14 Nov 2020 –
13 Feb 2021
14 Nov 2020
13 Feb 2021
carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce the European premiere of new works by photographer Paul Graham, opening November 13, 2020. Mother/Sightless is Graham’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery.
For nearly 40 years, Paul Graham’s work has presented an unflagging commitment to depicting life as it unfolds. He first established his reputation in the early 1980s by introducing the practice of color photography into the classic genre of “social documentary.” Since then, Graham has turned his lens towards seemingly incidental, fleeting moments, capturing life in passing as an endless flow of time rather than an isolated or static instant. Graham himself has claimed that the photography that he most respects “pulls something out of the ether of nothingness” and over four decades of his rich and layered practice, Graham has cultivated this ethos.
Paul Graham’s most recent series, Mother, bears witness to the elastic, malleable quality of time—particularly as it relates to matters of the heart. His most personal work to date, Mother depicts the artist’s own aging mother in the last years of her life dozing in various positions in her chair at an English retirement home through a series of thirteen photographs. Depictions of artists’ mothers are iconic in the history of art—from Whistler through Freud, Cézanne, Hockney, Ingres, Gauguin, or Durer, whose brutally honest portraits of his mother insisted that “even the smallest wrinkles and veins must not be ignored.” Yet Graham’s extended portrait doesn’t merely evince tenderness for its subject, but also through its attentive, almost painterly approach, conveys a kind of stretching and unraveling of time—the looping and fragmentary nature of experience and perception when life closes in and one’s world shrinks to the space of a single room.
Parallel to Mother, Graham will also present Sightless, a never-before exhibited series of small portraits made fifteen years ago on 42nd street in New York. Inverting the conventions of portraiture, according to which an image of the subject blinking would be rejected, each individual depicted in the works in this series has their eyes closed. Whether blinded by the sun, enjoying a moment of silent reverie, delving into a musical trance, or blocking out the rest of the world to dwell in one’s own thoughts, the subjects of Sightless navigate between two worlds—that of the city and the imagination.
Paul Graham was born in 1956 in England and lives and works in New York. He has been awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography 2012, the most prestigious international award for photography. His work has been the subject of more than eighty solo exhibitions in internationally renowned institutions including the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate Gallery, London. Paul Grahamʼs work is included in such important public collections as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Arts Council England, the V&A Museum and the National Museum of Photography, London; the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; and the Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, as well as in significant private collections worldwide.
carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce Absent Touch, the first solo exhibition with the gallery by artist duo Pakui Hardware.
When Neringa Černiauskaitéėand Ugnius Gelguda founded Pakui Hardware in 2014, the body increasingly began to be experienced a post-natural, porous interface. A malleable entity, it revealed itself perpetually reshaped by an interplay of personal transformations, interpersonal relations and structural power mechanisms. Attuned to philosophies such as new materialism, bio-capitalism and necropolitics as well as closely connected to scientific and technological research, their sculptural installations have since then introduced the viewer to ecosystems that intensify emerging sensorial patterns by abstracting the shapes that usually convey them.
Drawing on their recent exploration of prosthetic bodies through digitalization and quantification of health, Pakui Hardware’s first personal exhibition at carlier | gebauer, Berlin opens a new chapter in their research. With Absent Touch, the duo focuses on the recent rise of remote-health-care technologies and services, a phenomenon also known as “virtual care” that encompasses telemedicine, telehealth and robotic surgery.
While the environment at the gallery brings to mind various hospital spaces, merging a surgical unit with a waiting room, the interaction between the works, as well as the contrasting materials used for each, introduces a more ambiguous tone. Placed under surgical lamps and on operating tables, fragile objects combine stainless steel elements with translucent, rounded glass shapes and delicate, billowy fabric drapings while on the walls, a series of photograph brings forth certain details of the sculptures, delineating possible modes of contact, negotiation and tension.
Echoing researcher Jeannette Pols for whom there is no “cold” technology and “warm” body, Pakui Hardware delineates “a lingering moment between actual and virtual bodies” while refusing to adopt a black and white view on technology. Of this, virtual care is a telling example. A short-term remedy to the limitations of accessible healthcare, it also rises a looming threat of personal data being gathered by big corporation. A way of easing the awkwardness sometime arise through an in-person exchange, it however leads in many other cases to a sense of neglect.
Absent Touch leaves questions unanswered and Gordian knots entangled. Here, presence is reduced to traces, shells and imprints; while feelings are fleeting, muted and withheld. As we roam through the exhibition space, careful not to shatter a precarious stasis, we constantly feel as a threat. Slowly, we grow accustomed to the experience of a space where motion precedes cognition and adjustment knowledge, one that mirrors the ethical complexity of a potential yet already nearing future.
Pakui Hardware (1977 and 1984, Lithuania) live and work between Berlin and Vilnius. Upcoming solo exhibitions include BALTIC Art Center, Gateshead; Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren.Past solo exhibitions include Future Gallery Mexico, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (MdbK), Bielefelder Kunstverein, Tenderpixel, London, Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna (MUMOK).Past group exhibitions include MOCO La Panacée,Montpellier; 13th Baltic Triennial us at CAC, Vilnius; Istanbul Biennial; CCA Tel Aviv; MAXXI, Rome; Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Kunshalle Basel; Kunstverein Braunschweig; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; BOZAR, Brussels.