DISENTANGLE showing Vito Acconci, Nayland Blake & AA Bronson, Damien Cadio, Andreas Chwatal, Chris Doyle, Slawomir Elsner, Sekyung Lee, Cornelius Völker, Stefan Wissel
Andreas Grimm New York is pleased to announce Disentangle, an exhibition of works that explore hair as a departure point for examining desires and fears associated with beauty, gender, race, and mortality.
In Vito Acconci’s video documentation of the performance Hair/Mouth, the artist assumes the task of consuming a woman’s hair. Seated behind her, he slowly eats her hair until he chokes. In this obligatory experiment, Acconci reexamines the consumption of the image of the women in art and examines society’s pressures ondesire, sexuality and gender.
Nayland Blake and AA Bronson’s video, Coat, combines the act of shaving normally associated with traditional ideas of male control, and sexuality, exposing the limitations of these roles with a romantic narrative of two men preparing each other with what looks like chocolate and whipped cream. These intimate acts deconstruct social taboos of interracial and homosexual relationships.
In Damien Cadio’s small enigmatic painting, an image of women tending a body-sized quantity of hair presents itself as a mysterious ritualistic moment. Obscuring their faces their hair becomes almost sculptural. His impressionistic handling, small scale and muted film noir palette create a familiar but unsolved narrative.
Andreas Chwatal’s stylish drawings of men with extreme quantities of body hair highlight the beautiful and strange. In these fantasy interpretations of friends and relatives, the artist sees nature unleashed as well as in control. Through this duality, the artists explore a spectrum of emotions from bodily shame to exhibitionism.
Chris Doyle large-scale watercolor from Vault, his permanent installation at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, MO. riffs on the traditional courthouse portraits of judges. In the artist’s installation, he expands the subject of the work to include all the courthouse employees from security guards to secretaries, from judges to superintendents. In this painting, Doyle captures an image of young woman with very long hair fanning out from her body. Floating on the vaulted ceiling of the courthouse, she appears buoyant and monumental. An homage to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling, and the Italian mannerist painter Pontormo, Doyle elevates the courthouse employees’ stature by including them all equally and larger than life on the ceiling. Emphasizing the woman’s hair resists the formal, masculine associations of government readdressing the relationships of gender and power.
Slawomir Elsner’s retro Pop image of a young woman spraying her hair with hairspray, recalls an idealism of 50s commercial advertising. Taken from a vintage image from this period, Elsner’s painting reawakens and preserves this optimistic period in history.
In Sekyung Lee’s sculptures the artist draws 18th century European portraits and subjects of love with human hair. At first, the viewer assumes these images must be drawn or printed on bathroom tiles but then the unraveled, hanging “lines” draw the viewer in for closer inspection. Realizing that the drawings are entirely composed of hair, the impressive craft of the work and pleasant imagery attracts the eye but being so close to dead hair and the clinical surface of the tile is unappealing.
Cornelius Völker’s contrasting portraits reduce hair to broad painted brushstrokes or thin lines. Faces obscured, these portraits use hair to quickly define the stereotype of his sitter. The woman with a classic up do, conveys effortless beauty while the male sitter’s countable combed number of hairs convey a humorous failure. Völker’s reduction of painted elements suggests society’s reduction of mortality as a quick quip.
Stefan Wissel’s kinetic sculpture indirectly examines the body. Combining a small, circular mirror and a long strand of hair, the work is activated by the viewer’s reflection as well as absence of reflection when the viewer steps away. The interactive performative quality of the work also toys with notions of figuration and abstraction. The snaking motion of the strand of hair hanging from the circle leads the viewer to read the sculpture as a sperm further inciting a dialog about the body, art and science.