MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present Natural Flavor, the last exhibition in 2015, featuring works by nine international artists that deal with urbanization, the influence of Post-Fordism, and the altered notion of leisure and recreation. The exhibition aims to explore contemporary society’s alienation from nature and put a new focus on our often-repressed longing for decelerated moments. At its core, Natural Flavor asks how cities, infrastructures, and new technologies shape our daily living and working conditions.
The paradoxical title Natural Flavor refers to a current trend in which the natural has become a projection for imitations and technological innovations. A second, fake nature has emerged, newly created by cultural modifications and processes of commodification. This phenomenon redefines our perception of nature by challenging the nature-culture division that has characterized scientific and philosophical discourses since the modern era. Factors such as the current centralization in cities, increasing digitization, and the demands of the neoliberal market play as important a role in this development as economic restructuring in rural areas.
The artists participating in the exhibition are based in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Vienna. Their work engages critically with concepts of urbanization and thereby reflects on the changing relationship between humanity and nature. Maja Cule’s video Facing the Same Direction (2014) plays in New York and deals with the oppressiveness of the so-called “do what you love” culture. Olivia Erlanger & Jessi Reaves present City Animals (2015), a collaborative work that combines the techniques of craft making, design, and artistic practice in a sculptural ensemble. For her installation, Kate Newby discreetly integrates red rope, windchimes made of clay, and glass rocks in given architectural settings. Simon Dybbroe Møller’s photograph The Embrace (2015) portrays a plumber and a cook hugging each other, thus forcing their professional performance to break down in a moment full of emotions. In his small-scale silk painting Europa (2015), Rasmus Høj Mygind examines the current role of artists and asks what significance creativity and ingenuity can have for our society. In addition to a process painting, Kayode Ojo presents a sculptural wall piece, which referred to the heritage of modernist urban architecture. From her series of resin-poured soup bowls, Hayley Aviva Silverman shows Cleanliness (2015), interweaving the symbolism of food with the icon of the American hobo. The video installation Forest for the Trees (2015) by Kerry Tribe is a metaphorical text piece about experiencing nature from a distance. The text loops endlessly on a screen between houseplants and professional grip gear. The range of exhibited works reflects on the conditions that confront people living in urban contexts and asks how consumption, work, and recreation determine our ways of living together.
Maja Cule (born in 1984, Rijeka) lives in New York. In her video works, she explores social relations and creates scenarios from which the image is formed, encompassing both performance and image production. She has had solo exhibitions at Arcadia Missa, London; Stadium Gallery, New York (together with Dora Budor); and CEO Gallery, Malmö. Cule participated in group exhibitions at Andreas Huber Gallery, Vienna; Hessel Museum of Art, New York; and Palazzo Peckham at the 55th Venice Biennale.
Olivia Erlanger (born in 1990, New York) lives in New York. She studied sculpture and literature at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, and Parsons School of Design, New York. Erlanger’s works consider the origins and implications of living in a world perceived to be in a constant state of turmoil. In her multi-part sculptures, she produces structures that address the failure of coping mechanisms, conventions, and dreams. Erlanger has had solo exhibitions at Balice Hertling, New York; Seventeen, London; and Fluxia, Milan. She participated in group exhibitions at Pilar Corrias, London; Center for Style, New York; and Dark Arts International, Mexico City, among others. Erlanger is co-director at Grand Century, New York.
Simon Dybbroe Møller (born in 1976, Aarhus) lives in Vienna. He studied fine art at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and, in 2005, graduated from Städelschule, Frankfurt/Main. Møller works in a wide range of media, including photography, sculpture, painting, and video. His work has been subject to recent solo exhibitions at 21er Haus, Vienna; Fondazione Giuliani, Rome; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; Kunstverein Hannover; UMMA, Ann Arbor; and West London Projects. He also participated in international group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris; De Hallen Haarlem; National Museum of Art, Oslo; MOCA Cleveland; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; and Barbican Centre, London, among others.
Rasmus Høj Mygind (born in 1982, Ebeltoft) lives in Copenhagen and is currently based in New York. He received his MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen in 2010. In 2015, he was artist-in-residence at ISCP, Brooklyn. Mygind works in various media, always oscillating between high and low culture, thinking sculpture, installation, and painting anew. His recent solo exhibitions include OTHER Projects, Berlin; Ringsted Galleriet; and Henningsen Gallery, Copenhagen. His work was presented in group exhibitions at Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Galerie West, Den Haag; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and Malmö Konsthall. He is co-director of the artist-run space TOVES, Copenhagen.
Kate Newby (born in 1979, Auckland) lives in New York. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland. Newby’s installations are intimate engagements with the particularities of spaces and often include handcrafted pieces as well as found objects. She has had solo presentations at Laurel Gitlen, New York; Lulu, Mexico City; La Loge, Brussels; and Fogo Island Gallery, Newfoundland. She participated in group exhibitions at Marianne Boesky, New York; GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen; Arnolfini, Bristol; and Witte de With, Rotterdam, among others.
Kayode Ojo (born in 1990, Cookeville, TN) lives in New York. He studied photography and graduated from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 2012. Ojo works in media ranging from painting to sculptural installations, making reference to seductive moments in our consumerist culture and thereby questioning the notions of social reputation and current status symbols. Ojo has had exhibitions at 55 Gansevoort, FOUR A.M., New York; and Institut für Alles Mögliche, Berlin.
Jessi Reaves (born in 1986, Oregon) lives in New York. Reaves holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her practice operates as both sculpture and furniture, fine art and design. Her works attempt to disrupt the dystopian connotations of rational, industrial purity that haunt the histories of design and sculpture, introducing, rather, notions of fantasy, decomposition, and excess. Her sculptural work has been exhibited at Swiss Institute, Old Room Gallery, and M/L Art Space, New York. She is represented by Bridget Donahue, New York.
Hayley Aviva Silverman (born in 1986, New York) lives in New York. She received her BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculptural Studies from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. In her sculptures, photographs, and theatrical performances, Silverman appropriates Americana, fables, and mainstream narratives as a way to think through the anarchic and mythological. Her work, which has been compared to a procedure of cathexis—investing objects with pathos and spirit—, has been presented in international survey exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; Sculpture Center, New York; The Art Foundation, Athens; and the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.
Kerry Tribe (born in 1973, Boston) lives in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2002 and was a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow. Her time-based works explore memory and representation through film, video, performance, and installation. Tribe has had solo exhibitions at 356 Mission, Los Angeles; Heidelberger Kunstverein; The Power Plant, Toronto; and Camden Arts Centre, London. Her work has been included in international exhibitions at Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Imperial War Museum North, Manchester; MoMA, New York; and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna.
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