CURA.

TEMPEST
Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ
Michele Abeles, Alvaro Barrington, Pavel Büchler, Monster Chetwynd, Sky Hopinka, Oliver Laric

Tanya Leighton, Berlin
18 January – 27 February, 2021

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Press release

Water. Its form only knowable by way of other forms: surfaces, receptacles, landscapes. But really a law unto itself, stateless and forever transforming. Some of its transformations are legible, mundane even: from droplet to puddle, from puddle to sheet ice. Some so vast or distant or gradual that you can only suspend your disbelief as their consequences engulf us: the glaciers melt, the seas swell, the rivers rage. For humankind, water — as a force — has been feared, mythologised, understood, mastered, denied, and now, finally, provoked. The exhibition ‘Tempest’ reflects on the physical and metaphysical transformations of water. To nourish, to flow, to force, to fall, bathe, consume, drown, and to reemerge, renewed, in an ongoing cycle. Each of the artists in this exhibition negotiate with such transformative potentials.

At the entrance to the exhibition Monster Chetwynd’s large painted latex sculpture of an octopus is splayed out on the gallery floor. The wallpaper which acts as backdrop to this intelligent sea creature is an enlarged xerox of Hokusai’s erotic scene The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, a popular nineteenth-century Shunga print depicting a woman entwined in embrace with a pair of octopi. As elsewhere in Chetwynd’s work, there is a desire for metamorphosis, to be other; in which the natural world becomes a channel for expression. Water here becomes an immersive sustaining force and mythic harbinger for imagination. Syncretic inter-species representations recur in Oliver Laric’s Untitled animated film, in which Laric re-draws found footage of humans morphing into animals from hundreds of animated films. In a continuous loop, these shape-shifting characters blend swiftly and hypnotically to the rhythm of a contemplative orchestral score. This work is shown paired with a new 3D digitally printed sculpture, Hermanubis.

In the second gallery space, the exhibition continues with Lore, a film by Sky Hopinka, bringing forth ideas of reincarnation and cyclical return. A stream of fragmented images are assembled on an overhead projector, as a voice tells us of a not too distant past; a lore uttered in the present as a promise for the future. “Stories of oceans in the afterlife, or the spirit world in our own… This endless mixing and reconfiguring, overlapping of images (like waves).” These motifs reappear in a series of photographs with hand-inscribed words suggestive of an introspective journey through memories and landscapes. Water is the purifying agent in the material transformations of Pavel Büchler’s Modern Paintings series. Found at flea markets and auctions, these works have their painted surfaces removed and their canvasses put through a washing machine cycle. Patches of paint, reversed back to front, are then re-assembled in the manner of ‘crazy paving’ or abstract mosaics.

Culture is accelerating. As ice melts into water its constituent atoms get faster. More collisions occur between them. The ancient Greeks observed that panta rhei: everything flows. The artists in ‘Tempest’ contemplate processes of change, growth and renewal in the everyday to the mythological, inviting collisions, as connections, between us and everything around us.

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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 
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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 
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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 
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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 
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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 
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Installation view, TEMPEST (Galleries Curate: RHE with Sadie Coles HQ), Berlin, 2021. Photo: Gunter Lepkowski, courtesy of the artists; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Tanya Leighton, Berlin 

Featured image: Oliver Laric, Untitled (film still), 2014-2015, 4kvideo, colour, sound, 5'55''. Courtesy of the artist and the galleries

OTHER TIPS
C L E A R I N G, Brussels
MACRO, Rome
Wschód, Warsaw
Liminal website, Online
Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan
Clima Gallery, Milan
The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin
CRAC Occitanie/Pyrénées-Méditerranée, Sète