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Johannes Wohnseifer, Another Year

Casey Kaplan Gallery
525 West 21st Street, 212-645-7335
January 6 - February 5, 2011
Reception: Thursday, January 6, 6 - 8 PM
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Casey Kaplan is pleased to present Johannes Wohnseifer’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. “Another Year” illustrates a new body of work focused on the themes of: light, time, dreams, and mortality. Through utilizing information and objects in the artist’s own life, Wohnseifer reinterprets texts and images from our daily surroundings by communicating their effects with our conscious and subconscious minds.

In “Taking the Tower,” Wohnseifer exhibits a set of found, vintage, tourist-style photographs of the Eiffel Tower taken by German Army officers during the occupation of Paris in World War II. The photographs present discreet moments from the past, picturing a monument standing still through time.

Additionally, Wohnseifer has created “Stacked Studio Lights,” a towering metal rack shelved with Siemens fluorescent light bulbs. The lights, originally produced in the 1960’s in Germany, were removed from the artist’s Cologne studio, and have been reconfigured to now operate in conjunction with his shifting, daily states of consciousness. The light’s steady illumination mimics the Wohnseifer’s own REM and NREM cycles during sleep. As our day progresses here in the gallery, the light’s brightness increases with the artist’s sleep cycle, six hours ahead in time in Germany. When Wohnseifer is in his deepest sleep, the lights in the gallery will shine at their brightest. This sculpture is paired with “Light Sleeper,” a new series of abstract paintings on aluminum panels that evoke Wohnseifer’s interpretations of drifting into sleep. They picture pixilated blocks of grey, red, and black colors with patches of white bursts. Their patterns resemble a matrix of Ben-Day dots, and vary in flatness and depth. The artist’s focus on sleep and his own dream cycles are further intensified by a group of fluid black carbon paintings, each depicting unique laser gravures of sinuous hair strands.

Lastly, Wohnseifer has created a new series of text paintings based on a facsimile letter found ten years ago written by a famous German author (who remains anonymous), proposing a future book project. This fax remains the sole evidence of the unrealized novel, and Wohnseifer deconstructs its text by cutting up individual words into fragments, then re-applying them in grid-like patterns appropriated from a checkered exercise book on to the surface of the paintings. These collections of fragments, much like dreams, are interpreted and reinterpreted over time.

Johannes Wohnseifer (b. 1967) lives and works in Cologne, Germany. He will have a solo exhibition at the Simultanhalle, Cologne, in 2011. Recent past solo exhibitions include: The Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2007 and Sammlung Haubrok, Berlin, Germany in 2008. Wohnseifer is currently included in the exhibition, “Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection,” organized by Christian Rattemeyer and Cornelia H. Butler, that first opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2009, is now on view at Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), Valencia, Spain, and travels to Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin in March 2011.
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