Bartha Contemporary is delighted to announce a series of group exhibitions marking the gallery’s fifteenth anniversary. Space Invaders - Sculptors’ Vision, the second exhibition in the series, will take place from May 7 to June 20, 2015 and features recent works by gallery artists Vanessa Henn, Julia Mangold and Clay Ketter.
Vanessa Henn lives and works in Berlin. Her work is particularly focused on various functional and stylistic elements in architecture from everyday culture that assist in guiding and managing the flow of public space. By employing either recycled materials or custom made handrails, Vanessa Henn’s installations and objects evoke a sense of the familiar and combine formal reduction and playful wit.
Specifically the industrially manufactured handrails, which have become a kind of artistic trademark, function as drawings for Henn. Mainly wall-based sculptures, the handrails create trails along the walls, which naturally guide the visitor around the space. This guiding aspect is reminiscent of the material’s original functionality and also retains an inextricable link to architecture. The use of customized ready-made material and proficient presentation skillfully blurs the boundaries between sculpture and installation.
The narrative quality present in Vanessa Henn’s wall based sculpture has an impulsive nature to lead you around the gallery space; Julia Mangold’s work has a similar energy but her works don’t so much guide you around the space but more draw attention to your own physical relationship with the space and other objects within it.
Originally from Germany but living and working in Portland, Oregon, Julia Mangold produces highly pigmented geometric structured sculptures. At first seeming monolithic and overpowering, the dark structures evolve through a refined play on human scale and the deliberate confrontation of precise forms and sensual surfaces. It is the artist’s inherent ability to unite these two seemingly opposing traits, which in turn lend the works an extraordinary sense of presence.
Mangold’s protruding sculptures increase the movement and dynamics of the surrounding space, inviting the viewer to move around its various facets in order to experience changes of dimension and space and to enter into a dialogue with the objects on the wall.
Clay Ketter’s works explore the familiar yet overlooked surfaces of architecture in various stages of construction and destruction. Shadow Lawn Ave (2007) featured in this exhibition is part of Ketter’s Gulf Coast Slab series, which displays topographical images that are reminiscent of architectural floor plans. The geometrical grids are overlaid with debris and parts of remaining interior decorations such as floor tiles; the usually unnoticeable architectural structures are here exposed due to the catastrophic floods after the passage of hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Ketter’s distinctive composition speaks to the viewer in a very unique way; there is no change in perspective, just the flatbed of the ground transformed into the flatness of a photographic print. Engaging with such a perspective forces the viewer to scrutinize the image and generates a fluctuating viewing position
Niklas von Bartha