21 Nov 2020 –
30 Jan 2021
05 Dec 2020 –
30 Jan 2021
Jadé Fadojutimi, Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Stefanie Heinze, Jacqueline Humphries, Sanya Kantarovsky, Rodney McMillian, Sarah Morris, Virginia Overton, Laura Owens, Jorge Pardo, Seth Price, Pieter Schoolwerth, Wim Wenders
The show takes its starting point from a recent project initiated by Capitain Petzel during the Corona lockdown called Rhizome. Among the works presented online and later at the gallery was a work by Sarah Morris, Finite and Infinite Games. The filmic work which lays out opposing worldviews of structuring activity, politics, thinking and creativity sparked the idea for the subsequent group show. Infinite Games encompasses the work of 13 artists whose practices reflect the power and meaning that the deviant, ambiguous and disjointed can play both in art and society as a whole.
Jadé Fadojutimi’s (b. 1993 / lives and works in London) new painting To hover, to flutter, what will be, will be is a true testament to her unique painting practice in which her endlessly colorful, haphazard brush strokes replace language to become a visual reflection of their own fragility. Seemingly light and playful, the work conveys Fadojutimi’s subjective reactions to everyday experiences and the awareness of her own identity.
Ximena Garrido-Lecca (b. 1980 in Lima, Peru, lives and works in Lima and Mexico City) engages with the turbulent history of her native Peru through sculpture and film, examining how neocolonial standards are continuously enforced by globalization. Her project Destilaciones (Distillations) began as an investigation into the Peruvian town of Lobitos, in which the petrol industry asserted immense power. The two-channel video Aceite de Piedra depicts the realities of the socio-economic life of Lobitos. Similarly, her sculptures, composed of stainless steel and ceramic, present a powerful juxtaposition of the ever-present oil purifier machines and local artisanal practices.
Stefanie Heinze’s (b. 1987 / lives and works in Berlin) new work As You Treat Me (Specious Prosperities) features her archetypal surreal figurations in which obscured forms become recognizable as unexpected subjects, drawing us into her intimate visual worlds. From disembodied body parts, to everyday objects, to animal-like figures, Heinze’s subjects melt into colorful, fantastical forms to create vivid compositions which, in combination with their lyrical titles, are both deeply personal as well as cleverly subversive in their questioning of the status quo.
Jacqueline Humphries (b. 1960 in New Orleans, lives and works in New York) contrasts traditional brushstrokes with stencil-mediated applications in her textural paintings. The artist makes use of ASCII, an image encoding system which dates back to the 1960s, to translate forms into stenciled grids through which she applies paint to the canvas, thus reflecting the increasing influence of technology in contemporary abstract painting. For one such form – the emoji as seen in the painting presented – Humphries uses a handheld portable inkjet printer to create the image, which she then enlarges on a computer and cuts into a stencil, a process that produces a heavily degraded, almost unrecognizable emoji.
Sanya Kantarovsky’s (b. 1982 Moscow, lives and works in New York) new work is a tribute to Maki Asakawa, a Japanese jazz and blues singer from the 1970s. The work is named after her song Ura Mado (translating to Rear Window), which is a reading of a poem about lost love by Shūji Terayama. The image in the background shows a figure conflicted in an act of self-sabotage. The scene presents a stark juxtaposition; a dark and disturbing background behind the foregrounded magnetic figure of Maki Asakawa. As typical for his practice, Kantarovsky toes the line between seductive and unsettling – humorous but frightening.
Rodney McMillian (b. 1969 in Columbia, South Carolina, lives and works in Los Angeles) explores the complicated relationship between history and contemporary culture, not only as it is expressed in American politics, but also as it manifests in its modernist art traditions such as landscape painting. His paintings on knitted blankets, sometimes with clear representation of a landscape, reflect on the systems of exchange that domestic objects can exist in, and their relation to the histories they evoke, whether personal, national or art historical.
Capitain Petzel is pleased to present an installation by Yael Bartana, consisting of her new typographic work Abracadabra and the ever-relevant neon TREMBLING TIMES.
Yael Bartana’s new poster series Abracadabra reintroduces an ancient spell as a comment on the rise of superstition and conspiracy theories. The art work addresses both a fictional alternative way to “fight” the current global pandemic, and the rise of new movements denying scientific facts. The Abracadabra spell was used throughout history in magical gestures and performances. The mysterious term “Abracadabra” first appears in the writings of Serenus Sammonicus, a medical savant who served as physician to several Roman Emperors. In his book, Liber Medicinalis, Sammonicus suggests a literary amulet against fever and malaria: the word “Abracadabra” written in the form of a triangle. Though the etymological origin of the word is unclear, it may well have derived from the Hebrew “Evra KeDavra”, literally meaning “I shall create with the use of speech”, a reference to the creation of the world, accomplished – as described in the Hebrew Bible – merely through the use of words.
Anticipating the second wave of the Covid-19 catastrophe, and as a reaction to the desperate attempts of governments around the world to deal properly with the social, political and economic consequences of the pandemic, Bartana’s work turns to the realm of the mystical, suggesting unconventional ways to approach the collective crisis, address matters of individual agency, of hope and consolation, while evoking historical practices that have been discarded in order to make space for modern science.
In the Studio Exhibition at Capitain Petzel, the posters are presented along with Yael Bartana’s neon TREMBLING TIMES. Together, the works form an immersive installation which poignantly reflects on the condition of our contemporary times. The poster series Abracadabra is currently also on view in the exhibition STUDIO BERLIN at Berghain, a collective presentation showcasing contemporary local artists, in support of the eponymous club.