press release

Dictionary definitions of ecstasy describe it as: a feeling of intense delight, a mental state in which self-control and sometimes consciousness are lost, usually caused by intense religious experience, sexual pleasure, or drugs.

The fact that Western society has built large sections of its foundations on the quest for personal fulfillment and achievement means that allusions to ecstasy are particularly rife in our society's marketing strategies. Advertising is the "vulgar" mouthpiece of this underlying constant, manifesting itself particularly in inflated claims of instant physical and/or spiritual ecstasy, automatically available through the purchase of advertised products, especially food, drink, cars, toiletries and medication. The artists in Ecstasy2x3 exploit and explore notions and states of ecstasy particularly in relation to society's perceptions of it. Curiously a concurrent exhibition entitled Ecstasy: In and About Altered States is on view at the Los Angeles MOCA, and deals more specifically with artists' representations of states of ecstasy, or works that may offer changed states to the viewer; (

In Ecstasy2X3 Part One (Virginie Barré and Joyce Pensato), society’s perversion of states ofecstasy is clearly an underlying subtext. Well known Brooklyn artist, Joyce Pensato famouslytransforms the familiar Cartoon Characters of America to reveal unpredictably extreme personae lurking under their comfortable surfaces. In Pensato’s parallel universe, Mickey, Donald andMarge Simpson slide dangerously into crazed ecstatic delirium after toeing the line for too long asaccessories to the American quest for fulfillment. Meanwhile, the young European star, Virginie Barré has developed her own cast of characters (in her drawings, mannequins and installations),whose search for satisfaction may or may not have back-fired. An unshakeable and ambiguousstate of hyper(un)reality permeates Barré’s work, apparently induced by French fries and donuts, science fiction and drugs, reality and dreams...

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines ecstasy as a state in which the mind is entirely absorbed in the contemplation of one dominant idea or object. This is, of course, the case in religious ecstasy,but it can also be so, in many other forms such as the spiritual experiences claimed by sports andmusic fans at significant moments in the presence of their idols. Parker’s Box artist, Tim Laun, has been an avid observer of fandom and its mechanisms, both in the artist’s studio and in thesports stadium (see Forget Fauvism, this is Favreism, Jaime Lowe on Tim Laun in SportsIllustrated August, 2005). In the piece he presents for Ecstasy 2X3 Part Two Tim Laun exploresfurther intriguing parallels with religious ecstasy and beatitude. In his most recent series of photographs, the artist focuses on the moment when time stands still in a football game as theball hangs in the air and a player waits to catch it –eyes and arms straining heavenwards, (a farcry from that other moment when time stands still as the players wait for the commercial break to end in order to resume play). Laun has invited Chris Miner to accompany him in this episode ofthe Parker’s Box project. Miner (currently preparing an upcoming solo show at Michell-Innes &Nash), has consistently returned to the religious component of ecstasy as a subtext of his practice, exploring his own conflicting experiences of ecstasy, guilt, physical and spiritualtranscendence, as he swings between the sordid and the sublime.

In Ecstasy2X3 Part Three (John Bjerklie and Patrick Martinez), the two artists further conjugate areflection on the various possible domains of ecstasy. Patrick Martinez’ new film, The Jesuses,does this on a number of levels with considerable subtlety. Taking the simple idea of animating an archive of classical crucifixion paintings, Martinez’ film retains the serenity of these images ofJesus on the cross, while simultaneously granting him with sensual life and movement. WhileMartinez takes up no position here, the critical intervention of John Bjerklie will deal directly and indirectly with many pertinent issues, including those that may be raised by Martinez’ film. Aspainter, sculptor, budding critic, philosopher and TV presenter as well as erstwhile adviser to theart collection of the American Bible Society, Bjerklie is well-equipped to examine a wide range of related topics in his site-specific, critical, hands-on, hands-off installation/ performance/ broadcast.As a fine draughtsman and often boisterously physical painter/ sculptor, Bjerklie’s TV persona willdebate the fine lines between pleasure and pain, physical and spiritual ecstasy, ecstatic studio practice versus cold artworld strategy, ecstasy and the American Dream, painting by numbers asa road to fulfillment, ecstasy and incoherence, ecstasy and the loss of self-control, Bjerklie’s hitlistof “ecstatic” artists, etc. etc...


only in german


Part One Oct 21-24. Virginie Barré & Joyce Pensato
Part Two Oct 28-31. Tim Laun &+ Chris Miner
Part Thre Nov 4-7. Patrick Martinez & John Bjerklie