JOSEPHINE MECKSEPER. Josephine Meckseper. 06.07.2007 – 13.10.2007

Press Release
Exhibition Views
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english / deutsch

Galerie Reinhard Hauff is pleased to announce the July 6th opening of the German born New York artist, Josephine Meckseper‘s third solo show. This exhibition coincides with Meckseper‘s first solo museum show at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart from July 13th through October 28th. Josephine Meckseper is an internationally recognized artist, known for her constructed vitrine scultptures which confront the commodification of culture, displaying demonstration photographs next to the latest fashions. She has an extensive exhibition record with her participation in noteworthy exhibitions and biennial contemporary art shows such as the Whitney Biennale in 2006 and the Moscow Biennale in 2007. The Kunstmuseum Stuttgart presents the first extensive mid-career survey of Josephine Meckseper‘s multimedia work on four floors of the museum with over 150 works from Meckseper‘s oeuvre consisting of large installations, window displays, sculptures, paintings, photographs and films. Galerie Reinhard Hauff organizes Meckseper‘s solo exhibition within the context of her stylistic and conceptual developments. In the photographs, collages, paintings and shelves, included in her first solo show at Galerie Reinhard Hauff in 2001, Meckseper scrutinized signs and symbols of German national identity and political affiliation. In the course of this introspection, Meckseper re-fashioned symbols like the German flag, the cover of „Spiegel“ magazine, the conservative (now governing) CDU and CSU party logos and Angela Merkel election campaign posters with glitz and glossy magazine iconography. Also in the 2001 exhibition, Mecksper‘s first shelves introduced a form of display for her revamped sign language. The shelves gave sculptural form to an intriguingly seductive and humorous convergence of fashion and politics which was unique in Mecksper‘s art.

With 9/11,
Meckseper‘s focus turned to the global outrage and protest against the Iraq war. Her first series of anti-war demonstration photos were done in Berlin in 2002. In the German demonstration photos on view, such as „Untitled (Berlin Demonstration Series 2)“, 2002 (5 C-prints), there is a lot of police—representing the important role of uniformed authority, law and order in Germany. The New York demonstration photos, which then followed in 2003, look like a dèjà vu of the hippie and anti-Vietnam War movements from the 60‘s and 70‘s—complete with a revival of their „make love not war“ protest signs. Together with „Untitled (March on Washington, September 24, 2005 Series 1)“, 2005 (5 C-prints), the Berlin and New York Demonstration Series draw attention to the look of protest culture and the fashion accessories associated with it. Taking the shelf display idea one step further, Meckseper‘s 2004 show at the Gallery introduced her first built-in vitrines such as „Selling Out“, 2004, and „Die Wüste des Realen“, 2004, installed in a large window at the entrance level of the Galerie Reinhard Hauff building which also houses the Stuttgart Verbraucherzentrale or Consumer Protection Agency. (Both works are now in the Kunstmuseum show). Such make believe shopping windows, highlighting discounted merchandise and political ideology paraphernalia, exploit the subliminal message modes of our consumer society. It was these large scale vitrines which gave Meckseper international recognition and her inclusion in the recent Biennials. For the Gallery‘s current show, the artist borrows again the Verbraucherzentrale window in the Gallery building where she will combine the distinct Verbraucherzentrale Deco esthetics with her own, adding photos, 70‘s record covers by Abba, Amanda Lear and Donovan to purchases from local shopping malls and drugstores. Since 2006, and in her current work, Meckseper has made an increasing number of freestanding sculptural works and large scale paintings, as well as installations. The enigmatic „Untitled (Subway Duster)“, 2007, a central work in this gallery show—consists of a collage on canvas, combined with a feather duster and plaster foot composition on a plexi pedestal, containing a crumbled newspaper page. A pair of life-size photographs in the show explore another angle of the lure of the vitrine aesthetic: In a shiny, lit shopping window, the Summer 2007 Collection of XXL size bras, corsets, and orthopedic merchandise offered by the Stuttgart retailer Sanitätshaus Hofmann („Sanitätshaus Hofmann No. 1 and No. 2“, 2007) is presented to it‘s best advantage and in the language of it‘s target audience (illustrated on the invitation card). With two diptych collage compositions and a „Ralph Lauren Series“, both from 2007, large fashion magazine advertisements and paint on canvas exemplify how collage and the extension of the collage principle continue to be the basis for Meckseper‘s multimedia work.

It seems only natural that
Josephine Meckseper takes the display vitrine concept even further to create THE department store walk-in art-consumer landscape and installation. Whereas the 2007 Kunstmuseum show takes the visitor to that destination, the show at Galerie Reinhard Hauff includes pieces that are representative of major steps along the way.