ANNA-MARIA BOGNER, DAAN DEN HOUTER AND
STUDIO - An Online Exhibition Series
DECEMBER 16, 2017 - JANUARY 27, 2018
(Los Angeles, CA) - DENK Gallery is pleased to present STUDIO. In this online exhibition series, the artist's studio becomes the virtual locus and venue of the presentation. A space that is often inaccessible to the public and culturally associated with the aura of authorship, the studio is an intimate and highly individual place of making, each as unique as the artist and work it supports. By presenting works by three different artists, staged within their studios through an online platform, the viewer is granted remote access to their workspaces, permanent or transient, worldwide.
STUDIO presents the works of Anna-Maria Bogner (Vienna, Austria), Daan den Houter (Santa Monica, CA - in residency at the 18th Street Art Center), and Shinpei Takeda (Düsseldorf, Germany), each working with different media and through varied approaches. Using the online platform as a means of accessing their real physical spaces, we are given insight into these artists' processes and relationships to their creative environments by proxy, offering a unique vantage point seldom possible in the formality of the gallery.
While web-based exhibitions tend to preclude real spatial relationships between work and location, STUDIO reveals three distinct working dynamics in space, focusing on the specificity of each artist's environment and their interpretation of it. Rather than divorcing the artwork from a material context entirely, the concept of the "virtual" is given an added conceptual dimension as we experience a curated selection from studio interiors in Austria, California, and Germany in simultaneity. The "exhibitions" reveal impressionistic interpretations of working artists's spaces, disclosing their studio-based processes from behind closed doors.
ANNA-MARIA BOGNER - STUDIO VIEW
"Our society and the environments we inhabit are defined by rational limits. For a person trying to adapt her environment to her needs, purposeful action is essential. Daily life offers confirmation that reason is our sharpest and most precious tool. It underlies many of our decisions. At the same time, it demarcates the boundaries of the world we inhabit: for if rationality is an intrinsic principle of our thoughts and actions, then it’s not something we can escape or supersede. Rationality forces us to establish borders between ourselves and external entities that are potentially limitless. We need these limits and thresholds, and we construct additional ones in perpetuity to take the measure of real and social spaces in all their perceived dimensions. Even when referring to the infinite, we almost always look to images in an attempt to make evident the unfathomable, to express the abstract graphically. But even these mental visualizations can do nothing more than point towards infinity. It’s therefore not a matter of crossing boundaries but instead of recognizing them and thereby sneaking a peek at the other side: the infinity they reveal counterintuitively through imposed constraints. Just as a color vision test doesn’t aim to teach the tested person what color vision is, but rather to help her recognize the possibilities and limits of her own faculties, these works play with the limits and possibilities of spatial perception. What spaces do I move in? What constitutes them? What spaces open and which close based on the way I situate myself in space? What decisions underlie my active perception of space? With a theoretically unlimited range of possible decisions, our actions too are always a reminder of boundaries and the entities that lie beyond them. The idea of space is just a conceptually comprehensible way of framing infinity."
Text by Anna-Maria Bogner
Translation by Anne Posten
DAAN DEN HOUTER - LA MONDAYS
Daan den Houter is a multidisciplinary artist who works and lives in Rotterdam, Netherlands. By bringing contradictory subjects together, den Houter creates pieces that stage inherent conceptual and material conflicts. These works strive to trigger our critical consideration of intrinsic value, forcing the viewer to question their opinions vis-à-vis accepted conditions of "worth." His work varies formally in its use of media, working through a wide range of concepts and styles to consider new perspectives in contemporary art, specifically the role that "value" plays as a guiding principle in its reception and consideration.
