Taste is a group show currently at CSA Space featuring the work of three Düsseldorf-based artists: Alexander Bornschein and the duo of Henning Fehr and Philipp Ruehr. I couldn't attend the opening, but the artists gave me a preview of the exhibition a few days early. Taste: Three Guys from Vancouver in Düsseldorf was Fehr and Ruehr's inversion of a site-specific work. Instead of making a work for or about Vancouver, they made a series of street photographs depicting three artists from Vancouver - Adam Harrison, Alex Morrison, and Alison Yip - who live in their city, Düsseldorf. Fehr and Ruehr followed each person around for one day, taking photographs of them at a distance. The three of them knew they were being photographed, but the Germans kept enough distance to not impede whatever it was their subjects needed to do. The prints were then developed in a darkroom through a double-exposure process. A particular kind of jungstil glass, which Morrison was buying on the day they photographed him, was placed in the top left-hand corner and bottom right-hand corner of all the prints while the photographs were exposed, nearly framing the pictures with a photogram. The images were developed in high contrast black and white, and the prints have glass over them, which lend a certain abstract quality to the images. The duo will also show the work in Maine (where it will be titled Three Guys from North America in Düsseldorf) and Montréal (Three Guys from Canada...) over the next few months.
Alexander Bornschein, Ohne Titel (Orientierungbereich)
Bornschein contributes Ohne Titel (Orientierungbereich), which is comprised of two pieces of what's called "flag fabric" on which paint has been primed and a photograph of a mid-twentieth century Baun lighter ironed on. The mixture between photography and painting reminds me of Ian Wallace's work. Bornschein's piece continues from earlier depictions of transmission devices, such as radios. The fire of the lighter, then, almost becomes a proto-transmission device.
Josephine Meckseper, American Leg
Josephine Meckseper has been examining the relationship between consumer culture and art for the past twenty years. She often appropriates images or objects from the worlds of fashion and design, using them as part of sculptural or installation works. The resulting exhibition is a site to critique consumer culture. The front windows of the Contemporary Art Gallery (where the work in American Leg, her first Canadian exhibition, is displayed) are an ideal setting to enhance aspects of her practice. As one walks by the CAG, there are a series of sculptures, presented halfway between readymade and shop display. The difference between window-shopping and art appreciation is blurred. So, for example, in one of the windows, the eponymous work American Leg appears. It in, the leg of a mannequin is placed on a plinth. Next to it, a chrome wheel for a tire (titled American Muscle) is also on a plinth.
These sculptures are best experienced distractedly, peripherally, as one walks by, so that whether or not they are art or display is ambiguous. The viewer is, then, caught - or perhaps tricked - by the work. We have been trained to experience any object as a consumer good. The work implicates our expectations of what we think we are seeing (a product) when, in fact, what we are looking at is something else (art). In other words, the work does not equate consumerism with art so much as make us confront the fact that we have been socialized not to see the difference ourselves. When one stops and takes a look at these strange, near surreal objects, a completely different set of ideas develops. What at first appears to be part of the consumer world turns out to be a far more strange and delicate object, which attempts to critique the way we see.
CSA Space: http://csaspace.blogspot.ca/
Taste continues until August 30.
Contemporary Art Gallery: http://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/
Josephine Meckseper: American Leg continues until September 2.
Aaron Peck is the author of The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis and, in collaboration with artists Adam Harrison and Dominic Osterried, Letters to the Pacific. His recent art criticism has appeared, or is forthcoming, in artforum.com, 01 Magazine, Art Papers, Canadian Art, C Magazine and Fillip, as well as an article in La Fábrica's Spanish-language magazine Matador. He has also contributed to numerous exhibition catalogs and is Akimblog's Vancouver correspondent.
Comments (newest first) +click to add comment
Posted by inrfeshapo, on 2012-10-18 08:06:04