7 September – 19 October 2019, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Preview: 6 September, 7-9 pm
Tanya Leighton is pleased to present ‘Fabula Rasa’ — a group exhibition that investigates the literary form of the fable from six artistic positions. Recognising the blend of animate and inanimate objects that lays at the core of fables, ‘Fabula Rasa’ focuses on the potential of this interplay to critically reflect the human condition.
The exhibition title is a word play on the concept of the clean slate or ‘tabula rasa’. Life begins without knowledge and lived experience grows our understanding of the world. As much as fables relay shared memories and moral values, they also offer a way to recalibrate ourselves. The works in the exhibition propose perspectives from which to do so.
Sam Anderson’s interest in the dramaturgical narratives of everyday life often leads her to the recast characters that traditionally play set roles. In this case, the tragic-comic figure of the clown, a figure who both entertains and critiques society, is her subject. Both an outsider and an integral part of a community, the classic humorist tells fables of everyday life to question the ways we live together. This ‘clown’, however, is a fabulous and somewhat menacing caricature of itself — a replica dolphin scull, masked with a teardrop, a red nose, and a row of teeth so long it is hard to discern a smile or a grimace.
Antonio Ballester Moreno’s pictographic paintings are distillations of the fundamental ways in which humanity defines itself in relation to the larger world — knowledge, morality and the nature of being. Ballester Moreno’s geometric forms and palette of primary colours speak to an archaic image-memory, exploring what it actually means to be humane. Trees, mountains, moons and suns constitute a universal lexicon while echoing the building blocks of the ancient fable.
The hand-painted animation by Matt Copson introduces archetypal figures from European mythologies into a dystopian limbo. Here, a headless fox circles a maniacally self-obsessed woodpecker whose monologue details a compulsion to define the object of its love. As an allegory for the artist at work or sociopathic manoeuvring, Copson’s parable delivers an unsettling moral about how we relate to the world around us.
Notions of physical malady recur in the work of Jesse Darling. A winding crutch and a bent walking stick emerge like charmed snakes from an altar-like pedestal that floats above the ground. Part of Darling’s larger project, ‘The Ballad of Saint Jerome’, this sculpture retools the eponymous fable to examine the contemporary relationship between healer and healed.
Michael Dean’s sculptures begin in the realm of language – as a means of expressing love, anger, or grasping for understanding. In their translation from text to thing, Dean’s objects and icons become stand-ins for larger narratives. Considering what it means to create a physical extension of oneself, Dean’s concrete and rebar sculptures are human-scaled, bear traces of their making, and introduce new anthropomorphous characters into the exhibition space.
Staring into space through hollow eyes, the vacant, thinking and feeling figure by Austrian artist Heinz Frank is a residue of a body in distress. Part tree, part box, part mask and part spine, its anatomy consists of natural and artificial components that deconstruct the impressive mythical figure of the lion to an assemblage of objects — some quotidian, some bizarre.
17 – 20 October 2019
Preview: 16 October
'Christine Roland & Ruby Barber'
Hiroka Yamashita Kurfürstenstraße 156
Bauhaus: Utopia in Crisis, curated by Professor Daniel Sturgis
Camberwell Space, Camberwell College of Arts (forthcoming)
16 September – 9 November 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 at Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan
11 November 2019 – 5 January 2020
Phaidon Contemporary Artist Series
Text by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Jeannine Tang, and Lanka Tattersall
Beethoven – World.Citizen.Music Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn
17 December 2019 – 26 April 2020
...and other such stories
Chicago Architecture Biennial
19 September 2019 – 5 January 2020
Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s. Works from the VERBUND COLLECTION, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain
19 July – 1 December 2019
Maskulinitäten Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischer Kunstverein und Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf
1 September – 24 November 2019
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: Melanie Isabel García
Registrar: Henry Babbage
Finance Manager: Stefan Schuster
Tanya Leighton GmbH
Kurfürstenstraße 156 & 24/25
Open Tuesday – Saturday
11am – 6pm and by appointment
No Hanging Out
15 October – 17 November 2016, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Tanya Leighton is pleased to present 'No Hanging Out', an exhibition of new works by the American artist Borna Sammak. This is the artist's first exhibition in Germany.
Sammak’s unique approach to mining contemporary culture – translated into video, sculpture and painting – often amounts to an overwhelming, nearly illegible accumulation of the stuff that surrounds us. Everyday life is an increasingly manic and junk-littered thing, accompanied by an incessant stream of everyone else’s half-thoughts and fleeting photos. Sammak’s works fold the fabric of life in on itself, revealing the absurdity of what surrounds us and refocusing our attention on the humorous, foreboding or revealing threads that can otherwise become lost in the white noise.
Four video loops – compiled by layering fragmented footage and digital drawing – are partially framed by baroque arrangements of flora that mirror the overabundance on screen. These ‘Video Paintings’, as the artist calls them, are built with technologically-aided gestures, drawn and mediated to the point they seem to paint themselves. The kitschy subjects hover in front of a mesh of abstracted clips lifted from YouTube, movie trailers and footage shot by the artist. As the videos undulate and loop, recognizable imagery becomes clear in what at first glance seems like a chaotic array of pure color and form.
The architecture of the gallery is likewise skewed and fractured in the exhibition’s largest work, a gray painted sculpture that twists the gallery’s two staircases into geometric abstraction. Like the prismatic architectural paintings of Lyonel Feininger made physical, or if MC Escher had a laptop and Google SketchUp at his disposal, these ‘stairs’ depicts real space made functionless. The sculpture is installed directly in front of the stairs that inspired it, and what would normally be ignored in a visit to the gallery becomes an essential point of reference.
Upstairs, in a painting consisting of hundreds of heat transferred t-shirt graphics on canvas, a litany of countercultures are represented: vaping enthusiasts, bikers, gun lovers and war hawks, armchair politicians and even nihilists. Their slogans of self-definition are reconfigured into something resembling a hyper-contemporary Dadaist poem. The messages in these graphics are familiar – we’ve seen them in cheap tourist shops or memes – but collapsed into one space, their sentiments combine into a wryly antithetical soup that co-opts meaning through recombination. What exactly could an Obamacare-loving, libertarian stoner look like?
If contemporary life feels cluttered, Sammak asks just how much overstimulation we are willing to slog through to find meaning that makes sense to us. In No Hanging Out the accumulation of visual and textual information illustrates the elusive and unfixed meaning of much of what we interact with daily. As the show’s title suggests, we are all too used to the fleeting, itinerant motion of contemporary life. Sammak’s works, in their resolute mania, compel their audience to slow down and look with renewed focus.