Carlier | Gebauer

Janaina Tschäpe

13 Jun - 01 Aug 2015

© Janaina Tschäpe
Girl Watching a Bird in the Horizon, 2015
Mixed media on canvas
13 June – 1 August 2015

carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce the Brazilian-German artist Janaina Tschäpe’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, opening Friday, 12 June from 6-9pm. The exhibition will include a new large-scale work on canvas, a series of large-scale watercolors entitled Fernweh, a video by the same name, and a series of watercolors.

Liquids, biomorphism, memory, hybridity, and the plasticity of subjectivity: these associations offer only a brief introduction into the artist‘s layered conceptual lexicon. Tschäpe’s work explores landscape as a site of morphological transformation. The natural world forms the stage in which abstract primordial scenes of longing, sex, and death play out, whether in painting, sculpture, photographs, or on the screen.

The corporeal merges with flora and fauna in Tschäpe‘s mixed media work Girl Watching a Bird on the Horizon (2015). A riotous play of sensual, cascading markings unfurl across the 3 x 4 meter canvas. Elegantly biomorphic looping lines evoke the female form rapturously multiplied ad infinitum, a swarm in flight, or exuberant jungle overgrowth. Despite the work‘s title, there is nary a physical horizon line in sight, suggesting that the horizon in question is a personal one: the limits of one‘s knowledge, experience, and desires.

In Tschäpe’s video Fernweh, the water line forms a liquid horizon between the stability of the shoreline and the otherworldliness of aquatic depths. Unlike Tschäpe’s earlier videos, which evince a strong focus on the body in states of transformation, Fernweh eschews depicting humanoid form in favor of vines, schools of fish, and other marine life. The restless aquatic imagery combined with the video‘s haunting ambient soundtrack suggest that another type of subjectivity propels the camera’s gaze. As writer Rafael Vogt Maia Rosa remarks, the post-experiential reality that the video depicts could also be interpreted as unfolding through “the frightened eyes of a invertebrate [who represents] the sacred weaknesses of many people.” The viewer’s heartbeat connects with this phantom life-form’s “uninterrupted pronunciation of gutural sounds, linked as mantras of a being in permanent mutation.”

This restless visions contained in the video find resonance in a related series of works on view in the exhibition. Fernweh I, a large-scale mixed media work on watercolor paper, depicts a phosphorescent tangle of sinewy electric blue lines that delicately dance atop a washy, green-grey ground. Deriving their titles from the German word for wanderlust, the landscapes in this watercolor series propose an ethereal jumble of memory and desire.

Janaina Tschäpe (b.1973, Munich) lives and works in New York City and Rio de Janeiro. Her work has been exhibited in prestigious international institutions, including Jeu de Paume, Paris; IMMA, Dublin; Rubin Museum, New York; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro. Her work is held in distinguished collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; and the Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Minas Gerais.

Tags: Janaïna Tschäpe