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Swetlana Heger, Lipstick Economy

Thierry Goldberg Projects
5 Rivington Street, 212-967-2260
East Village / Lower East Side
April 3 - May 3, 2009
Reception: Friday, April 3, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Thierry Goldberg Projects is pleased to present Swetlana Heger’s latest performance based exhibition, Lipstick Economy. On the heels, pumps, and sensible flats of the spiraling economy, Swetlana Heger sets the gallery as stage for a multi-layered dialogue on the economy, gender, and consumerism—all, she finds, marked by lipstick traces. As an affordable indulgence for morale-sake, lipstick sales have been noted to increase in trying economic times, indicating a little goes a long way attitude to altering one’s look. Making a reference to “the lipstick index,” a loose theory in consumer confidence coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder Companies, Heger explores the aesthetics (cosmetic and experiential) of art and self.

Besotted and blotted with lipstick kisses, Heger’s works on paper address the signature of the artist as well as a historical devotion to painting. On the surface, the kiss is Heger’s unique mark, singularly hers. On her portrait photographs, the kiss is a signature of a different kind—a stamp, which she tirelessly performs in repetition. Either way, Heger makes no difference between the authenticity of the mark in painting or photography because, as she says, “In the very end every artwork is a ‘brand,’ signed by an artist.” It is this perspective which has driven her past performance based works using the body as a site of display.

Out of homage and adoration, Swetlana Heger’s kiss to art is addressed to all-something she likens to the puckering pilgrims who seek out Oscar Wilde’s grave or Rindy Sam’s renegade kiss on a white Cy Twombly painting in 2007. Here, the kiss is nothing but an optimist perhaps naïve charge-a belief in positive change amidst immanent collapse. Her use of lipstick as a commercial object weighted with a thrifty transformative power is not far from her exploration of a “perfect world” in her 2007 Animal Farm in which statues of animals were recast from a monumental bronze of Stalin. The amnesia Heger unearths from naivety exposes a reassurance and self-indulgence both celebrated and mocked by her work.

Swetlana Heger (b. 1968, Brno, Czech Republic) lives and works in Berlin. Her work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Konsthall Kalmar, Sweden; Musée des Beaux Arts, Dole, France; and Kunstverein zu Assenheim, Niddatal Assenheim, Germany. Recent solo gallery exhibition include Smoke ( Libertè Toujours ), at EFFEARTE, Milan; Smoke (Torches of Freedom), at COMA, Berlin; and Random Quotes (About Everything) at galerie frank elbaz, Paris, France. Recent group exhibitions featuring Heger’s work include Agency: Artists Subvert Advertising, at The McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown, OH; What We Bought, at Camera Austria – Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria; and Conditions of Display, at The Moore Space, Miami, FL.
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