An international group exhibition featuring work by Hadas Amster, Orit Ben Shitrit, Jude Griebel, Merav Kamel & Halil Balabin, David Krippendorff, Cal Lane, İrfan Önürmen, Ruth Patir, Alexander Polzin, Viktor Popović, Abed Elmajid Shalabi, and Patricia Waller.
This exhibition of artwork from around the world meditates on the many layers of internal and external conflict. At a time when differing viewpoints can be enough to put us at complete odds with one another, what does it mean to hold conflicting truths, and how do we navigate the discomfort of these differences? How do we resist the urge to see things in terms of simple opposition? How do we manage to move through conflict and remain wholly intact? This selection of work will address these centuries old questions through a variety of voices mirroring contemporary culture. Collectively, they represent a multifaceted dialogue opening up possibilities for exploring challenging topics in a more nuanced fashion. In her 2016-17 performance and photography series, If My Father Had Three Sons, Hadas Amster went undercover as a man into highly segregated Hasidic spaces in Mount Meron and the Western Wall in Israel, to participate in the mystical rituals that are traditionally denied to women. As a way of commemorating this meaningful experience, she has produced a new video documentation of her odyssey. This film will enjoy its world premier during the exhibition, along with a number of symbolic objects that will be on display, some of them also newly created.
Orit Ben Shitrit investigates body and underlying memory through film, video, photography, painting, ceramic and drawing. Her new painting, Hermaphrodite on Mars, is a speculative scenario in a futuristic moment. It depicts a self-reproducing interspecies being, overlooking a cratered terrain. The painting transcends conventional categories of gender and imagines a time post-climate extinction. Jude Griebel’s childhood growing up on a farm in Canada has informed his investigation of our relationship to land, how we treat it, and how that, in turn, affects us as humans. His darkly humorous sculptures and drawings transform elements of human and animal bodies, landscapes and architecture into compositions that address the challenging realities of species and habit collapse and climate change.
Merav Kamel and Halil Balabin have been collaborating for the last 11 years to create fantastical hybrid figures that combine elements of humans, animals and plants, incorporating hand sewing with numerous sculptural techniques. Their work, at times surrealistic and folkloric, embodies their ongoing, creative dialogue around human society and modern culture. David Krippendorff’s black and white pastel drawings are based on stills from the Kansas scenes in The Wizard of Oz minus the characters. These bleak, rural landscapes reflect the darkness of 1939, the year in which the film was made and World War II started, a time when a huge wave of refugees fled Europe for the US. They also bring to mind the current climate breakdown that the world is experiencing today.
In one of her signature sculptures, Panty Chain, Cal Lane has created a large chain out of steel links, each one plasma-cut into the shape of panties. Through the juxtaposition of a traditionally masculine material with a pattern typically thought of as feminine, Lane’s work adds layers of paradox and humor to the exploration of gender and its continuing grip on the collective psyche. The sculptural works by İrfan Önürmen featured in this exhibition are made from layered tulle and newspaper. Their soft materiality contrasts with the hard realities of warfare and the related atrocities they depict—symbolic elements such as airplanes, gas masks and the type of hoods used in torturing prisoners of war or suspected terrorists.
Ruth Patir’s investigations into ancient, prehistoric statues of female deities coupled with her immersion in the modern technologies of digital animation and 3-D printing have resulted in a body of work that is at once historical and futuristic. In her 3-D printed sculpture, Self Portrait as a Fertility Goddess, Patir depicts herself with syringes poking into points all over her body, highlighting the paradoxically powerful yet invasive nature of modern reproductive technology. Alexander Polzin’s Homage a Freud posits, “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” The bronze sculpture, through its use of positive and negative space, presents a graphic representation of the human struggle to balance the inner dialogue between power and doubt.
Viktor Popović has created a series of silkscreen prints commemorating the mass destruction of monuments erected after World War II in Croatia, works that were originally created to preserve the memory of traumatic war experiences. An archival photograph of the destroyed Monument to the 1st Split Partisan Unit by Vuko Bombardelli is used as a visual for printing using paint obtained from gunpowder, which in this case takes on the role of pigment. Abed Elmajid Shalabi’s sculptures transform ubiquitous objects into charged symbols of displacement and loss of identity. A child’s car seat made of concrete becomes a militant object, representing the Palestinian struggle through the history of farmers being forced to work in the construction industry. Street signs emblazoned with both English and Arabic lettering in iconic fonts trigger a wide range of unconscious associations.
Fiber artist Patricia Waller creates figures reminiscent of dolls, juxtaposing the softness and comfort of wool against the horrors she illustrates through graphic depictions of violence. The works we’ve chosen for this exhibition allude to the rampant child abuse perpetrated in Christian religious institutions, and how innocent children are affected by the terror of war.
C24 Gallery, New York, NY, USA July 27 – October 5, 2023
curator: David C. Terry
1 Untitled (Archive Košute), 2023 silkscreen (using gunpowder) on paper, 100 x 70 cm archive photograph: Institute of Art History, Zagreb, Croatia (photographer: unknown)