Antoinette Adams / Kayla Kee / Julia Werhahn und Luisa Puschendorf

Ausstellungseröffnung 6.2.2014
um 20 Uhr

Text von Araceli Mangione

(Open to misinterpreta.on)
Entering an art gallery or museum, it is immediately understood that the space inside occupies something significant, signaled by the presence of a security guard, whose job is to protect these works. This automa.cally raises one’s awareness of the value behind the art on display, leaving a sort of formal or ins.tu.onal impression on the visitor. The job itself can be painstakingly tedious and may require more s.mula.on then simply performing the duty of safekeeping art, designated by “suit, badge, and chair.”
Julia Werhahn (b. 1988 in Hanover, Germany) and Luisa Puschendorf (b. 1989 in Kassel, Germany) have worked as an ar.st duo since 2011. In their work, “The Guard,” they playfully unmask the anonymity of a security guard’s role within the art world by supplying chosen equipment visibly placed within the exhibi.on room. It is up to the guard to decide to use or not to use these utensils, just as he or she may decide whether to fulfilL or not fulfilL a warden’s job. What could he/she be doing during the absence of the visitor? Werhahn and Puschendorf’s installa.on doesn’t just bring aWen.on to the actual presence of the guard inside an exhibi.on, but seeks out further informa.on, such as the behavIour, expecta.ons, and du.es of a warden, and rela.onship between space, guard and visitors.
Open to misinterpreta/on consists of works by both German and American ar.sts, and can be read individually or in collabora.on with one another. The works of Kayla Kee (b. 1990 in San Diego, USA) and AntoineWe Adams (b. in Orange County, USA) yield a similar visual atmosphere but are, however, very different from one another. Unlike Werhahn and Puschendorf’s installa.on, which conceptually reflects on the inner-workings of the art ins.tu.on, Kee and Adams reassure the presence of a tradi.onal exhibi.on by selec.ng a classical layout for the presenta.on of their work. Kee’s snapshots are framed and aligned horizontally at a level that is assumed to correspond with the eye. Furthermore, both Kee’s analogue photography and Adams’s eloquent floa.ng feathers have been constructed under much aWen.on to detail and awareness of material, process and layout. The bareness of black and white allows the viewer to recognize the finer detailed found in Kee’s photography and Adams‘ feathers.
The photographs presented by Kee are a mixture of photographs taken during her travels in Europe, depic.ng natural, candid scenes of touris.c loca.ons, as well as photograms of water. All photographs have been taken and developed by Kee herself and though they contain much detail, their post-card-like size, a gesture of tourism and travel, also creates a sort of superficiality of content, requiring one to move in closely to the display in order to make out much of the informa.on. Once face to face with the snapshot, the contrasted volumes of black and white reveal the outlines, forms, shapes, geometric paWerns and linear design entailing European architecture. The crowds of people almost seem to blend in with the landscape and are oben out of focus as if to dissolve the human presence into a far memory. This sort of ’stripping bare‘ of materials and structures can also be found in Kee’s photograms of water, highligh.ng a technological necessity in depic.ng and trying to understand organic forms within human limits.
Adams’s configura.on of feathers are part of a piece en.tled “Mother’s Lament”, which has been inspired by Robert Burns’s poem, “A Mother’s Lament for the Loss of Her Only Son,” wriWen in 1788. The lament was intended for the tune of “Finlaystone House,” and sees the lyrics from the point of view of a mother upon the death of her son. “Mother’s Lament” will be shown in its en.rety, which also includes a musical component, in Los Angeles in April this year. Although presented here in silence, the same remorseful, longing, and melancholic scenario can be well apprehended. The droopy, sagging, weightless feathers resonate memories of a funeral: of shed tears, black veils, and emp.ness. There is a certain beauty found in each feather, while others tend to verge on the grotesque, an allusion to Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia” of 1917, which suggests that though these two are very much alike in that they both suffer the loss of a love object, mourning is seen as a normal phenomena while melancholia is considered pathological.
Adams consciously chose to work with the Victorian colors of loss and mourning, black is used to symbolize sorrow and white for innocence and hope. The embroidery consists of different tex.le materials carefully crabed to its desired form. Along with using silk from deconstructed clothing, some of the skins have been created by pain.ng acrylic paint on glass and peeling it off, and are hand s.tched with silk and coWon fibers. The me.culous concentra.on of eye, hand, needle, and material, is a .me-consuming act characterized by much repe..on. Needlework was oben used to provide solace during .mes of mourning, while the persistent repe..on was found to create a calming, medita.ve state.
By: Araceli Mangione