During his residency at 18th Street Arts Center in Los Angeles, den Houter made one 8-hour drawing every Monday. The '8-Hour Drawings' are part of an ongoing series. Each individual line of these works takes exactly 1 hour to draw, the sum of which amounts to 8, representing a standard Western European working day. While delineating the simple, single trajectory lines, den Houter’s pencil is deliberately, and tediously held between states of movement and non-movement. Creating this simple meditative gesture with intervals of minimal movement was almost like waiting, inert until the hours passed by in a state of zen-like trance. The drawings are literal representations of time's passing: a direct, material conversion of 8-hours, into 8 lines, representing 8-hours of den Houter's life.
The '8-Hour Drawing' is a spatial-temporal meditation on the passing of time and by proxy the physical occupation of studio space by the artist. While in residency five-thousand miles from his home in the Netherlands, in an adopted studio, den Houter explores a universal gesture of mark making through this exhaustive and straightforward exercise. This line, the fundamental circumscription needed for the definition of two-dimensional space in art and the construction of linguistic characters in language, is, in the absence of meaning or signification, a formal gesture that eludes "worth" or significance. Though non-descriptive and non-representational in the traditional sense, den Houter's eight-hour lines are a physical and spatial record of his time spent in LA.
Den Houter’s work is represented in collections worldwide, including the Dutch Embassy, Berlin, Museum Ferropolis, British Museum, Jeremy Cooper mail art-collection, Benny Sings art-collection, collection Jaap Sleper and Carla and Hugo Brown. His work has been shown at various museums and galleries including, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (NL), Kunsthal (NL), GEM the Hague (NL), Art Festival Watou (BE), Galerie Frank Taal (NL), Roberts & Tilton (USA), and Atkinson Art gallery (GB).
SHINPEI TAKEDA - CONFESSION
Shinpei Takeda's studio is located in a converted industrial structure, formerly a steel fabrication complex, now refurbished as a mixed-use building leased to fabricators, freelancers, and artists on the outskirts of Düsseldorf, Germany. Takeda shares the studio space with his partner, also an artist.
For STUDIO, Takeda created 'Confession', a curated installation of his own works within his studio space. Envisioned as a holistic exhibition, Takeda approached the installation as a spatial intervention, engaging its inherent possibilities and limitations. Occupying the entirety of the space with his work, Takeda experiments with the production of a completely immersive, and personally inflected, environment.
"The larger piece in the installation is part of my "Beta Decay" series and is an edition 1/8. I decided to hang it in the room, occupying the space as extensively as possible, and left the other end hanging on the floor, an experimental presentation I have not yet tried. I then covered the wall and the floor with another piece, "Connecting Traces of Memory," which was a joint project I completed with my partner. This piece was created from a series of writings in 11 different languages, fragments from transcribed interviews I had conducted with Japanese individuals who had witnessed the atomic bomb, now living in Latin America having fled Japan after the war. So, the exhibition shows the progression of my work, starting from actual interviews drawn from historical events, moving towards abstraction into a material (thread), then further abstracting these events from history into abstracted forms (sculpture).
I have created many pieces intended for display on the floor in the past, but they aren't often shown for technical reasons, given issues of safety for both the art itself and museum visitors. In the context of my own studio, however, since there would be no one physically entering into the installation and there was no need to think about giving “space” to a viewer, I was able to explore this. I wanted to experiment by covering both the wall and floor completely. Perhaps, from the white-cube standpoint, it is a bit TOO MUCH, but I intentionally wanted to present TOO MUCH, covering the space with a progression of my works… indeed, in a way, the traces of my own memory.
This, perhaps, is connected to the fact that a studio is a place of production and process, but also a place of memory and transition, at least for me. So this exhibition, in a way, helped me re-organize my memory and thinking about past works, connecting disparate moments by thread, literally and figuratively, to create a sense of continuity. I usually avoid explaining the evolution of my works since I believe this history intrinsically shapes them all, but this time, since it was not a public space in the conventional sense but rather a private and virtual space, I felt it was ok to do so. This is why I chose “Confession” as the title of my installation. There's nothing to hide, and all of my memories are revealed, laid bare, and used to fill the space in its entirety."
Text by Shinpei Takeda