Almine Rech Gallery, one of Paris’s foremost galleries, opened its first New York location more than a year ago on the Upper East Side, bringing with it a unique program that mixes a strong artist roster with a consistently adventurous curatorial project. For its most recent venture, the gallery has brought together key figures from the canon of 20th century Western art for Words Without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go. Adapting its title from a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the exhibition investigates ways artists use text as an allegorical element. Serving as a chronological and thematic starting point to the exhibition is Être ou ne pas être, Picasso’s 1912 painting considered as one of the foremost examples of appropriation of text in modern painting. Declaring “to be or not be” in French with gouache on paper, Picasso not only pays homage to one of the most emblematic texts ever written, but he also questions the mimetic essence of a painting. Can a painting of words serve to depict an image?
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Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, CA
Hauser and Wirth, London/Zurich
Luhring Augustine, New York
Institute of Applied Arts, Vienna
School of Design, Basel
Rist, who traditionally works in film, began her career by making super 8 films. Her works usually last only a few minutes and vary in color, sound and speed. Often her pieces approach issues like sexuality, gender and the human body. Her films often feel like digital space travel soaring through a colored injected world of leaves, flowers, stones, etc that transform into the crook of an elbow or a patch of hair. Her videos never rest, with digital technology, the perspective is always twisting and changing. Often, the videos are projected in a non tradtional way; spinning images floating on the floor, a hanging shiny metal drop with the video projected on its side.
A signature work of hers is housed in PS1 MoMA’s floor, through a tiny chink in the floorboards one hears the high pitched voice of a minpin screaming for help. Looking down into the floor, one sees a tiny video of the artist, filmed from a downward perspective, of her desperately jumping up and down trying to escape the floorboards. The effect is that there is a tiny Rist that has slipped between the cracks of the museum.
She is at the forefront of women artists and of video artists, both minorities in a world dominated by male painters/sculptors.
She has received a number of awards and prizes, including the Swiss Federal Arts Scholarship in 1991 and the prestigious Wolfgang-Hahn-Preis in 1999.