Presented by Vohn Gallery
Dates: October 22, 2014 - November 18, 2014
Opening Event: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Modern Man is born in a hospital and dies in a hospital, so he should make his home like a clinic.
DIAGNOSIS. Our glittering immunological centers harbor disturbances and pathologies at the heart of their well-insulated dreams. Today’s “clinics” look like gated communities and high-rises, a global nervous system injected with protective capital disproportionately dictating who has good health, shelter, and rights. We have seen how this immunity from the lower depths can go terribly wrong: in the autoimmune disorders of market greed and competition, and in the autoimmune reactions of a planet rebelling against those who beef up on self-preservation. Immunities from poverty and subordinate nature have always been bound together by keeping the clinics clean from pathogens. What is new today is the scale. Since economic and environmental autoimmune disorders are increasingly backfiring on everyone, drives for immunity and containment are no longer an option.
METHOD. This autoimmune complex is inherited everywhere. It is a vast complicity network of ecological entanglement, financial violence, and psycho-social habits that constantly malfunction against their users. Depending on your position and promotion inside this network, you hold varying levels of agency and contamination, from which two possible paths arise: cynical enjoyment and resignation in the face of a complicity that is inevitably self-serving and harmful, or bending complicity back on itself by using its connections and power for non-violence instead. Our motto should be not only know thyself, but also know your complicity.
PRACTICE. The artistic practices of Judith Fegerl, Mathias Kessler, and Martin Roth can be situated within these concerns. Kessler’s explorations bear witness to sites of over-production reaching terminal states. Through formal complexity and rigor in various media, he underscores the irreversibility of the cultural, political, and industrial impositions made on the environment – not as a call for romantic escape or facile resentment, but as a critical awareness of forever being entangled with what we call nature. His recent body of work results from an artist residency in the Florida Everglades. Fegerl’s installations, drawings, and sculptures reveal the fissures, cracks, and connectivity of our bodies in relation to the casings and technologies we use for insulation and conduction. Her favored materials – including latex, copper, and electricity – allfunction in both organic and synthetic processes, both inside and outside the structures that sustain life and culture. Martin Roth’s work is attentive to the micro eco-systems constantly at work around us. In some instances, he incorporates the growth processes of plant life in his installations, while in others, his practice opens a real space for collaborative potential between human and nonhuman animals, which thoughtfully maintains ethical care, responsibility, and inter-species thriving.
Judith Fegerl (b. 1977) studied painting and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and currently lives and works in Vienna. Her work has been shown at the Museion Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano; Art Basel Statements 2013; the Moscow Biennial 2013, the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; and the Freud Museum, Vienna. Fegerl has participated as an artist-in-residence at Copenhagen AIR and the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York, and has been awarded the Prize for Fine Arts of Lower Austria and received a one year scholarship by the state of Austria. Fegerl is currently participating in the exhibition “What Duchamp Taught Me” at The Fine Art Society, London.
Mathias Kessler (b. 1968) received his MFA in Art Practice from the School of Visual Arts. He has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Rosphot National Museum for Photography, Russia; GL Holtegaard Museum, Copenhagen; and Kunstraum Dornbrin, Austria. Selected group exhibitions include: [UN]NATURAL LIMITS ACFNY, Hohe Dosis Fotohof, Salzburg; The Nature of Disappearance, Marianne Boesky, New York; Hoehenrausch, OK, Linz; GO NYC, Kunsthalle Krems, and The Invention of Landscape Museo, Palaxio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Residency; Cape Cod Modern House Trust, AIRE Everglades. His work has been featured in international publications, some of which include: Blouin Artinfo, Bloomberg Press, Kopenhagen DK, Eikon, Kunstforum, Studio 360, ORF SAT 3, Camera Austria, Die Zeit, Forbes, Prefix Magazin, and Art Bulletin.
Martin Roth (b. 1977) received an MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2011, and previously studied at Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts and SOMA, Mexico City. He had solo exhibitions at Louis B. James, New York (2012 and in 2013) and Reinisch Contemporary, Graz, Austria (2012). His work has been presented in group exhibitions in the following galleries and nonprofit institutions: Kamakura Gallery, Kanagawa, Japan (2014); Rothschild 69, Tel Aviv, Israel (2013); BLG Erlenmatt, Basel Switzerland (2013); RedBull Music Academy, New York (2013); Nada Art Fair, New York (2013); Salon ACME, Mexico City, Mexico (2013); Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany (2012); Bolsa de Valores, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); and Billboard International, Auschwitz, Poland (2012), among others. Roth has most recently exhibited in Parallel Vienna (2014) and screened a short film at mumok, Vienna.
The exhibition “autoimmune” is curated by Arnaud Gerspacher, New York-based curator and PhD Candidate in Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center.