Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to present a series of photographs from a special project for W Magazine by Mika Rottenberg, on view from January 23 – February 28, with an opening reception on Friday, January 23, from 6 – 8 p.m.. The first U.S. exhibition of her large-scale photographic series is accompanied by the release of a smaller format print portfolio.
Best known for video installations that explore relationships between the body and production, Rottenberg built an elaborate multi-chambered set in her Harlem, NYC studio as a commission for W Magazine’s 2008 Art Issue. The resulting suite of seven photographs reimagines the fashion magazine format: subjects with extraordinary physiques, primarily female, occupy a claustrophobic spatial architecture which serves as part of their attire.
As in previous video works, the physical construction is tailored to the bodies of the actors who occupy them and the activities they perform, creating a series of tableaux within a warren of vertical and horizontal cubicles. Limbs, isolated and compartmentalized, become objects. In one shot, a woman’s extreme stature, too tall to fit in a single room, is the basis for a peculiar bisection. The bottom half of her body bends and passes through an aperture while her torso enters the composition impossibly from the opposite side of an upper chamber. The final photograph fuses material inventiveness, the camera’s fiction, and a sense of the performers’ corporeality.
The framing of these characters complicates the camera’s voyeuristic gaze. In this visually seductive terrain, punctuated by candy colors and dark, mysterious spaces, body and environment engage in a radical redefinition of subject.
Rottenberg has upcoming solo exhibitions at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2009); de Appel, Amsterdam (2009), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2010) and will be included in a group exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2009). She has exhibited widely nationally and internationally; recent exhibitions include Number Two: Fragile, The Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as well as solo exhibitions at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in (2006 and 2008). Rottenberg received her M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2004. She lives and works in New York City.