Josephine Meckseper employs window displays, vitrines, installations, photographs, films and magazines to draw a direct correlation to the way consumer culture defines subjectivity and sublimates the key instruments of individual political agency.
Meckseper presents new works focusing on retail environments and modernist concepts. Industrial reflective slatwalls, a staple of bargain store design, mirror the car dealerships of 11th Avenue. Chromed wheels, car headlights and logos flash across the videos, sculptures and cellophane-wrapped paintings, like detritus after a crash. The traditional allure of the automobile is undercut with its demise, giving the entire exhibition a destabilizing undercurrent of fear. Meckseper utilizes the staples of American Gothic (fluorescents, broken mirrors, black birds) accompanied by the incessant booming of the acid-house soundtracks of her films to further the feeling of imminent danger that penetrates the space.
Strikingly, the work draws parallels with modernism. Meckseper invokes a number of the classic forms of color, line and shape of high modernism and abstraction. The strong rectilinear lines of the vitrines, all steel and glass, recall Mies Van Der Rohe. Like the auto industry, modernism too represented a twentieth-century idealism of essentialism and clarity in both art and life. In her invocation of its forms, Meckseper suggests that the hard-edged lines of essentialism in art are undergoing the same reconsideration as the American auto industry. The exhibition portrays a new reality where identity is no longer dialectic, and where past stalwarts of power and hegemony crumble and recombine in the fragmenting landscape of contemporary life.
Josephine Meckseper’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Migros Museum, Zürich (2009), Nottingham Contemporary (2008), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008) and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2007). Her work has consistently been featured in international biennials including the Whitney Biennial (2006 and 2010), and will be on view at the forthcoming Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates in March 2011.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with contributions by John Cassidy, James Frey, Stephen Roach and an interview with Francesco Bonami.