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Hadassah Emmerich: La Charmeuse de Serpents

Hendershot Gallery
195 Chrystie Street, 212.239.1210
East Village / Lower East Side
March 3 - April 17, 2010
Reception: Wednesday, March 3, 6 - 8 PM
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Hendershot Gallery is pleased to present La Charmeuse de Serpents, the first New York solo exhibition by Dutch artist Hadassah Emmerich.

The exhibition title, from the homonymous 1907 Henri Rousseau painting, reflects the inspiration for Emmerich’s latest series of work on paper. Installed in the manner of a classical St. Petersburg hanging, this exhibition is comprised of a selection of large-scale paintings and a salon of smaller plates.

This mise-en-scene references the salon as the urban exhibition platform installed by cultural elites in the early 17th century to create a conduit for intellectual exchange and the debate of Western culture during the ‘Enlightenment.’

Emmerich incorporates the language of late 19th century painters, like Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau, who fantasized and studied Asia. Similarly to the humanists, they envisioned it as the origin of the world, as they stood on the brink of modernism. Emmerich’s dual insistence on female and non-Western identity is not surprising given her very own Indonesian and Dutch roots. To this end, the artist strives to reveal the multitude of cultural signifiers she encounters having been raised in the West with her own heritage.

Envisioning herself as a veritable snake charmer, Emmerich addresses the complex representation of the female image in relation to modern art and the exotic. Serpentine lianas are intertwined with symbolically charged elements, arabesques, and visions of mythological fauna. This layering of icons, on a sublime level, is revealed in the artist’s sensitive application of paint, ink, and charcoal and the unique use of linocut print.

Her interest in illuminated manuscripts can be found in works such as “The Manuscript.” With inspiration from “Paul Gauguin: An Erotic Life,” by Nancy Mowll Mathews, Emmerich juxtaposes graphic floral representations with a passage from his biography, creating a mystical atmosphere.

Bringing form and subject matter together in this collage–like format, this installation of works create an intriguing world of their own in which the viewer is lured in to rest and contemplate – not only by viewing, but by emotionally experiencing the work.

Hadassah Emmerich, born 1974, holds a BFA from the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, The Netherlands and a MFA from the Goldsmith College, Great Britain. She currently lives and works in Berlin. The artist has presented her work in numerous critically acclaimed solo and themed group exhibitions.

Her latest solo exhibitions include “With Love from Batik Babe,” Gemeente Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands, 2005; “Casino Exotique,” Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Germany, 2008; “Salon,” Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2008; “Le Cercle Infernal,” Galerie Akinci, The Netherlands, 2009; and “Jean Gid Lee presents…,” Münzsalon, Berlin, Germany, 2009.

Emmerich’s work has been included in numerous critically acclaimed international group exhibitions at MoCA, Miami, United States; Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht, The Netherlands; Kunstverein Bielefeld, Germany, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem, The Netherlands; Elisabeth Kaufmann Galerie, Zürich, Switzerland; and Institut Néerlandais, Paris, France.

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