curated by Beniamino Foschini
September 26, 2020 – January 15, 2021
Baumstrasse 11, Munich
Contact: GiG Munich
The title of the exhibition Bildhauer*in der Sinne is a quotation from a letter by Pietro Aretino, Italian volcanic poet of the first half of the 16th century and a grim critic of Renaissance classicism. In this letter, Aretino criticizes the classicist pedantry of contemporary poets and urges them to be “sculptors of senses and not miniaturists of words.” That is, to look and build with eyes and hands, instead of resorting to practices in the second degree, especially fashionable ones. There is provocatively something very contemporary in this sentence: if we take for granted that the discourse on and of the arts has become extremely logocentric, hiding itself behind labels and terminologies of efficient and immediate use, then it becomes interesting to look at artistic paths that are probably irregular, but that tell us more consistently about the state of contemporary art.
The exhibition focuses on the two international artists Beth Collar (UK, 1984) and Emanuele Becheri (IT, 1973). Collar and Becheri’s work is composed of a constellation of mediums (both share attitudes towards drawing, sculpture, video and performance), but this exhibition focuses only on the specificity of their respective sculptural work – oriented towards figuration. Art scholar and curator Beniamino Foschini presents the artists together for the first time.
For Beth Collar, sculpture does not always respond to the image of a closed work, but also of a performative event’s marginalia. For this reason, the artist does not define herself as a sculptor, but as a performer, since sculpture is for her a double-track instrument of investigation: it’s about its tradition and her role as a female artist in this tradition. Collar therefore looks at a patriarchal history with skepticism: rejecting modernist and post-modernist narratives, despite the haunting of their ghosts, her figurative acts come to propose an intimately powerful discourse of medieval inspiration, where the reflection on the sculptural object takes on a ritualistic function of a symbolic contact.
For Emanuele Becheri, on the other hand, the discourse on sculpture brings attention back to the work detached as much as possible from identity intentions. Always interested in the loss of control of trace in artistic practice, Becheri sees sculpture as impression on material. For this reason, his subject-matters show the abandonment of the symbolic, while generating recognizable forms, evidently coming from tradition. For Becheri, however, this tradition is something already given, something that has to do with the body, the self-portrait and the formal awareness of the history of sculpture: the movements of light generated by the material give us a reflection on the limits of plastic freedom.
In Collar and Becheri’s works there is always a complex and skeptical relationship with great narratives and the history of 20th and 21st century sculpture, an investigation that goes beyond the near past and constantly tends to question through the forms of art the sense of their respective artistic practice. Collar and Becheri are artists from very different backgrounds and directions – and their respective relationship with the sculpture of the past is evident in this – but the dialogue between the works on display has the ambition to set in motion an aesthetic reflection on current experimentation with sculpture, as well as to bring back to the center a discourse on the figurative as a mediator of meaning to the viewer.
Beth Collar (1984) is a British artist based in Berlin, working predominantly in performance, sculpture and drawing. Her solo shows include ‘End Quote’ at Stadium, Berlin in 2020; ‘Daddy Issues’ at Dilston Grove commissioned by Matt’s Gallery and Southwark Park Galleries and ‘Retrogression’ a collaborative exhibition with Eoghan Ryan at 427 in Riga, Latvia both 2019; Waldo @Mathew Gallery, New York, Matt’s Gallery, London, Primary, Nottingham all in 2018; at Standpoint, London in 2017 and at Fig2 at the ICA in London 2015. Her recent group exhibitions have been at Regatta 2, Düsseldorf, Litost, Prague, 2020; A PLUS A, Venice, The Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Kunsthal ved siden af, Svendborg, Denmark, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, Bärenzwinger, Berlin, 2019; Cell Project Space, London, 2018; Kunstverein München, 2017; and KW, Berlin, 2016. Performances have taken place at Camden Arts Centre, London and Kunstverein Bamberg, 2020; Bob Shop, Berlin, 2019.
Emanuele Becheri (1973) is an Italian artist, whose practice incorporates sculpture, drawing and video. His most recent solo shows include ’Sculture e disegni’ at Museo del 900, Firenze, curated by Sergio Risaliti and Saretto Cincinelli in 2020, ‘Stati d’Animo’ at the FuoriCampo Gallery and Santa Maria della Scala, Siena in 2019. Group exhibitions include ‘Ragione e Sentimento’ at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Roma, curated by Chiara Stefani and Massimo Mininni in 2019, ‘Il disegno del disegno’ at the Museo del 900, Firenze, curated by Saretto Cincinelli, ‘Video from the Collection of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte e Moderna e Contemporanea’ at the EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, and ‘De scultura’ at Casa Masaccio Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, San Giovanni Valdarno, all in 2018.
Beniamino Foschini is a doctoral candidate at the Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität München, and a research associate at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München. He contributes to Doppiozero, Milano, and is co-founder of porcile.org.
This project is funded by the City of Munich, Department of Arts and Culture.
Image: Beth Collar, Thinking Here Of How The Words Formulate In My Head As I Am Just Thinking, 2018, Linden Holz and M.A.C. cosmetics, 20x17x10 cm; Photo Credit: GiG Munich, Munich, 2020
Photos: (c) GiG Munich, Munich, 2020