“A recipe can serve to reconstruct a feeling of identity in a place where one is not at home. It allows for translation, for an ideal transportation.” – Anna-Sophie Berger
MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Anna-Sophie Berger’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States. Berger belongs to a generation of young artists who reflect on digitization and question its influence on our society. In the exhibition Growing Horns, Berger’s photographs and installations enter a close dialog and create a space for empathy and sensuality. A new performance, devised together with the artist Dena Yago, will premiere on May 14, 8pm, at the exhibition space.
In Growing Horns, Berger focuses on manual processes of material production and their significance for the present time. Her works address the resistance of objects which evade the regulation of commercial use and the logic of the perceiving subject. In this sense, there is a mutability to these works that reveal processes of transformation and transition.
In the exhibition, the goat plays a major role as livestock, myth, and symbol. The three-part photo series Growing Horns (2015) closely documents two cashmere goats that Berger’s parents keep as pets in their home on the countryside. The photographs were taken while the animals were carefully combed for cashmere wool. Losing Winter / Missing Snow (2015) displays two white coats knotted at the sleeves. While their pattern is identical, their materiality turns them into objects with different meanings and functions. A Promised Cure (2015), a fatty ointment that is based on a pharmaceutical formula, extends the focus of the exhibition and questions the promise of medicinal therapies and their effects. All of these works define mimesis as a representation of nature and at the same time reveal how digital technologies filter our perceptions today. Moreover, they draw attention to processes of forgetting and re-appropriation and how this currently influences, determines, and shapes the imitations of traditions.
Moments of sensuality and physical experience play a central role in Berger’s performances. They are usually based on simple gestures that refer to aspects of humanity, coexistence, and the protection of ethical values. For the exhibition, Berger invited the Los Angeles-based artist Dena Yago (born in 1988) to realize a collaborative performance. In a Future April (2015) shifts the boundaries of authorship and activates elements of the exhibition. In this sense, the performance presents a rupture in the idea of the exhibition as a static format and enables moments of change within this setting.
Anna-Sophie Berger (born in 1989) studied fashion design and trans-disciplinary art at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her approach to the visual arts is characterized by a particular analytical depth and remarkable freedom from genre constraints. In a subtle manner, her textile works, photographs, installations, and performances question the sensuality of materials and disclose invisible processes of commercial production. Since 2012, Berger’s work has been presented in international galleries and institutions. 2014 alone, she had exhibitions at the 21er Haus, Vienna; JTT, New York; Utopian Slumps, Melbourne; Mathew Gallery, Berlin; Futura, Prague; Rod Barton, London; and Off Vendome, Düsseldorf. Her performances and exhibitions have been reviewed in art magazines such as Artforum, frieze d/e, KubaParis, and Mousse Magazine. Berger currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
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The exhibition is made possible with generous support of the Bundeskanzleramt Österreich.