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
THE MAN GIRL PHONING CHEWING MUM GUM
25 January – 22 February 2017, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of John Smith's film The Girl Chewing Gum, Tanya Leighton is pleased to announce an exhibition focusing on this seminal work, widely regarded as one of the most important avant-garde films of the 20th century. The exhibition's title, 'THE MAN GIRL PHONING CHEWING MUM GUM', is a conflation of the titles of the two films on view – The Girl Chewing Gum, 1976 and The Man Phoning Mum, 2011. The latter repurposes the earlier film wholesale, building on its referent by overlaying video on the original. These two works - both of the same length and sharing the same soundtrack – are presented in synchronized loop.
The original, The Girl Chewing Gum, is an interrogation of the conditions of narrative film and the uneasy relationship between images and language. Debuted at the London Filmmakers' Co-op in 1976 – an era where many experimental filmmakers in Europe and North America were eschewing narrative for materialist concerns – the film is in some senses an anomaly. It consists of twelve minutes of voiceover narration describing two shots – one of a bustling street corner in Dalston, London and the other in a field outside the city. The film begins: Smith's directorial voice projects above the sound of car engines and an incessantly ringing alarm bell. 'Slowly move the trailer to the left', he begins, and a scene takes shape with each prop, backdrop and actor obediently following his cues.
Willful suspension of disbelief is eroded over the first few minutes of The Girl Chewing Gum. Paradoxically, this is not because of unconvincing performances or the voiceover failing to describe what is represented on screen, but rather the cast being too perfect and the narrator too emphatic, overstepping his role in the creation of meaning. He disregards the fact that the camera is an apparatus capable of panning, zooming and focusing – of potentially making meaning – and in turn reminds the viewer of that easily forgotten truth. The conditions of cinema are exposed by this film's over-reliance on them.
The Man Phoning Mum utilizes the footage and soundtrack of The Girl Chewing Gum, treating the earlier film as a kind of readymade. Layered on top of the original is video footage shot more than three decades later in the same locations. Perhaps in a concession to the uncontrollable change that occurs with the passage of time, Smith does not direct the 21st century interlopers in Dalston. The old street corner has changed dramatically, as has East London around it. Technological progress has reshaped our world, seen here as the film's new eponymous protagonist chats into a cell phone.
When the video cuts to rural landscape, subtitles confess that Smith couldn't locate the original field. Whether this is due to the drastic changes in the landscape, the artist's forgetfulness or just another lie, we don't know. Humorously, the subtitles mention that the electricity pylons and trees seem to have been rearranged in a different order – as if all this could happen by one director demanding it from off camera.