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Contemplating Landscape

[14.03.14 – 03.05.14]


Janaina Tschäpe


Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong

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Edouard Malingue Gallery is pleased to present ‘Contemplating Landscape’, the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong of renowned New York-based artist Janaina Tschäpe (b. 1973, Germany/Brazil) that explores, through multiple mediums, amorphous landscapes and their abundant luscious properties. Of Brazilian and German descent, Tschäpe commenced her artistic career by completing a Fine Arts degree in Hamburg, Germany and a residency programme in Salvador, Brazil before moving to New York for her Masters of Fine Arts in 1997. Over the past decade and a half, Tschäpe has through her photography and video work, as well as her paintings and cutouts, expressed a flourishing creativity attune to earthly landscapes, ethereal female silhouettes as well as aqueous tones and biological forms. Indeed, in a contemporary society where increasingly the concreted cosmopolitan is what dominates our views, Tschäpe has built an inimitable rapport with nature, presenting it in luscious proximity for one to revel in its abundantly burgeoning vitality and variety.

‘Contemplating Landscape’ observes, reconsiders and recasts the various elements found in nature: its shapes and forms, their vivacity and impermanence, flora and fauna’s flashes of colour and fluidity. From the abstract and delicately rendered watercolour on paper works to the bold sculptural creations that echo the geometries of those biomorphic patches that flourish across her larger canvas paintings, Tschäpe presents a series of works that transpose the viewer into a space replete with artistic organisms that collectively form the composite of an articulated botanical vision. As such, ‘Contemplating Landscape’ urges a musing of our environment from not only a completely immersive standpoint but also on a more microscopic and intimate level: these are the artistic incarnations of the biologies that surround us and their curated amalgamation provides a precious opportunity to approach and interact with those elements that ultimately form us.

Tschäpe’s paintings, works on paper and drawings are wonderfully vivid creations; colour and form spread across two-dimensional space, filling it with light, warmth and that microscopic flora which dampens bare earth. Tschäpe’s painting Dark Sea (2014), in particular, is incredibly attune with aqueous garden landscapes and through the paint’s permitted drip and fluidity evokes the natural process of blossoming, flourishing and decay. Similarly organic, yet on a more minute scale, Tschäpe’s works on paper brandish a distinct microscopic quality; Hydromedusa (2014) seems to be composed of biomorphic patches of dark green and blue colour, whilst Spiny Muricea (2014) appears as an abstract composition of linear yellow details amidst a sea of lightly intertwined wisps of colour. Also on display will be a sketchbook, Polyporia (2014), in which a series of drawings have been loosely rendered, recalling nature’s delicacy, variety and evanescence.

Moving from two to three dimensions are Tschäpe’s cutouts and new sculptural works. The former, such as Ocean Study II (2014), are made of strips of paper that have been painted on one side in vivid colours and hang from the gallery wall in an ad hoc manner that resembles, in their random arrangement, the loosely tangled sinuous lines of plant life. Also on display for the first time will be a set of sculptures made of paper, which neatly folded, resemble prisms – gems from her paintings that have been brought to life. Placed amidst the gallery, they complement the wall hung works yet also operate as interventions of the gallery space, themselves acting as elements that have been inserted in the visional landscape. To this effect, they recall and complement the film work on display, Ballgame (2012), which captures a large clear ball that travels buoyantly amidst a beach and waterscape. An aggrandised vision of an underwater bubble, the motioning element references the natural yet appears surrealist when it interacts with and is inserted in the natural scenery.

Overall, ‘Contemplating Landscape’ presents a series of works that are replete with sensory enticement and share with viewers a secretive world filled with burgeoning flora and fauna. Upon the occasion of this landmark exhibition, a monograph will also be made available, which presents Tschäpe’s most recent work as well as her previous and evolving practice. The publication will feature four accompanying essays in English and Traditional Chinese with contributions made by four leading curators and writers from around the world: Dr. Annette Bhagwati (Project Director of the Anthropocene Project, Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany), Melanie Pocock (Independent Curator, Singapore), Dr. David Gruber (Writer & Professor of Biology, CUNY, New York) and Ricardo Sardenberg (Curator, Rio de Janeiro). The exhibition and monograph collectively set to explore the variety of Tschäpe’s practice and capture the pluralistic fervour that runs through her creations.

Janaina Tschäpe, is a highly celebrated international artist who has held exhibitions of her work across different mediums in prestigious institutions around the world including IMMA, Dublin, Rubin Museum, New York, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro and Jeu de Paume, Paris. Widely recognised for her exquisite interaction with nature and the landscape, Tschäpe’s work is held in multiple distinguished public collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria and the Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Minas Gerais, Brasil, amongst others.