Saturday 29 March 2014
30 March 25 May 2014
Josephine Meckseper’s works meld the aesthetic language of modernism with the formal language of commercial display, combining mass-produced objects with images and artifacts of historical and political events. In her shop window installations, large-scale display sculptures, paintings, photographs, and films, she draws a direct correlation to the way our consumer culture has historically shaped cultural production as well as how early Modernism and the avant-garde developed into a form of political and aesthetic resistance to classism and capitalism.
In this exhibition, the sculptural installations and wall works refer to the political dimension of early modernist display architecture and design between World War I and II in Weimar Germany while simultaneously creating a window into our contemporary consumer society. The exhibition will feature a new stainless steel vitrine that pays homage to the modernist architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who was born in Aachen in 1886. Additionally, Meckseper’s wall works, made out of store display slatwall panels and printed canvases, highlight appropriated advertisings such as the packaging of male underwear labels 2(X)ist.
The installation Sabotage on Auto Assembly Line to Slow it Down, is a mirrored platform featuring three car tires on a chrome conveyor belt alongside two videos shown on stacked television monitors. One of the videos is a continuous image of a shattered screen, while the other, is a montage of hawkish car advertisements that flooded the US airwaves in early 2008. This work points out the instability of capitalism and Post-Fordian society. The title refers to the term Slowdown, an industrial action in which workers reduce productivity and efficiency- a measure that is seen as less risky and costly for workers and unions than a real strike.
Meckseper’s work Natural History is part of her ongoing slatwall series in which she employs industrial retail systems commonly used to display merchandise. Stacked into 2.5 m square ‘paintings’ with fluorescent lights, they confront contemporary consumer display forms with references to Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.
The works in the exhibition create a sense of an archeology of the present and the early 20th century. A sense of instability haunts the mirrored surfaces and the seemingly benign objects reflected in them, as if the reason for their existence is the anticipation of their own destruction.
Josephine Meckseper was born in Lilienthal, Germany, and studied at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin and CalArts, Los Angeles, where she received her MFA. In 2013, her work was exhibited throughout the permanent collection and public spaces of Parrish Art Museum. Meckseper’s first public project in New York, Manhattan Oil Project, was commissioned by Art Production Fund and installed in a lot adjacent to Times Square in 2012. The migros museum, Zurich dedicated a solo exhibition to her work in 2009, which traveled to Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst, Münster and the Blaffer Gallery/Art Museum of the University of Houston. A major retrospective was organized by the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany, in 2007. Meckseper’s work has been exhibited in numerous international biennials and museum exhibitions worldwide, and is in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Perez Art Museum Miami, and the Hammer Museum, UCLA. The artist lives and works in New York.