The second year of exhibitions at Ludlow 38, the Goethe-Institut’s Lower East Side gallery for contemporary art, is programmed by the European Kunsthalle in Cologne, Germany, through its program team (Rike Frank, Anders Kreuger and Astrid Wege) in collaboration with Tobi Maier from Ludlow 38.
The new series begins with a joint presentation of two accomplished and versatile European artists who both emerged in the late 1960s and have exhibited extensively in Europe, not least at documenta 12 in 2007. This follows the programming principle of the European Kunsthalle, which is to develop the format and concept of the contemporary art institution by focusing on artistic practice, presenting established as well as emergent artists in exhibitions, site-specific projects and discursive events. The exhibition juxtaposes different images: some decidedly material, others ethereal and evocative; some contextualized by a title, others deliberately uncaptioned. Together they form a visual meditation on the political.
Lili Dujourie (born 1941, Belgium) is known for her video works and photographic series from the 1970s and early 80s, but also for her works on paper from the same period and her three-dimensional works from later decades. These are often executed in techniques and materials that resonate with many centuries of tradition, such as draped velvet, marble intarsia, lead, or ceramics. Dujourie is continuously concerned with contemporary reinterpretations of themes, forms and gestures from art history, which is one reason why her many-faceted but dense and precisely articulated oeuvre is so visually and intellectually rewarding.
At Ludlow 38, Dujourie shows American Imperialism, a variable installation comprising sheets of steel and a painted wall that was conceived in 1971–72 and has been realized in different permutations and dimensions throughout the years. She also shows three collages from the series Roman from 1978, based on images torn out of glossy magazines.
Ion Grigorescu (born 1945, Romania) has addressed topics ranging from political commentary and reflections on history to his own body, spirituality and religion. Grigorescu has experimented with genres, formats and techniques, producing comic strips or performances or murals. Lately he has gained new recognition for his films from the 1970s, shot on Super8, for his texts and for his photographic projects realized during the final decades of Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule. Grigorescu’s work may appear informal or baroque, but he is a particularly well-reflected artist who exercises the utmost economy of expression.
Three of his films are featured in the exhibition. In My Beloved Bucharest from 1977 centers on the construction of the city’s new subway. Boxing from the same year could be defined as a cinematic performance, whereas The Truth about the Capitalist World from 1978 documents a rare foreign trip. Three photographs entitled Art and History illustrate a politically charged debate about an art exhibition with the same title in 1974. There is also a small preparatory drawing from 1980 for an official portrait of Ceausescu, which was refused by the commissioners for being too true to life.
Saturday August 29, 7pm: Ion Grigorescu will be in conversation with the exhibition’s curator Anders Kreuger at the Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building, 5 East 3rd Street, New York, NY 10003
This exhibition is supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York