Past: September 8 → October 13, 2012
Laurent Godin is pleased to announce Mika Rottenberg’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.
On this occasion, Mika Rottenberg will present a series of new drawings, her latest video Sneeze and also Seven, a multimedia artwork resulting from the performance and video installation created with Jon Kessler on the occasion of Performa 11 in New York.
Cleaving to her concerns, the artist explores through her works the link between the body and work, both in its representation and its productive function.
“What is, in real life, a representation in which the use of body is effective? What is a representation in an artistic arrangement where the body is a sheer image? From then on, we understand that the “installations” wanted by Mika Rottenberg also aim at pointing out this link between reality and imagination, between the body (hers, as a matter of fact) and the representations that are offered within fictional — and only fictional- artistic arrangements.”
Emmanuel Latreille, Director of the FRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Sneeze is a single channel video inspired by Thomas Edison’s motion study Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894), one of the first films ever made. The role of the sneezing man in the original film was played by Fred Ott, one of Edison’s assistants; later, one of the sponsors suggested that the role be re-cast to feature a young woman, a moment that could be regarded as the beginning of contemporary hardcore cinema. Rottenberg re-imagines Edison’s scenario, staging the ‘sneeze’ as a fantastical form of bodily production. Like the ’money shot’ in pornography, the ‘sneeze’ becomes the moment when the immaterial becomes material, expressing an internal state in cinematic language.
Seven (Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler)
A piece choreographed and designed by Mika Rottenberg and Jon Kessler (b. 1957, Yonkers, NY), is a live performance and video installation debuted in New York in November 2011 as part of the international biennial of live performance Performa 11. In the gallery installation, a mechanism called a “Chakra Juicer” will collect sweat from seven performers during a continuous 37-minute cycle during the gallery’s viewing hours. Viewers will be able to follow the collected fluids as they travel across the globe and ultimately to a remote location in Africa. Mixing Kessler’s kinetic sculptures with Rottenberg’s absurdist videos, Seven collapses film time and real time to create an intricate laboratory that channels body fluids and colors into a spectacle on the African savannah.
In Mika Rottenberg’s drawings, the artist’s body serves as markmaking tool, creating painterly, expressive graphic elements that both anchor and disrupt microcosmic tableaux. Expressive yet systematic, the drawings start with a vocabulary of marks which the artist continually deploys and reworks. These frenetic symbols flirt with legibility and, like worker bees, organize into structures suggestive of factories or Rube Goldberg machines. In an almost biological process, the density of drawing accumulates to a point of fullness, seemingly ingesting and regurgitating itself in each variation. Acid bursts of color and dense, congested elements are balanced by expanses of space and opaque areas that resemble pooled liquids or holes. The visceral handling of graphite, paper, and paint dynamically connects the artist’s body and the process of drawing in a process that is both formal and personal.
Obliquely exploring themes of the body, labor, and systems of production, Rottenberg’s drawings echo the crude yet fantastic construction of her acclaimed video installations, yet refer specifically to drawing and its possibilities.
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