29 June – 24 August 2019, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Preview: 28 June 2019, 7–9 pm
Tanya Leighton is pleased to present ‘Nel Mezzo’, Sharon Hayes’ third solo exhibition at the gallery and the first presentation in Germany of her on-going video series ‘Ricerche’.
Sharon Hayes investigates the act of public speech and its intersections with history, politics, activism, queer theory, love and sexuality. In performances, videos, and installations, the artist examines these notions with regard to both the collective and the individual voice. ‘Ricerche’ is a project composed of multiple video works that uses Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film ‘Comizi d’amore’ (Love Meetings) as a guidepost for an examination of gender, sexuality and contemporary collective identifications.
In 1963, Pasolini travelled through Italy with a small camera crew on a cinematic inquiry. Interviewing groups of people (neighbours, co-workers, families, students, army buddies and members of a football team) on their views on sex, sexuality and what Pasolini named “inversion” or “perversion”. Pasolini divides this cinematic report into ‘Ricerches’ (Researches). As he moves from beach resorts, to town centres, to fields, universities and factories throughout the country, the work gathers various frictions: between the north and the south, progress and maintenance, young and old, children and parents, urban and rural, etc.
In her work ‘Ricerche’, Sharon Hayes adapts the structure of ‘Comizi d’amore’, following Pasolini’s foundational conceit to interview people outside and in groups. Borrowing from Pasolini’s questions and shot composition, Hayes’ works isolate certain of Pasolini’s scenes and stretch them in volume and duration. ‘Ricerche’ unfolds a contemporary field of non-hetero-normative family structures and non-binary gender identifications, and attempts to account for the complex contemporary conditions that inform collective understandings of gender, sex and sexuality as well as national, religious and ethnic identities.
Ricerche: three, 2013
Single Channel HD Video (Colour, Sound) 38 minutes
Commissioned for the 55th Biennale di Venezia in 2013, this work is an interview with 35 students at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
An all-women’s college, Mount Holyoke faced decades of declining enrolment from US born women and made a commitment, in the 1960s to heavily recruit international women. In the last decade, Mount Holyoke, as with many of these gender-segregated institutions, faced the increasing necessity to accommodate students who decide (after enrolment) to change their gender from female to male. On this level, and indeed less explicit ones, the population attending Mount Holyoke exists on a much wider gender spectrum than the description “all women’s college“ can hold clear.
In ‘Ricerche: three’ the 35 interviewees gather in one location, discussing gender normativity, religion, marriage, sex and queerness. In the last 12 minutes of the piece, the group erupts into a heated debate about transnational feminisms and the legacies of US imperialisms.
Ricerche: one, 2019
Two Channel HD Video (Colour, Sound) 28 minutes
This video diptych is Hayes’ most recent addition to the series. Structurally, it begins the same way ‘Comizi d’amore’ does, as Hayes gathers groups of children to ask the question: “Where do babies come from?”
Shot over one week in Provincetown, Massachusetts, all of the participants in Hayes’ video are the children of queer or gender nonconforming parents. The work is composed of interviews with two age groups: 5-8 year olds and young adults. Similar to those in Pasolini’s interviews, the young children on screen produce delightfully fragmented answers that mix imagination, fantasy, and words they repeat from things adults have said to them.
The young adults on the opposite screen, are deeply experienced with the narrative of their families and their births, most of them having had to account for their families repeatedly over the two and three decades of their lives. These interviews share detailed perspectives on their complex family histories and their position and role in the quickly evolving political and juridical landscape for queer people, and by extension queer child rearing, in the United States.
Come out!, 2019
Acrylic paint and newspaper on textile
110 x 154,5 cm
43.3 x 60.83 “
Hayes’ most recent work in the exhibition is ‘Come out!’. Facing the wall, this protest banner is hung back to front to inverse its slogan, which bleeds through the fabric. Scraps of a layer of newspaper – presumably used as a drop cloth – are stuck to the paint on what is now the front of the banner. Collected during the week of 15 June 2019, snippets of still recent news items can be made out, creating a fragmented snapshot of our current cultural moment.
'Come Out!' was a magazine published by The Gay Liberation Front. GLF, a multi-issue radical political liberation movement, existed from 1969-1973, coalescing in the aftermath of the Stonewall Uprising. The GLF often used the magazine as a recruitment tool, and something like a megaphone and a protest banner.
