the space explorer has, like the photographer, become obsolete. As Nikonowicz writes, “Now the sublime landscape is only accessible through the boundaries of technology.” — Paula Kupfer

Josh Sender


Josh Sender

Work from “Oy! On Time!

“The digital objects and artworks made for Oy! On Time! were made as a pieces of a proposal for a solo show I wanted to have. Oy! On Time! was held in two parts: on the browser— where one can look privately, the weight of the work heavier, offering itself as more contemplative and private, and in a gallery space— as cheap xerox transfer prints, poor translations of a digital ideal.” – Josh Sender


Curators: Simone Neuenschwander and Thomas Thiel

Work by Neïl BeloufaJuliette Blightman, Ryan GanderCalla Henkel & Max PitegoffDavid HorvitzKatja NovitskovaMetahavenYuri Pattison

“The ambivalence of a new visibility

The globalized world seems at once transparent and opaque. While modern life is characterized by a desire for more transparency in communication, politics and business, limitless access to information has eroded personal privacy, creating an ever-present, now long-running social dilemma. Despite the generally positive promise of transparency, there have been growing doubts about its impact on the community and on our understanding of the public sphere. A tremendous sense of insecurity can be felt at the level of private messaging, for example: while we value the free exchange of information on the Internet, we simultaneously oppose a surveillance society in which personal data is controlled by algorithms. The digital age brought a fundamental shift to cultural-historical notions of transparency.

„Transparencies“ examines the cultural facets and atmospheres of this (non-)transparency. The two-part, joint exhibition project in Bielefeld and Nuremberg is dedicated to developments in „transparent society,“ and asks how these are reflected in current work by contemporary artists. Participating artists deal with the paradigm of transparency and the ambivalence of the term in multiple, diverse ways. They examine the consequences of an algorithm- and data-collection-driven, life-world transparency and explore our changed relationship to privacy, or convey a critical approach to post-privacy society through strategies of refusal or deliberate disclosure of data. Other key points of investigation include interpersonal exchange and its possible control. Besides these effects of a progressive and media-expanded information age, the works examine the fundamental significance of presence and absence, the potential of revealing and concealing, and the handling of knowledge and ignorance within our society. The artists move between different fields in terms of subject matter, focusing on transparency as it relates to communication, politics, contemporary history, economics, sociology and (marine-)biology.

Simultaneous presentations in Bielefeld and Nuremberg reinforce the experience of transparency within the exhibition. Though all the artists have work in both places, they emphasize different thematic and spatial aspects of their work in the two venues. Both exhibition sites are linked not only in terms of content, but also through various media and artistic contributions. Information and works are deliberately withheld, for example, shown only in part or not even presented in the first place, so that the ambiguity of the exhibition’s topic can be felt at each, respective institution in relation to the other. The two, corresponding presentations not only emphasize their parallelism, but also shed light on the transitions between transparency and opacity, making them palpable for the viewer.

In the run-up to the exhibition, the graphic design studio Metahaven developed its own visual identity for „Transparencies“ with a family of logotypes that references and draws on corporate identities for so-called ‚transparent’ products such as clear varnishes or companies like Volkswagen. Considerations on the topic continue in the form of a symposium, a series of exhibition talks, workshops, and a shared project website. On the one hand, „Transparencies“ attempts to locate and update the phenomenon in cultural history, yet it also enables an understanding of the (borderline) experiences of this new visibility from a contemporary perspective. The project concludes with the publication of a comprehensive catalogue featuring texts by Emmanuel Alloa, Clare Birchall, Simone Neuenschwander, Manfred Schneider and Thomas Thiel.”


Zuzanna Czebatul

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Zuzanna Czebatul

Work from A Gentleman’s Insult / A Gentleman’s Apology at Gillmeier Rech

“Pivotal Blast, an obelisk measuring over six meters, lies broken in the middle of the gallery space. In three pieces, it cuts a pathway from the rear of the space to the door. In Ancient Egypt, the obelisk, a monolithic pillar with a pointed crown, symbolized rays of the sun turned to stone and was erected in front of sacred temples as a protective edifce. Examples can still be found today in Rome, Cairo, and Istanbul, and in the 170-meter Washington Monument in the United States. In Czebatul’s exhibition, Pivotal Blast, an obelisk of plush, has toppled over, so that its tip does not point at the sky, but directly at the gallery entrance. Although collapsed, the sculpture – due to the architectural perfection and beauty of the Egyptian style – possesses a monumental aura. Thus, and particularly in the current context of the destruction of the temples in Palmyra, Syria, the exhibition unfolds a space, in which the signifcance of cultural heritage and Ancient architecture for the present day can be discussed.

The title A Gentleman’s Insult / A Gentleman’s Apology is a metaphor for loss of control, for failure, and dearth of decorum that lies over the scenario in the gallery space. Accordingly, Czebatul has bathed the foor in radioactive yellow and positions Pivotal Blast next to four fat works entitled Neuro Studies that are not mounted onto the wall but rather foat a little in front of it. These grid structures, molded in colored resin, draw on the tradition of spiritual windows while being very reminiscent of Modernist abstract forms. In the center of each picture, a black and white snapshot of naked bodies can be found. Here, photographic likeness is juxtaposed with abstraction, symbolizing the proximity between ornamentation and fguration. Essentially, A Gentleman’s Insult / A Gentleman’s Apology demonstrates Czebatul’s fascination with the relationship between art historical vocabulary and contemporary con- cepts of brittle perfection to form a single statement about our everyday material culture.”

Anne De Vries

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Anne De Vries

Work form Submission at Cell Projects

“Inside the rst gallery De Vries pulls together the human psyche by exploding a head into a variety of architectural structures and representations alongside the technology we use to feed thought and communication. Live-streamed screens of global locations take us to far away places, from the congested streets of Times Square, New York City, to a tranquil bird watch in the South American jungle. Time zones are switched to accommodate the viewer’s desire. Each architectural make-shift shelter harbours conversations between a mediator, commissioned by Vries, to investigate and interview various representatives from special unrelated global institutions ranging from monasteries, shelters, detention centres, swingers clubs and meditation centres. Via a series of discussions and questioning, focusing on the philosophy and mission of each institution, the audio reveals a simulation of codes and rules, which seem to merge into one. Technology takes an anthropomorphic form and the audio gives shape to distinct places and states of mind that can potentially be entered and fade into each other. The caller’s phrases and vocabulary simulate into fragmented codes of arti cial intelligence where humans become part of the automated tools they use.”