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
Robert and Trix Haussman, Friedrich Kuhn
2 May – 28 June 2014, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Tanya Leighton and Herald St, London are pleased to announce a collaborative exhibition featuring the work of Friedrich Kuhn and Robert and Trix Haussmann. This is the first time that the notorious, post-war Swiss artist and the 2013 Swiss Grand Prix Design winning couple have been shown alongside each other, despite their longstanding friendship, philosophical similarities and geographic proximity.
Having lived his entire life in Switzerland – before his untimely death in 1972 at the age of 46 – Friedrich Kuhn’s pioneering experiments in painting, sculpture, collage and printmaking are only beginning to become known outside of his home country. Kuhn was self-taught, purposefully muddying his personal history and casting himself as Switzerland’s bohemian. A spectacle and regular on the scenes of Zurich, Bern and Lucerne, Kuhn remained unplaceable outside of the unstable rumours and gossip which defined him (and to which he actively contributed). Despite this eccentric isolationism, Kuhn’s legacy retains a decidedly non-provincial position. His oeuvre demonstrates the characteristics of an artist grappling with and shaping the artistic tenants of post-modernism. Seeking self-actualization over subscription to a narrow critical doctrine, Kuhn’s idiosyncratic artworks demand empathy from his viewers and reward proportionally.
Robert and Trix Haussmann began collaborating in Zurich shortly after their marriage in 1965 – together seeking a novel alternative to the rigid form follows function dogma of design in an era disrupted by global redefinition. Instead of the Bauhaus, the pair has long looked to Mannerist tendencies of the 16th century, incorporating the ornamental, exaggeration of form and anamorphosis. The couple coined the term ‘Manierismo Critico’ to encompass their oppositional program, defined by the Haussmanns as ‘[…] taking up lost tradition, pursuing its further development and giving it a contemporary new interpretation – combined with humour and last, but not least, a touch of self-mockery’.
This intently researched investigation into classical architecture and design is apparent in all of the Haussmanns’ output, particularly the ‘Lehrstücke’ (‘Teaching Items’), a series of sculptures and models that serve – in lieu of a written manifesto – as illustrations of ‘Manierismo Critico’. Among these objects is a faux Roman column with radial drawers that destroy the object’s visual harmony when in use. Another is a veneer and mirror inlayed pillar; illusionistically designed to resemble a simple geometric bookshelf, the face of the cabinet is a functionless trompe l’oeil. The shelving is hidden behind its elaborate doors.
Two examples of the Haussmanns’ ‘Lehrstücke’ are on display at the gallery in the form of segmented mirrors, framed in ornate wood, which create illusionistic space while reflecting the actual space around them. Opposite an arched Haussmann ‘Lehrstücke’ hangs a large canvas by Kuhn from 1962; packed with varied painting languages the work straddles figuration and abstraction. Only after a few moments of scrutiny does the painting reveal itself to be dotted with painted flies and bugs. A chair sculpture by Kuhn is installed on the gallery floor below: an anthropomorphic, sprawling construction, robbed entirely of its functionality, instead becoming either a frolicking or writhing body. Fittingly, the Haussmanns first collaboration was a non-functioning chair, its legs and backrest made solely of neon tubing.
Kuhn’s chair is echoed in the upper gallery, where a mirrored couch and easy chairs designed by the Haussmanns reflect their surroundings: screen prints by Kuhn, populated with patterned palm trees in an array of colors. Imagined fauna was a regular subject of Kuhn’s and by the late 1960s he embraced the palm tree as a reoccurring motif, perhaps a personification of himself. Just like Kuhn’s outlandish persona – fueled by the public he amused and antagonized – the intrigue of the palm tree is a product of societal mythologization. In 1968 Kuhn held his most wildly appreciated exhibition, ‘Palmenausstellung’ on Zollikerstraße in Zurich. The four screen prints and a small painting from this period are on view in the gallery, marking the last development in Kuhn’s career before his death four years later.
Seen together for the first time, the work of Robert and Trix Haussmann and Friedrich Kuhn reveals not just two spirited artistic positions, but also a kinship in idiosyncrasy. These are artists whose work unflinchingly questions stylistic norms, material specificity and taste itself, while never betraying their own passion for artistic exploration.