Songs for the Blind
25.4.2013 – 29.5.2013
Presence and Absence in Lothar Hempel's Photo-Sculptural Hybrids
Lothar Hempel's works combine sculpture and photography, applying them to a set of aesthetic criteria which echo both cinema and theater. Generally speaking, Hempel's signature works are free-standing cuttings of photographic enlargements, which capture and freeze the motion of individuals or groups in the middle of performative gestures or actions.
The photographic sculptural enlargements, whose sources remain mostly unidentified, each play a role in flat hybridized sculptural constellations, partially re-presenting and re-playing the original photographed events, bringing them back into three-dimensional space and back to life-size measurements. Hempel's photo-sculptural hybrid deprives photographed imagery of its representative or historical status and turns it into a frameless, ghostly appearance in real space.
Hempel throws the photographed figures back into the world from which they were taken, while transforming this world into an alternative, imaginary and mythological realm. The theatrical character of Hempel's work induces us to read his works as stage scenery which has been pushed to the fore and has become the performance; or, alternatively, it forces the viewers to become actors, rather than mere observers. Hempel's spectral, yet confrontational stage scenery reveals its illusory tricks and exposes itself as a fictional, imitative and temporary environment of a potential and suspended eventuality.
"Songs for the Blind" is the title Hempel chose for his new group of works, specially prepared for the occasion of his first solo exhibition at Hezi Cohen Gallery. The title reflects his ongoing interest in performance and music as sources of inspiration. It also signifies a rift between the senses, addressing the transmission of sound to those who cannot see. This transmission of audible experience indicates the lack of sight and compensates for it. Unlike the sound-image relationship in cinema, Hempel describes his sound as a substitute for visual image (not as its companion). The title suggests a negative condition masked by a positive occurrence, that is, the lack of sight accompanied by sound and music.
This may serve as an interpretive key to understanding the mode of appearances in Hempel’s works, which manifests and thematizes the shift between absence and presence, between invisibility and visibility. Although Hempel uses still photography in soundless, hybrid photo-sculptural constellations, human figures seem to emerge, as if suddenly unleashed and bursting out. They dramatically appear in space like actors entering the stage, coming out from behind the scenes, or rather from the abyss. The moment we see these figures is the moment of their unveiling, their arrival in space, their shift from absence to presence and, immediately afterwards, their shift from presence to spectrality. Hempel's flat free-standing cuttings invite the viewer to walk around them, exposing their flipside.
This exposure not only destroys their illusionary potential, but also suggests an act of self-erasure. The flipside is the work’s shadow, its silhouette. If the front side of Hempel's cuttings re-presents photographed contents in their spectral form, then the flipside shadow is as a ghost of a ghost, a blank, empty, negative space, full of absence.
Lothar Hempel (b. 1966, Köln), lives and works in Berlin. His previous exhibitions include Modern Art, London (2012); Anton Kern Gallery, New York (2011); Art : Concept, Paris (2012), as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Barbican Art Gallery, London (2008); and MoMA PS1 (2001).
A retrospective show of his works was held in 2007 at Le Magasin, Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France. His works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), FRAC – Poitou-Charentes, Angouleme, France, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and The Saatchi Gallery, London.
25.4.2013 – 29.5.2013
Hezi Cohen Gallery is glad to announce the solo exhibition of New York artist Rashaad Newsome. Shade Compositions, Rashaad Newsome’s ongoing project, is a series of performances, combining improvisatory orchestral music with live video-mixing, conducted by the artist using hacked Nintendo® Wii™ game controllers.
The exhibition at Hezi Cohen Gallery is dedicated to a sequence of video works that combine documented performances with 'Screen Tests' by which Newsome explores how culturally specific or stereotypical gestures, movements, and vocalizations are performed by different people. These videos also act as the material used in his choreographed sound score.
Through collage and repetition, Newsome divorces gestures of speech and movement from their original context and conventional significance. In this way, he de-semanticises the codes of body language. Newsome transforms his staged performers into aesthetic figures, whose fragmentary nature allows them to function as a collection of universal codes.
The set of polyrhythmic, serial compositions arranged by Newsome reveals an expressive power that leaves these gestures open to interpretation, rather than fixed to the labels from which they were removed.
The set of works featured in the exhibition includes the latest version of the series, which debuted in October 2012 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA).
Rashaad Newsome (b. 1979, New Orleans) lives and works in New York. His previous exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012), New Museum, New York (2011), Marlborough Gallery - Chelsea, New York (2011), MoMA PS1 (2010), the Whitney Museum, New York (2010), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012),
the last three also featured a live performance. In addition, he participated in the Venice Biennale (2011) and the Whitney Biennial (2010). Among his upcoming projects this year is an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art. His works are included in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, New York, the Whitney Museum, and the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Hezi Cohen Gallery
Mon-Thu: 10:30-19:00; Fri: 11:00-14:00; Sat: 10:00-14:00
54 Wolfson St, Tel Aviv