To Name A Few
27 April – 22 June 2019, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Preview: Friday, 26 April 7–9 pm
I am sitting here with this feeling, and it is a familiar feeling, and it is my heart.
I am needing to reassure myself that I am not writing this letter to you, that I am
just writing it, simply writing it, simply letting it wander out.
I feel sad. My heart, my chest, what fills my chest, something like the taste of
copper, like sucking on a penny, like licking a 9 volt battery and getting a little
shock. It’s here, a little shock.
It has never been so apparent, the workings of shame embedded in my being so
old and outside, yet all the same my own deep thing to tend to, untangle, air out
And I guess it’s true, now I am writing to you. I am writing to you from me and
also to myself.
But isn’t that a letter?
The linear scroll is scraping against the pavement.
In my delusions I am literally some kind of a hero and that is embarrassing.
What holds the reigns, I think of some force, nameless, shapeless within and
outside this bodily container. Sending signals into outer space and actually
I can tell you the joy of this spring day, the brightness of 4PM light, the spirits
that burst through at this time. It’s almost too much of a drunken feeling to
manage. It’s almost too much.
There is my heart again. You know, I haven’t been able to feel my heart in so
And now I pause, and just stare at my hands, still on the board.
And in this moment I decided this letter is no longer for you, because I know
that you don’t want it.
This letter is for my heart, and I can say anything to my heart.
Right now, I am saying to my heart, I am sorry. I am sorry that I wrapped you up in cotton batting and put you away all tampered down and quiet. I am sorry that I hid you from myself, that I turned away from you while we were sleeping, and on purpose, many times.
I am sorry that I turned away from you, my heart. My beautiful, my tender, my sensitive, my loving, my strong, strong heart. And I am so sorry that I put you to rest so often as to no longer feel anything between my ribs and the sky.
To Name a Few
Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Gallery Weekend 2019
26 April – 22 June 2019
David Diao, 2018
Delmonico books — Prestel
With contributions from Philip Tinari, Michael Corris, Pi Li, Sarah K. Rich, Felicia Chen, Kerry Doran
Recipient of the 2019 Arnaldo Pomodoro Sculpture Prize
Solo exhibition opens in Fall 2019
Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan
Phaidon Contemporary Artist Series
Text by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Jeannine Tang, and Lanka Tattersall
...and other such stories
Chicago Architecture Biennial
Chicago Cultural Center
19 September 2019 – 5 January 2020
Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples
Tanya Leighton is delighted to announce that the Museum of Modern Art, New York has acquired Marianne Wex's Let's Take Back Our Space: 'Female' and 'Male' Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures, 1977
Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, established in 2008, is dedicated to developing a cross-disciplinary, trans-generational gallery programme with off-site projects, in collaboration with artists, filmmakers, critics, art historians, and curators. Its international exhibition programme reflects a variety of opinions and practices as well as Leighton’s associations with American and British experimental cinema, artist’s film and video, performance, minimal and conceptual art.
Director: Simon Gowing
Director: Patrick Armstrong
Project Manager: Marie Egger
Gallery Manager: Jessica Aimufua
Registrar: Henry Babbage
Finance Manager: Stefan Schuster
Tanya Leighton GmbH
Kurfürstenstraße 156 & 24/25
Open Tuesday – Saturday
11am – 6pm and by appointment
Descendances du nu
18 June – 25 September 2016, Centre d'art contemporain, Delme, France
Jimmy Robert’s practice oscillates between various formats: photography, drawing, video, sculpture or performance, all fields he invests with his body and voice. But his work is also crossed by other bodies and voices, those of major 20th-century artists whose gestures, poses, manifestos or images he reproduces. For example, Figure de style (2008) reworks a famous performance by Japanese artist Yoko Ono (Cut Piece, 1965) in which Ono asked the public to cut off pieces of her clothing with scissors, gradually denuding her body. Jimmy Robert reuses the principle of the original performance, its potential erotic tension and its underlying violence, but in his case, visitors are invited to pull pieces of white masking tape off the artist’s black body. To gender power relations, Jimmy Robert adds an additional element of tension, that of the opposition between hegemonic and peripheral figures, in a play of unsatisfied desires and ambiguous gestures.
By deliberately placing himself in the wake of female artists (choreographer Yvonne Rainer, performer Carolee Schneemann, or Marguerite Duras, whose literary and cinematic writing inspired several of his works), Jimmy Robert constructs an artistic genealogy that is no longer written according to the patriarchal model.
At the Synagogue de Delme, Jimmy Robert offers a new visual and theatrical installation in which these questions of genealogy, citation and appropriation remain central.
The title of the exhibition Descendance du nu [Descendance of the Nude] is a direct reference to Duchamp’s famous 1912 painting: Nude Descending a Staircase. Though it caused a scandal in 1912, the painting nevertheless marked a major turning point in the history of art and made Marcel Duchamp into one of the fathers of modern and contemporary art.
To this father figure, Jimmy Robert links mothers, that is to say female artists who in their own way reproduced the motif of the nude descending a staircase: Elaine Sturtevant, Sherrie Levine and Louise Lawler, all three of whom were known for lending their credibility to copies and appropriation, dynamiting questions of authorship and originality, by transforming artistic practice into an infinite recirculation of images.
The installation that Jimmy Robert conceived for Delme is made up of several elements: a curtain falling from the first-floor balcony, printed with repeated patterns, literally pulverises Marcel Duchamp’s painting while turning the exhibition site into a theatre set, a space where images are activated, where one can perform the history of art, in order to bring out new base lines and show what was previously outside the frame.
Opposite this immense curtain, images placed on a staircase combine various references to, and appropriations of, the nude descending the staircase, as reinterpreted by several women artists in the 20th century. The text commissioned from theorist and art critic Elisabeth Lebovici, published by the art centre for the occasion, sheds its own fascinating light on Jimmy Robert’s work.
Furthermore, a sound piece conceived by sound artist Ain Bailey allows us to hear a succession of female voices. Although they emanate from the passageway upstairs (a space once reserved for women in the old synagogue), the voices escape this dedicated place in order to circulate through the whole building and occupy it fully.
On the evening of the opening, Jimmy Robert is giving a performance, presenting himself at floor-level. This crawling body, on the ground, vulnerable and having descended the staircase for good, provokes confused feelings; at any moment, laughter is liable to become the hidden side of desire.
— Marie Cozette