Sharon Hayes is one of the most influential politically and socially committed artists working in the United States. She has been the subject of retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and currently at Moderna Museet, Stockholm (on view until 11 August 2019). Hayes’ work is part of the public collections of Tate, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Warsaw; among many others.
Sharon Hayes lives and works in Philadelphia, where she holds the position of Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.
26 April 2019
An ongoing curated project with artists, designers, ceramicists and florists
Paris Internationale 2019
17 – 20 October 2019
Preview: 16 October 2019
Throwback Jack, group show curated by Amanda Schmitt, Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, New York, NY
20 June – 26 July 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 opens in Fall 2019
Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan
Phaidon Contemporary Artist Series
Text by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Jeannine Tang, and Lanka Tattersall
Travelling Exhibitions Programme of 33rd Bienal de São Paulo
Campinas, Recife, Medellín (Colômbia)
March 2019–January 2020
Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples
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
Interim 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
15 October 2010 – 23 January 2011, Tinguely Museum, Basel
Under Destruction is a group exhibition, featuring twenty internationally known contemporary artists, that examines the use and role of “destruction” in contemporary art. Fifty years after Jean Tinguely's historic Homage to New York (1960) the present exhibition proposes a series of alternative approaches to a theme traditionally associated with the more spectacular and inherently protest-oriented work of Jean Tinguely, Gustav Metzger and others in the 50s and 60s. "If nothing can be created, something must be destroyed", is how Rosalind Krauss succinctly summarized Georges Bataille's La part maudite (The Accursed Share, 1949). While this phrase can basically describe the ethos of Under Destruction, the exhibition raises the stakes normally linked with such a deleterious theme. Not only does it explore the various modes of destruction in art, but, more importantly, it also addresses to what ends it is implemented. Indeed, the exhibition reflects on the subject from a series of angles, perceiving destruction as everything from a generative force to environmental memento mori, and from consumer fallout to a form of poetic transformation.
Predominantly kinetic, the show largely consists of works whose mechanisms reveal themselves in real time to the viewer. The strikingly spectacular nature of some works is complemented by an unexpected sense for subtlety and quietude in other works, the combination of both progressively revealing the rich diversity of destruction in contemporary art. Under Destruction can be divided up into a series of overlapping themes and categories, which are anything but hard and fast, and which inevitably blur in and out of one another.
The contributions of Nina Canell and Pavel Büchler engage with destruction as a form of transformation. In Canell's water-and-cement based work Perpetuum Mobile (40 kg) (2009-2010), in which water is transformed into a mist via sonic vibrations which hardens a nearby sack of cement, a kind of destruction is broken down to some of its finest, molecular components. Meanwhile Büchler's series Modern Paintings (1999-2000), consists of flea-market bought paintings, which are un-stretched, inserted in a washer, and reconstituted by the artist on a stretcher, such that they resemble Art Brut abstractions.
Modes and effects of consumption are addressed in the contributions of Johannes Vogl, Monica Bonvicini, Ariel Orozco, and Michael Landy. Vogl's absurd, homemade contraption Untitled (Machine to produce jam breads, 2007) which senselessly produces pieces of bread with jam on them, addresses questions of overproduction and consequently waste. Comprised of a relatively fragile veneer of plaster precariously placed above a real floor which gradually fills up with holes made by visitors, Bonvicini's installation Plastered (1998), testifies to the consumption and deterioration of architecture by those who use it. Orozco's Doble Desgaste (2005), takes a more metaphysical approach toward consumption, speaking to the concentrated and deliberate dissipation of effort. In this photographic documentation of an “action“, Orozco systematically draws a portrait of a cube shaped eraser in graphite, photographs the portrait, erases it with the same eraser, redraws the eraser on the same piece of paper, photographs it, erases it, and so on until the eraser and the portrait are gone. Finally, Michael Landy's uneasy relationship with the accumulative identity of consumption is registered in the video documentation of his celebrated work Breakdown (2001), in which the artist had all 7,227 of his possessions, classified, dismantled, and destroyed in a department store in central London.
