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5 Nov 2016 to 21 Jan 2017

Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Maag Areal, Zahnradstrasse 21
LŲwenbršu-Areal, Limmatstr. 270
T: +41 43 444 70 50
F: +41 43 444 70 60

Nov 05, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017

Artists in this exhibition: Douglas Gordon, Sue Williams, Adam Pendleton

Nov 05, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017

Maag Area


Galerie Eva Presenhuber is delighted to announce the first exhibition featuring the new film installation „I Had Nowhere To Go“ by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon.

„I Had Nowhere To Go“ by the filmmaker and video artist Douglas Gordon is based on Jonas Mekas's diary.

It's been over 70 years since Jonas Mekas left his village in Lithuania to escape Nazi persecution. He was 22 years old. Today he is one of the last surviving members of a generation displaced. He is also one of the greatest documenters of the human experience.

„I Had Nowhere To Go“ is his story of exile; brought on by the horrors of the twentieth century, propelled by the need to create rather than destroy, to move on, to make sense... or not, where bewilderment is more honest.

For his new film project and the installative video work Douglas Gordon has recorded Jonas Mekas reading from „I Had Nowhere To Go“ and from here he assembled the most important steps in his life and the most emotional situations. Douglas Gordon has composed a few pictures among the black on the screen and in the room.

The presence of the authentic voice of the man himself injects a deeply personal tone and provokes powerful responses. But the complexities and time involved in capturing this footage should not be underestimated.

It might be the redemptive power of art, or maybe just the human condition, but in a world where displacement is a fact of life, the Jonas Mekas story has something to say to everyone.

Douglas Gordon, born in 1966 in Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the most influential contemporary video artists. Performances, sculptural installations and conceptual texts also number among his modes of expression. With his analyses and reconstructions of images drawn from collective memory and everyday culture, he lays bare fundamental patterns of perception. His oeuvre is dominated by polarities such as life and death, good and evil, guilt and innocence, as well as temptation and fear. Gordon won the Turner Prize in 1996 among many other art prizes and the following year he participated in the Venice Biennale. He has been Professor of Film at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main since 2010. He lives and works in Berlin and Glasgow.


Nov 19, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017 

Löwenbräu Areal


Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present the 5th exhibition with the New York-based artist Sue Williams.
Since Sue Williams' pictoral and sculptural work came into public in the 90s, it has underwent great changes. At the beginning of her career, Williams painted figures that were heavily influenced by comic-books and the pictoral language of advertisment. These paintings often show domestic violent and explicit sexual contents, which were mostly understood as a feminist critique of the patriachic society and of war. Over the years, Williams' sometimes rawly applied figurative scenes changed into more casual and extended compositions that took over large-scale canvases – until they grew into almost or total abstractions, into interwined swirling compositions consisting of bodyparts, orifices, and betokened organs.

Starting with her raw lining, which was often accompanied by handwriting, Williams increasingly employed classical techniques of 20th century painting: Smudge, drip, expressionistic brushstroke, or abstract lines – techniques which, in the male-dominated world of painting, are associated with male painters like Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning. In Williams' recent works, which seem abstract at first glance, forms and painting gestures emerge which refer to her earlier work: Forms create figures, and finally leave the viewer with the question if they really exist on the canvas or not. 

The exhibition presents two groups of works which Williams created in two different decades: Paintings on fabric taken from patternbooks from the late 90s, and large-scale paintings which the artist created recently. In combination, the different works allow an amazing insight into the development of Williams' oeuvre, revealing both differences and continuities.

Fabric-patterns can be understood as an embodiment of a crusted, petty-bourgeois community, perpetuating structures like the nuclear family, patriarchy and thus the devaluation of women. Williams employs these fabric-patterns, still recognizable through their characteristic toothing and perforation, as a ground for her painting. The pastose primer, reacting with the fabric, fringes at the rims and thus creates the impression of holes being ripped into the material – or of visions emerging from the patterns. The figurative scenes, applied with the characteristic aggression and wildness of William's works from the 90s, show the proverbial backside of the fabric-patterns: Anti-erotic images in which female figures are treated object-like. Both the fabric itself and the scenes can be understood as a social satire of treatment of woman – sometimes sad, sometimes with a very dark sense of humor.

