ContiniArtUK is pleased to announce the first London solo exhibition of emerging artist Rachel Libeskind. Since graduating from Harvard University in 2011, Libeskind has gone from strength to strength with solo shows in NYC, Rome and Milan and has participated in group shows and performance events across Europe and the States.
Born in Milan, raised in Berlin and educated in America, Libeskind has quickly become known for an interdisciplinary approach to her practice which incorporates everything from canvas and collage, to performance and installation. Drawing inspiration from themes both personal and public, Libeskind has created a body of work that intelligently marries historical and contemporary notions of identity, gender, re-appropriation and reproduction, creating a situation where social commentary and materiality go side by side.
For this exhibition Libeskind will present a recent series of tapestries titled The Circumcision of Christ. Through these works the artist uses her interest in Christian iconography to explore a highly important, yet often forgotten, story from early Christian narrative. Once the most sought after relic of the Christian era, the story of the circumcision evolved to become one of the imposition of a violent Jewish ritual performed on the holy body; in fact becoming so problematic that by 1900 the Vatican decreed that for anyone to even mention the event would face excommunication from the Church.
Using medieval and renaissance paintings of the circumcision as source material, Libeskind seeks to re-tell this powerful historic story in both a contemporary setting and through contemporary means. Utilising Walmart’s digital-loom printing service and hanging the tapestries with the resulting purchase of an eBay search for ’ancient Roman nails’, the Jewish born artist uses her ancestry to place herself in the advantageous position of being able to communicate these ideas freely. With the aid of 21st century mass consumer tools, Libeskind also seeks to challenge the viewer to look beyond the Christian iconography that we have become so familiar with and provide a platform that exposes the level of restraint that takes place in the major narratives of our civilization.
This exhibition exists at the cross section of religion and sexuality, of repression and context – the imagery aims to unearth a narrative about Christ’s flesh that reconsiders materiality, otherness and the power of anthropological repression.