press release

SculptureCenter is pleased to present Leopards in the Temple. Leopards in the Temple will be on view January 10–March 30, 2009 with an opening reception on Sunday, January 10, 2010 from 5-7pm. Leopards in the Temple is a parable by Franz Kafka that reads as follows:

"Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony." The group exhibition of the same name focuses on moments of metamorphosis, paradox, and formal adjacency, borrowing from the parable an ability to promote multiple readings of succinct forms and extraordinary occurrences. Protean moments where materials elide, transform, and overlay take place in the work of Lothar Baumgarten, Nina Canell, Strauss Bourque-LaFrance, and Kitty Kraus, while the rules of image production are triangulated and problematized in the painting configurations of Patrick Hill, Lucas Knipscher, and Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder’s Das Institut. Kathrin Sonntag and Nina Hoffmann (working in collaboration) and the collaborative duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva present slide and film projections that explore the uncanny through acts of magnetism, doubling, and transference. And sculpture is framed and distributed as an effaced and often fictional artifact in the work of Latifa Echakhch, Aleana Egan, and Lucy Skaer. Gathering together an international group of artists, the works in this exhibition share an extra-linguistic interest in moments of translation and a resistance to fixed forms.

Leopards in the Temple offers an unusual opportunity for New York audiences to experience the work of a number of increasingly prominent European artists, including 2009 Turner Prize Nominee Lucy Skaer, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, who together represented Portugal at the most recent Venice Biennale, Nina Canell, the winner of this year’s Bâloise Art Prize at Art Basel 40 | Statements, along with Kathrin Sonntag, recipient of the 2009 Swiss Art Award and Kitty Kraus, recipient of the 2008 Blauorange Prize. The exhibition represents the first New York exhibition for a number of the participating artists. As a complement to the exhibition, SculptureCenter and Anthology Film Archives will present screenings with Nashashibi/Skaer, an ongoing collaboration between artists Rosalind Nashashibi and Lucy Skaer on Monday, January 18, 2010, and João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva on March 8, 2010, at Anthology Film Archives.

Lothar Baumgarten’s (b. 1944 in Rheinberg, Germany) well-known body of work has included ephemeral sculptures, photographic work, slide projection pieces, 16mm film works, recordings, drawings, prints, books, short stories, as well as site-specific works and wall drawings and architecture related interventions. Recent solo exhibitions of Lothar Baumgarten's include the recent Autofocus Retina at Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), 2008; Museum Kurhaus, Kleve, Germany (2006); Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, 2004; Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2004; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 2003; De Pont, Tilburg, The Netherlands, 2002; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Palazzo Querini Stamalia, Venice; and Museu Serralves, Porto, all 2001. Baumgarten is the recipient of the Lichtwark Prize, City of Hamburg 1997; The Golden Lion, First Prize of The Venice Biennale, Venice, 1984; the Prize of the State of Nordrhein-Westfalen, 1976; and the Prize of the City of Düsseldorf, 1974. He is represented by Marian Goodman Gallery, NY.

Nina Canell (b. 1979 in Växjö, Sweden) currently lives and works in Berlin. Her work seeks ways to address sculpture as a restless form with fleeting properties. Relating spatial and structural concerns to that elusive fabric which constitutes the melancholic nature of being, the work facilitates a place in which matter and non-matter are brought together through carefully balanced sculptural happenings. The recipient of the Bâloise Art Prize at Art Basel 40 | Statements Canell has had recent solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Hamburg and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland. Recent group exhibitions include Manifesta 7 – The European Biennial of Contemporary Art (Trentino), Nought to Sixty, Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Movement, Contingency, Community - The 7th Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju), Come Together, Beyond the Country at Lewis Glucksman Gallery (Cork) and Slight Heat of the Eyelid at Mother’s Tankstation. Nina Canell is represented by Mother’s Tankstation (Dublin) and Galerie Barbara Wien (Berlin).

Note: These works have been made by Hoffmann as part of an ongoing collaborative dialog with Kathrin Sonntag. Nina Hoffmann (b.1980 in Spaichingen, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Her photographs and slide projections portray and magnify overlooked moments of transference, doubling, and social intimacy, revealing sleight of hand gestural abstractions. She has received a DAAD Scholarship and her Meisterschülerin with Katharina Sieverding, at the UDK, Berlin. She has had solo exhibitions at Souterain Gallery and Samsa in Berlin and participated in exhibitions at LAX Art, Los Angeles, and the Neues Museum in Basso, Germany, among other venues.

