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
Nothing Will Be As Before
10 July – 18 August 2018, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Ayreen Anastas, Sam Anderson, Cory Arcangel, Math Bass, Nina Beier, Martin Boyce, Vittorio Brodmann, Pavel Büchler, Matthew Buckingham, Andrea Büttner, Alejandro Cesarco, Talia Chetrit, Bradley Davies, Willem de Rooij, Jeremy Deller, Simon Denny, David Diao, Jason Dodge, Aleksandra Domanović, Eliza Douglas, Sean Edwards, Gerasimos Floratos, Brendan Fowler, Simon Fujiwara, Rene Gabri, Aurélien Gamboni, Goutam Ghosh, Laeh Glenn, Douglas Gordon, Van Hanos, Sharon Hayes, Stefanie Heinze, Lena Henke, Calla Henkel, Yngve Holen, Karl Holmqvist, Max Hooper Schneider, Renaud Jerez, Jamian Julliano-Villani, Wyatt Kahn, Sanya Kantarovsky, Melike Kara, Allison Katz, Alexi Kukuljevic, Oliver Laric, Joseph Bucher Leighton, Kris Lemsalu, Jonas Lipps, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Bill Lynch, Liz Magor, Enzo Mari, Orion Martin, Elizabeth McIntosh, Bruce McLean, Jonathan Monk, Pentti Monkkonen, Oliver Osborne, Lucas Ospina, Trevor Paglen, Max Pitegoff, Chadwick Rantanen, Dan Rees, Jimmy Robert, Julia Rommel, Martha Rosler, Borna Sammak, Amy Sillman, John Smith, Studio for Propositional Cinema, Frederik Værslev, Marianne Wex, Ian White
“Nothing will be as before” declared the invitation card for the first exhibition in Tanya Leighton Gallery, a solo show by Sharon Hayes titled In the Near Future, which opened on July 4th 2008. A 9 slide-projector installation (now in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York) was shown in the strangely shaped rooms of the ground floor, street- corner space on Kürfurstenstrasse. Now, 10 years later, in these same rooms, as well as the pendant space across the road that opened in 2015, this statement proves prophetic. Nothing is as before – from the turbo-gentrification of this historically chaotic neighbourhood, to this sprawling assemblage of an exhibition that marks ten continuous years of exhibition-making and learning-by-doing.
The gallery opened with a tightly conceptual remit, rooted in Tanya Leighton’s experiences as a curator in Glasgow, New York and Philadelphia, working with American and British experimental cinema, artist’s film and video, performance, minimal and conceptual art. A central aim was to make visible or re-position marginalised or under-acknowledged artists, such as experimental filmmaker John Smith, the early sculpture of Bruce McLean, or the little known Chinese-American painter David Diao. Though this remains central (as a recent show of the extraordinary work of German artist Marianne Wex from the 1970s shows), the past decade has seen the gallery programme spiraling out in unexpected directions. At best, a gallery is a breathing, responsive organism, and over the years, the boundaries of Tanya Leighton’s gallery expanded and shifted to accommodate unexpected discoveries, recommendations from trusted artists, along with the constant negotiations of keeping a business afloat amidst the blunt realities and unglamorous obstacles of the art market.
This exhibition is a generous demonstration of the gallery’s osmotic principles, as a system which connects on many different levels and with varying degrees of formality. There are works by artists in the gallery’s programme, along with others by artists who have shown in group shows over the years, as well artists who happen to work nearby and are regular visitors, and even new works by artists once represented by the gallery who no longer are. Its jumbled contents are the social relations of the art business made manifest: a messy, extended family of sorts.
In the end – beyond owner, staff, and space – a gallery is the art that it shows, and the core decision of what to show and who to work with is always a leap of faith. There is no knowing how things will evolve, how the delicate relationships between artist and gallery will develop, what the work will become over time. ￼A double-digit anniversary is not only an opportunity to clear the basement from 10 years of accumulated junk, it is a celebration of these relationships and of the gallery’s role as a framework, an interface and an arena for conversation.
Amongst the cacophony of this concept-free show, surprising connections emerge between the works that describe threads of a common sensibility, or unexpected affinities. A summation of ten years, it is a curious and fascinating marker of time. Indeed, Nothing is as before, and will continue not to be so.
— Kirsty Bell