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 Undercover Economist
Art Agenda / December 5, 2017
For some people, economy is mostly about money. But that is stupid: economy is actually about something else. Money is just the medium conventionally assigned to all tasks understood as economic. In the end, money is just a medium. For all those who firmly believe that the medium is the message, this might resolve the issue. In general I tend to count myself among these late McLuhanians, but when it comes to economy, I beg to disagree. Economy is not about money. It’s about distribution. And at this task, money performs worse and worse, as we know.
This misalignment hasn’t served the art world badly so far, at least for a small chunk of it. Maybe in a near future we will learn to read much of contemporary art’s output as an undercover service to this weird cult of liquidity.
The group show “The Undercover Economist” is centered around a sculpture by Liz Magor, titled Carton III (2006). Seen from the entrance of the gallery, it looks like a pile of old workers’ clothes. Shoes at the bottom, some trousers, a thick woollen pullover, and a heavy gray shirt on top, all neatly folded. Now, as if carried from one place to the other, the order of the stack has suffered a bit.
According to writer and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s theory of sculpture, one may read the pose of a figure always as a transitional moment in a movement. There is something pre-filmic in this theory, which he developed in his essay “Lacoön.”(1) I can imagine a scene in which these clothes were handed to a rough sleeper at a charity. Shabby though they are, they’re still properly washed, then well folded, and handed out to someone, who took the pile and placed it next to his sleeping bag in a walkthrough. Then he used the clothes to hide another stack, one of cigarettes. The backside of the sculpture reveals that the clothes are covering a huge stack of cigarettes, and open cigarette packages. There are too many to be smoked by just one person. That means these cigarettes are meant to be distributed or to be given away or they are the result of some game of circulation. Given the fact that they’re all different brands of cigarettes, they may not come from the same source. They must have been collected. In this world, I cannot imagine a person who would collect such a variety of cigarettes. For that matter it falls on the observer, or should I say discoverer, to explore another world. A world in which this assemblage makes sense.
There are two or three other spaces of economic circulation in the show. First, next to Magor’s work, is a series of four oversized data cards, wrapped in colored felt by Gabriel Kuri: felt data card (2017). One carries a black stone, approximately the size of a human head. Two have shells stuck to the felt in patterns reminiscent of holes in a punchcard. One remains empty. We may read this series as a typology of money, with stones as tokens, like in Micronesia; shells that used to circulate as currency in many coastal places; and a void as in the space to write an IOU—as in our current form of money.
The second series, installed in the first room of the gallery, consists of three steel boxes, also by Gabriel Kuri—box for sort, box for stand, and box for and with (all 2017). They look like an interconnected system of distribution, associated with food. There are eggs, plates, salad leaves, straws, and a rotary brush-like tool. The longer I looked at these attachments, the more they looked like mere signs. Not like the real thing. As if these extensions are only there to make the metal blocks seem utilitarian.
The third series’ relation to economy is rather distant. Martin Boyce’s works Phantom Limb (Sister) (2002) and Dead Star (Sorrow) (2016) remain in the hermetic frame of the artist’s well-known references to modernist formalisms. They seem long frozen. They do not represent singular moments of movement, as in Lessing’s theory, but rather traces of an economic utility long past. Assembled around Liz Magor’s central piece representing an unknown economist performing his or her secretive circulation, all the pieces in the show refer to systems of distribution, some through tokens, others by signifying utility, or by tracing a functionality long lost. Do they link up to a whole? No, unless we would take them as a research collection of an undercover economist.