Current Exhibition | Antenna Space

Cul-De-Sac

Duration: 2017.07.22 - 2017.09.08
Hours: 11:00 AM - 06:30 PM
Artists:  Eliza DOUGLAS, Rosa AIELLO, Xinyi CHENG, GAO Ludi, KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch & Debo Eilers), Louisa GAGLIARDI, YU Honglei
Address: 202, 50 Moganshan Rd, Building 17, Shanghai, China
“It’s not really the country and it’s not the town. It never suited us”
——E.M Forster, Howard’s End


Antenna Space is pleased to present Cul-De-Sac, a group exhibition on view from 22 July through 8 September, 2017.

They say summers are hottest in the city, but it’s in its outermost reaches where they simmer most strangely. Here, in this sprawling in-between, the heat lingers and seeps into endless expanses of dull concrete, into quaint communities of duplicate houses that sift and divide the landscape into tidy, manicured rows. Lanes, roads and cul-de-sacs christened after late-blooming flowers and household spices are punctuated by neat lawns, hard-working sprinklers, colorful swing sets and other such props that only find their meaning in domestic micro-dramas. At night, the spell dissipates but one can still feel it radiating from the empty parking lots of school yards, strip malls and 7-Eleven’s; it lends a hypnotic quality to the sounds of rolling skateboards and the humming of streetlamps…across the way someone’s playing weird remixes of 1979 – which, come to think of it, is the best Smashing Pumpkins song not because it’s their most poignant, but because it unearths this strange fantasy of suburban listlessness and teenage angst that one can’t help but daydream of even as we float further away from its sticky-sweet grip.

The artists included in the exhibition share a common interest in aspects of this quotidian landscape. They repurpose its visual codes and material remnants, explore its flattened spatial relations while memorializing its anxious inhabitants. Indirectly, they also tease out its founding myths and origins, while tracing the ways in which the now universal ‘suburban’ idiom mutates and evolves as it is transplanted onto fresh terrains and territories. Cross-pollinated by unexpected histories and the local flora, it takes root and blooms into forms both strange and new.


About the artist:

Rosa Aiello’s (b. 1987) practice includes live-action video, 3-D animation, sculpture and installation as well as critical and fictional writings.  Through these various avenues she explores the evolving relationship between image, body and affect, in particular as it pertains to historically situated subjects. Eschewing irony, she embraces a poetics grounded in the perceptual nuances and physical negotiations that flesh out everyday experiences and provide a counterpoint to the mediated and technological. A recent graduate of Frankfurt am Aim’s Städelschule, her work is included in various public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Jerome de Noirmont Collection and the Centre Pompidou.  

Louisa Glagliardi (b. 1989) draws freely from the codes of painting as well as contemporary graphic design and advertising in order to rethink questions of figure and ground, flatness and depth. Created initially as fluid digital images, her works are printed on vinyl and then intervened upon with a gel medium that lends a texture that could be read as ghostly impressions of painterly marks. However, rather than appealing to the hand, this texture only underscores the surface as a complex field of visual play –a theme brought forth in this suite of works through the reoccurring motif of veils and unveiling.  Dancing between dimensionality and translucence, her landscapes and characters bridge the divide between the enigmatic and the banal. 

Eliza Douglas (b. 1984) is an artist, musician and performer as well as a recent graduate of Frankfurt am Aim’s Städelschule.  The works included in the exhibition are emblematic of an ongoing series that features the artist’s hands. Rendered in photorealistic detail, these are set against a stark white background and differentiated by fragments of clothing that dissolve into looser brushstrokes.  Through this, Douglas exploits both the representational and abstract modes of painting, while mining the visual cues of various subcultures - from fashion to music – that serve as the markers of ‘individuality.’ This form of meta-painting undermines unilateral notions of authorship, while opening up new possibilities for the medium in a post-digital context. Douglas recently opened her first museum solo, My Gleaming Soul, at Museum Folkwang and was a featured performer in Anne Imhof’s installation at the German Pavilion in Venice Biennale. 

KAYA consists of painter Kerstin Brätsch (b. 1979) and sculptor Debo Eilers (b. 1974) who produce work collaboratively. The name is taken from the project’s muse and collaborator Kaya Serene, the daughter of a friend, who was thirteen when the three began working together in 2010. KAYA’s work exists at the intersection of painting, sculpture, and performance. The physical components often have potential for future activation, for example the “body-bag” forms, which evoke objects used in pageantry or ritual. This is evident in recent projects including ‘Klub Kaya’ in Munich as well as the large-scale installation at the Whitney Biennial that also includes lockers taken from the shared bathroom at Brätsch and Eilers’s adjacent studios that have been refashioned into a ceremonial stage. The artists think of KAYA as a third consciousness, something encompassing and yet also beyond their individual practices. 

Xinyi Cheng’s (b. 1989) intimate paintings underscore interpersonal relations. Favoring a fleshy palette, she captures domestic exchanges, everyday actions and intimate moments that are both ephemeral and deeply affecting. These linger as after images memorialized in loose figures and objects that are made urgent by voluptuous brushwork.  Masculinity is a subject she often turns to. She subverts its codes by highlighting the vulnerability and emotive possibilities of the male body which appears in poses than range from the poetic to awkward and comical. 

Gao Ludi’s(b. 1990) practice majorly focuses on paintings, which are filled with unnamable structures, shapes, and colours, and that a simple label cannot describe the works; the formal aspect of a surface comes from an irregular “silhouette” that is itself a slice of reality and “forcefully” placed behind a screen or a filter. Some images in Gao’s paintings are sourced from social networks, anonymous, unreasonable, and unidentifiable. However, we could feel the “historical” elements: “abstract”, “expressive”, or “pop”, that could not be easily expelled. The geometric forms that either blown up or shrunken; The intensified yet restrained lines and the rich, saturated colours-all these tell of associations with certain historical passages. (quoted from Yang Beicheng; The Blindness of Ommateum)

Yu Honglei’s (b. 1984) practice spans digital animation, video, sculpture and installation. He takes inspiration from the unique vernacular of online image databases as well as the visual cultures of the Chinese cityscape. He draws freely from these sources creating palimpsest monumental objects that often integrate disparate or conflicting references and materials; these are accompanied by videos that offer a steady flow of imagery. Through these gestures, he explores the plasticity of forms of thought, in particular as they come into being through sensible, perceiving entities. His is a post-digital epistemology rooted in our contemporary syntax and that fluctuates as wildly and unpredictably as an unfixed currency.