Summer '22

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Date: 
Thursday, July 21, 2022

Continuing through August 27.

Special opening hours August 1–14 – Wed–Fri 12–6pm

 

Esther Schipper is pleased to present Summer ’22, a group exhibition with works by Sarah Buckner, Ann Veronica Janssens, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Cemile Sahin, Julia Scher, Sun Yitian and Tao Hui. On view will be works in a range of media, among them installation, film, sculpture and painting.

Summer ’22 brings together artistic approaches which, though employing a variety of media, share an impulse to transform personal observations and political concerns into formally striking, incisive works of art.

Cemile Sahin and Tao Hui conceived expansive environments in which their multi-channel video works are presented. Both artists draw on contemporary narrative conventions familiar from TV and digital media channels. Their presentations are markedly different: Tao Hui’s 2017 Hello Finale! Is organized in a strict grid with functional, office-like seating, each short video screened individually. Shot in nine different locations in Kyoto, and featuring local actors speaking in Japanese, the work evokes, through its mises-en-scène, the visual tropes of Japanese television. Cemile Sahin’s Bad People, Bad News, 2021, on the other hand, screens her three-channel video as part of a colorful, industrial-looking construction with beach chairs. An overall narrative, centered on the story of three Kurdish women who celebrate Sadam Hussein’s death together annually, is formed about nations, dictatorships, monuments, terror, and questions about power and interpretive sovereignty, original and fake. Both works share a certain affectless air that seems more a symptom of trauma rather than an indication of indifference.

The subjects of the new paintings by Sarah Buckner and Sojourner Truth Parsons remain ambiguous: Paintings with enigmatic motifs evoke the impression of an emotional subtext but do not resolve their narrative tension or give away their mystery. The graphic clarity of Parsons’ compositions functions as a misdirection, as color and shape remain in continuous flux, oscillating between representation and abstraction. Buckner’s representations of fantastic figures feel both open-ended and precisely observed, as they appear to emerge from a fully formed narrative of which viewers can only catch a momentary glimpse. Sun Yitian’s large-scale Gun without Bullets juxtaposes the playful quality of an inflatable toy with the violent potential of a deadly weapon. Combining a glossily painted lush surface of a digitally rendered object with vaguely ominous iconography is characteristic of the young Chinese artist’s practice.
 

Another artistic approach is represented by Ann Veronica Janssens’ Umbrella, 2020. A thatched roof with a feathery crown, the work’s entire surface has been covered with gold leaf. With its references to the effects of the sun’s energy, symbolized by the use of gold leaf, Umbrella encapsulates both individual and far-reaching global ecological concerns in a single object combining formal restraint and great beauty. Julia Scher’s pioneering historical work, Hidden Camera (Rhizome) from 1991/2018, finally, employs humor to draw our attention to the issue at hand: our long-standing surveillance by technological apparatuses, here hidden in plain sight in greenery. In addition, the work plays on the ambivalence between anxiety of being surveilled and taking pleasure in observing and being observed.

The exhibition’s title partakes in an apparent contradiction of form and content that runs through the presented works: Summer ’22 is thus perhaps best encapsulated in the deceptive playfulness of Sahin’s bright beach chairs, which encourage relaxed lounging, while watching a film about the enduring power of images.

Location: 
Esther Schipper Potsdamer Strasse 81E D-10785 Berlin
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