MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is proud to present the first solo exhibition in the United States by Berlin-based artist Natalie Czech. Czech’s photography explores the visual possibilities of poetry, deepening the dialogue between the written word and visual art. I have nothing to say. Only to show. includes two series by the artist.
For A small bouquet by Frank O’Hara, Czech invited seven writers to interweave new texts with a picture poem by American poet Frank O’Hara. O’Hara’s calligram, simultaneously both poem and image, serves as the static visual structure around which each new text is arranged. Czech photographs each page, “retrieving” the disguised calligram by circling each of its words with oil pastel. Through this interplay of appearance and disappearance, Czech emphasizes the form of the calligram, as well as her own approach: one can never see the image and read the text at the same time.
For the series Hidden Poems, Czech discovered pre-existing poems in articles in magazines and illustrated books. By highlighting single words in these texts, she reveals poems by Jack Kerouac, E. E. Cummings, Robert Lax, Robert Creeley, and others. Confronted with Czech’s photograph of each page, the viewer scans the text, reading each word of the short, often pictorial poems in sequence. The poems do not serve as Czech’s “second reading” of the text; they rather exist as a hidden, coincidental message, in conversation with the remaining text and the adjacent illustrations.
Natalie Czech (born 1976) lives and works in Berlin. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at, among others, NKV Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden; Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf; and Kunsthaus Bregenz. Her work will be shown in Made in Germany Zwei at Sprengel Museum, Hannover, opening May 2012. She has received numerous awards and grants, including, in 2011, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach grant for contemporary German photography.
I have nothing to say. Only to show. is accompanied by a publication with essays by Andrew Berardini and Barry Schwabsky.
Curated by Clara Meister