The consequences of consumption inevitably filter into the environment and technology. Arcangelo Sassolino's Untitled (2007), perceives technology as a brute, destructive force, which cannot be disassociated from environmental issues. Activated by the viewer through a motion detection sensor, Untitled is a hydraulic arm that gradually pushes into and destroys a large block of wood. Liz Larner's Corner Basher (1988), likewise depends directly on the visitor participation. This piece consists of a drive shaft mechanism, the activation and speed of which is controlled by the viewer, that swings a chain into and destroys the nearby corner wall. Jonathan Schipper's The Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle (2007-2008), pits technology against itself in an allegory of obsolescence, consumption and destruction. The installation is comprised of two cars that slowly enact a head-on collision over the course of an extended period of time, and in doing so, inevitably bring the memento mori onto the stage. Indeed, a close kinsman of destruction, the memento mori necessarily dominates the mood of several works in this exhibition. Christian Marlcay's video installation Guitar Drag (2000), which consists of imagery and a soundtrack of a guitar being dragged behind a pickup truck, is rich in association, the most symbolic being a historically fraught vanitas.
Roman Signer's methodically engineered acts of decimation, here represented by a trio of works, the videos Stuhl (Chair, 2002), Zwei Koffer (Two Suitcases, 2001) and Rampe (ramp, 2008), which respectively and heterogeneously depict the destruction of a chair, the contents of a suitcase and a small truck, have a way of always bringing issues of mortality into play. Nina Beier and Marie Lund's History makes a Young Man Old (2008), departs from the theme of technology and uses performance to facilitate a sense of deterioration wrought by time and use. For this piece, the artists' take turns rolling a crystal ball from wherever it is purchased in the city of an exhibition venue to the exhibition site itself. This powerful but economic work stages a loss of clarity, brought on through an attrition that is determined by forces beyond its control.
Meanwhile, Kris Martin's 100 years (2004) which quite simply consists of a bomb set to go off in 2104, dislocates the moment of destruction into a distant temporal elsewhere, and in doing so, incorporates that elsewhere and the destruction it is destined to undergo into the present, thus extending the domain of destruction well beyond the parameters of the exhibition itself. Where Martin's bomb trades on the future of destruction, other works, such as Ariel Schlesinger's Bubble Machine (2006), deal in its specter, envisaging destruction as pure potential. True to the spirit of Tinguely's quasi unhinged tinkering aesthetic, Schlesinger's madcap machine consists of a mechanism placed on top of a wooden ladder, which periodically drops bubbles of soap onto a small, electrified series of coils, making the bubble burst into flames. Here destruction becomes a more controlled and evocative force. If the melancholy frustration of this work is not without a certain humor, a few other works in this exhibition venture off the deep end into a kind of slapstick decimation. Alex Hubbard's video's for example, such as Cinéopolis (2007), is a humble masterpiece of antic decimation. Replete with a Foley soundtrack, this video portrays the Hubbard carrying out a series of damaging acts upon a small movie screen from a bird's eye point of view, such as torching a group of metallic balloons and then tarring and feathering the screen. Martin Kersels Tumble Room (2001), takes humour to a more spectacular, if acrobatic level. For this piece, Kersels had a room constructed, outfitted it with all the accoutrements of a little girl, and placed it on a mechanism, which rotated the entire room end over end, until it gradually turned the somersaulting contents into dust. The kinetic sculpture is also accompanied by a video of a dancer, perilously negotiating the topples and turns of the room as it tumbles. Here destruction is deployed as bravura, as a kind of dandified testimony to being beyond the reach of destruction, or its effects.
Humour has always been a key component to Jimmie Durham's work, and can certainly be found in his performance St. Frigo (1996). The result of beginning his daily routine for about ten days in a row by throwing cobble stones at a refrigerator for one hour, this piece speaks to destruction as a daily ritual. By dint of this repetitive and iconoclastic act, Durham was able to assert a destructive tendency as a form of affirmation. Repetition likewise informs Alexander Gutke's The White Light of the Void (2002). This 16mm film installation simulates the meltdown of blank film stock, as if the film jammed in the projector, whereupon the bulb promptly burns through the celluloid. This small conflagration in turn produces an amoeba-like form that expands outward from the centre of the frame, swallowing it up and returning the film to its opening white frame, intact, and the loop resumes. This work, which symbolically deals with issues of death, the afterlife and renewal, can be seen as a metaphor for the entire exhibition in which destruction itself is often a force of cyclical renewal. Where Gutke's work brings these metaphysical issues into the picture, Michael Sailstorfer's contribution, which is comprised of a high speed HD video transferred to 16mm film, uses that same picture, so to speak, to depict what for all intents and purposes looks like some kind of big bang, cosmic explosion: that, it turns out, is just a light bulb being shot by a rifle.