In GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (2015), honoring the legacy of Jean-Luc Godard’s eponymous film, painted traces of film perforation create an affinity to the ‘frame’ in cinematography. An ominous splash of black paint looms at its centre, summoning the shape of the United States on a map, while a striped sock evokes the human cost of repressive migration laws. ONE PLUS ONE (2015) depicts chancellor Angela Merkel striding forward as the sole woman in a group of male politicians.
Meckseper’s glass vitrines in the exhibition, take on a new resonance in light of the economic devastation created in the wake of the global pandemic. In the artist’s words: ‘For me, the vitrines have become referents for the disappearance of the local shop windows that we’re now seeing all over Manhattan. They now become emblems of a past cityscape, in the same way that pre-pandemic movies now become reminders of the world the way it was before.’
Meckseper created recent works such as Untitled (AC 03), and Untitled (Chain), 2020 using the available materials in her studio at the beginning of the pandemic: mirrors, chains and various objects. In keeping with the dialogue between different mediums in Meckseper’s practice, the new paintings see physical forms from her earlier sculptures and vitrines transformed into silhouettes. Abstractions such as chains in these works become metaphors for the struggle for a more just society, while neon paint splashes became referents for the shape of the virus. At once abstract and concrete, the new artworks form a narrative arc with the rest of Meckseper’s practice by holding up an alternative mirror to our world.
‘ONE PLUS ONE (2015) takes on new resonance in light of our realisation that all the countries that fared best in the pandemic so far had female leaders.’ – Josephine Meckseper, 2020
‘In light of an emptied-out city that feels like a deserted shopping mall, I’ve been considering: what really is the essence of New York City? What is at the core of our city, in a geological and philosophical sense, but also in terms of its indigenous roots’ – Josephine Meckseper, 2020
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