Patrick Hill’s (b. 1972 in Royal Oak, Michigan) sculptures and paintings often appear to violate the elementary laws of physics by employing architectural materials in the service of constructing irrational structures and relief-like abstractions. His paintings are worked with concrete “brushstrokes” that have been stained with inks and fabric dyes. Hill scores the concrete with a knife, as though drawing a line in a freshly poured sidewalk. As with Hill’s sculptures, he brings concrete into juxtaposition with unlikely materials; in the case of his paintings, canvas stretched on ingeniously thin supports that hold the weight of the concrete in a vertical position. Hill lives and works in Los Angeles. He attended the University of Michigan and Otis College of Art and Design. His work has recently been exhibited at The Approach, London, and Bortolami Gallery, New York. Hill was included in the 2008 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Aleana Egan (b. 1979 in Dublin, Ireland) lives and works in Berlin and Dublin. Her practice is engaged in a process of intuitive translation. Creating sculptures, videos and drawings, Egan evolves a series of interpretive responses to her surroundings as well as her literary influences. Her abstract line sculptures crafted out of painted cardboard and tape, or thin metal strips, trace paired-down forms, which evoke a sense of the objects or sites that have inspired them while intimating the artist’s own inner musings about these sources. Egan has had recent solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2008), Mary Mary, Glasgow (2006 and 2005) and Assembly Gallery, Glasgow (2003). Her work has also been shown as part of Nina Canell / Aleana Egan / Marzena Nowak at Konrad Fischer Galerie, Dusseldorf (2009), Heavy Metal at Kunsthalle zu Kiel (2008), the 5th Berlin Biennale (2008), Eccentric Growth at Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin, (2006). She is represented by Mary Mary, Glasgow and Galerie Sandra Buergel, Berlin.

Kathrin Sonntag (b. 1981, Berlin) meticulously analyses everyday life. She is fascinated by slight shifts in the perception of familiar objects and situations creating ambiguity and wonder. Her installations are precisely constructed and consist of objects, drawings, photographs and films. She combines both abstract and concrete elements and strips accessories, such as glasses, tables and chairs of their domestic connotation. Sonntag graduated two years ago at the University of the Arts, Berlin. She has recently exhibited at Kunstverein Nürnberg and at the Frieze Art Fair as well Galerie Kamm, Berlin, and will have an upcoming 2010 solo exhibition at Kustraum Walcheturm in Zurich, in conjunction with receiving the 2009 Swiss Art Award and the Preis der Dr. George and Josi Guggenheim Stiftung. She lives and works in Berlin.

Lucy Skaer (b. 1975, Cambridge) lives and works in Glasgow and Basel. Her multi-layered pieces hover between the symbolic and the documentary, weaving together images drawn from the media, pictorial motifs, diagrams, heraldic elements, etc. into complex works that require attentive reading. She works with a range of media, notably drawing, sculpture and video. Recent solo exhibitions include the 2009 Turner Prize Exhibition at Tate Britain, for which Skaer is a Turner Prize finalist, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2008) and The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2008). She was one of the six artists representing Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), and her work was recently included in New Work UK: You and Me at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2007), If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution at De Appel, Amsterdam (2006) and Art Statements at Art Basel (2006). Skaer shows with Doggerfisher in Edinburgh. She lives and works in Glasgow and New York.

João Maria Gusmão (b. 1979, Lisbon) and Pedro Paiva (b.1977, Lisbon) have been exhibiting together since 2001. Both artists graduated from the Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes in Lisbon. Recently, the two artists have shown at the Kunstverein, Hannover, Germany; Fornt Gallery, Toronto, Canada; "Manifesta 7" - European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Rovereto, Itália; the Trienal de Luanda, Luanda, Angola; the 27ª Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil, at the Adam Art Gallery at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, Museu do Chiado – MNAC, in Lisboa, Portugal. In addition, they were awarded with Portugal's Prémio EDP Novos Artistas for young and upcoming artists and represented Portugal, and with the Prémio União Latina form Culturgest, Lisboa. The artists represented Portugal in this past summer’s edition of the 2009 Venice Biennial. The duo lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal and are represented by the Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon.

Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974 El Khansa, Morocco) deals with issues of the construction of identity in transit and ruptures between different cultures, employing what she has referred to as an “unstable formalism” in bringing the political into proximity with strategies of abstraction. Her choice of materials, mostly consisting of everyday artifacts, attempts to transform objects, images and situations—sometimes quite banal—into cultural and formal subjects up for debate, imbued with the after-effects of post-colonial society. Recent solo exhibitions include Tate Modern, 2008, Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, and the Biefelder Kunstverein, in Biefelder, Germany. Select group exhibitions include the 2009 Lyon Biennial, Lyon, France; Manifesta 7, Turin, Italy, 2008; Interface, Dijon, 2006; and Promesse at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Valence, 2005. Echakhch lives and works in Paris and Zurich. See additional images below.

Kerstin Brätsch (b. 1979 Hamburg, Germany) and Adele Röder (b. 1980 Dresden, Germany) live and work in New York where they have their own respective studio practices as well as Das Institut, an ongoing collaboration that moves fluidly between mediums, creating strange hybrids of painting, design, and performance. For instance, large-scale oil paintings can be used as backdrops for staged actions, sculptures can serve as distribution nodes for various ’zines and Xeroxed publications, and poster works can function as remixes of or advertisements in their presentations. Brätsch and Röder created DAS INSTITUT, a kind of “Import / Export Agency”, in 2007. Through DAS INSTITUT Brätsch’s works is integrated into a wider system of references and examined in terms of functionalspecific questions. The abstract design vocabulary that characterizes Brätsch’s paintings has to be understood in the context of her collaboration with Röder as design (pattern), advertisement (announcement) and reproduction (copy). Recent exhibitions include The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at the New Museum, NY, and a solo project at the Swiss Institute, NY.

Kitty Kraus (b. 1976, Heidelberg, Germany) creates delicate sculptures out of materials that are inherently fragile, mutable, and translucent, including thin panes of glass, blocks of ice infused with black ink, light bulbs, mirrors, and swaths of fabric. Her works often have a tendency to appear barely present, or in the process of disappearing like shadows or apparitions. Recent solo projects include exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Zurich, Kunstverein Heilbronn (in relation to her receiving the 2008 Blauorange Prize), and Intervals at the Guggenheim Museum, NY. Recent group exhibitions include Political/Minimal at Kunst-Werke, Berlin, and Freier Fall at the Badischer Kusntverein in Karlsruhe, Germany. She is represented by Galerie Neu in Berlin, Germany. She lives and works in Berlin.

Strauss Bourque-LaFrance (b. 1983) lives and works in Philadelphia, PA where he is completing his MFA in Visual Arts at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. With a background in dance and performance, Bourque-LaFrance reconfigures narratives, objects, and images into altar-like tableaux, assigning a hermetic and ritualized otherness to anonymous, everyday materials. Recent exhibitions include projects at Vox Populi Gallery and Space 1026 in Philadelphia, PA and Northampton Center for the Arts, Northamption, MA.

Lucas Knipscher (b.1979) received his MFA from Bard College in 2009. In his ever-shifting image configurations, Knipscher attempts to decouple form from symbolic content through theatrical staging of licensed patterns. Deploying Speedrail—an “open form” modular apparatus used for product and signage display of all kinds—Knipscher layers and reabsorbs appropriated content, often claimed through photographic procedures or material interventions, into the language of abstraction. Knipscher has exhibited at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and Balice Hertling, Paris, and Jeff Bailey Gallery, NY, among other venues.

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Leopards in the Temple
Kurator: Fionn Meade

Künstler: Lothar Baumgarten, Strauss Bourque-LaFrance, Nina Canell, Latifa Echakhch, Aleana Egan, Patrick Hill, Nina Hoffmann, DAS INSTITUT (Kerstin Brätsch / Adele Röder), Lucas Knipscher, Kitty Kraus, Joao Maria Gusmao / Pedro Paiva, Lucy Skaer, Kathrin Sonntag.