Williams' new large-scale paintings show the latest development of her work: Compositions in oil – which seem to be totally abstract at first glance – extended over large canvases combine the different techniques the artist developed during her career: Clear lines bundling or building patterns, colour fields, fringing at the rims, and clear drawings which are neither figurative nor totally abstract. Figures or organs seem to emerge, a clear reference to Williams' signature style. It’s not the paintings' subjects, being represented violently subjected by the structures – it’s the painting subject itself that breaks ground in these images.
At first glanze, the exhibion shows two groups of works as different as the decades they were created in. But the figurative scenes are showing up again inside and all over mixed in with the abstract 20 years later. Yet the tension between the works only proofs the continuity in the development of Sue Williams pictoral work.

Sue Williams was born 1954 in Chicago Heights, Illinois (USA), and lives and works in New York. Her first solo exhibition with Eva Presenhuber took place in 1999. Her work is represented in major museums and private collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; Sammlung Goetz, Munich. In the fall of 2015, her retrospective monograph has been released by JRP|Ringier. Solo shows in public museums include Vienna Secession;  IVAM Valencia, Spain; Geneva Center for Contemporary Art, and Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany, and participated in 3 consecutive Whitney Biennials. Major Museum group shows include Comic Abstraction, Museum of Modern Art New York (2007); Rebelle, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem (2009); Keeping it Real, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010); Figuring Color, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2012); Take it or leave it, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); America is Hard to See, Whitney Museum of American Art New York (2015); Painting 2.0, Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2015-16). 

Tillmann Severin


Nov 19, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017

Löwenbräu Areal


Galerie Eva Presenhuber is delighted to present “Midnight in America”, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of the American artist Adam Pendleton. 

Pendleton will present six new paintings, two Wall Works, and a group of smaller works including new collages. 

The title of the exhibition is a nod to American political history. The spirit of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign helped him win re-election in 1984. In this most recent presidential election, the Democratic nominee referred to her opponent’s vision of the country as “Midnight in America”. 

The new paintings, all titled Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy), are based on collages that abstract the titular phrase, which was pulled from Malcolm X’s 1964 speech “The Ballot or the Bullet”. Hovering between abstraction and representation, the paintings feature expressive linear strokes that have been spray-painted onto the canvas.

To Pendleton, there is: “something democratizing about spray paint—anyone can pick it up, you use it, you make a sign, there’s an immediacy, it is functional. There is an inherent value of the street and its aesthetic. I’m just blackening it. I make a black ground. It becomes the ground of the painting in a traditional sense. The figure is the textual collage that uses the language, which is pulled apart and abstracted. There’s a tension that pulls at the burden of representation. The figure is abstracted, deconstructed language. I’m interested in how it functions—the shift from total meaning—I can read it—to fragment.” *

Floor-to-ceiling, immersive Wall Works line two walls of the gallery. Pendleton’s Wall Works enlarge the collages and images that are central to his body of work. The first Wall Work visitors encounter depicts spreads from the artist’s Black Dada Reader, a collection of texts and documents elucidating the term Black Dada, which the artist uses to define his multi-disciplinary output. In the main space, a different collage-based Wall Work is hung with related works on paper, revealing how Pendleton perpetually revisits self-generated source material to “make something new”. 

Contrasting with the two expansive Wall Works, the largest wall in the gallery will be sparsely hung with intimate examples from the artist’s System of Display series. These wall-mounted objects consist of a mirrored surface printed with a found image. Typically, a single letter pulled from a word in the piece’s title is printed on a glass plane floating in front of the underlying image. Like the letters reflected by the mirror, the viewer and image, subject and object, past and present, collapse. 

Adam Pendleton was born in 1984 in Richmond, Virginia, USA and lives and works in New York. He is known for his body of work that stands both with and against historical conceptualism and abstraction. He embeds ideas from political and social movements –including the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement – into new contexts. Pendleton is currently the subject of the traveling museum exhibition Becoming Imperceptible, which originated at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and was recently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. In January 2017 Becoming Imperceptible will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. His work is represented in numerous museum and private collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, USA; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA; as well as Tate Modern, London, UK.
For “Midnight in America”, a second printing of the artist's seminal 2010 book grey-blue grain will be released. grey-blue grain was the first in a series of books that collect images and texts central to the artist's body of work. 

For more information, please contact Christian Schmidt.

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