Saturday 16 September 2017

OPENING TONIGHT / Adelhyd van Bender & Sofia Leibly at PAGE (NYC)

Image of wall drawing in Adelhyd van Benders apartment in Berlin.
Courtesy Delmes & Zander, Cologne

Sofia Leibly and Adelhyd van Bender

September 16–November 1, 2017
PAGE (NYC), 368 Broadway, #511, NY 10013
Opening: Saturday, September 16th, 6–8pm

"PAGE (NYC) presents a two-person exhibition by Sofia Leiby (US, b. 1989) and Adelhyd van Bender (Germany, 1950–2014). New readings of van Bender’s drawings are made possible in connection to Leiby’s work; her new paintings are inspired by research into the pursuit of aesthetic exactness, “success” and balance within mid-late twentieth-century German theories of perception and Gestalt. One section of a wall drawing from van Bender’s Berlin apartment is reproduced in the gallery for the first time.

When Sofia gave me the title of her silkscreen painting as PRÄGNANZ / Götz, Arnheim, Maitland-Graves (2017), she explained that “‘Prägnanz’ is a strange German word that basically means, ‘aesthetically successful and concise,’ and dates to the time period relevant to the tests." The tests are those devised in the 1970s by K. O. Götz (1914–2017) as an improvement on the discredited Maitland-Graves Design Judgement Test of thirty years prior. Tired of art criticism’s “idealistic” “word cascades,” Götz studied Gestalt and other fields of psychology and information theory in the interest of establishing an “exact aesthetics”—a new way to “objectively” measure visual abilities and evaluate expressive form. Participants in the resulting visual aesthetic sensitivity test (VAST) were asked to work their way through a book of fifty-two pairs of black abstract shapes that Götz had drafted and report, casting subjective preference aside, which of the two was more balanced. Although Götz asserted that his scientific and artistic interests were separate, in Leiby and van Bender’s work these parallel pursuits collide, and are brought into relation with features of lived experience that Götz had wanted to discount. (...)

As much as harmony in composition, balance in van Bender’s work appears as a refusal to choose either or. Repeatedly referring in notes and drawings to “Geschlecht” (gender), van Bender “seems to have identified as both male and female,” and strikes a balance in self-portraits as lady justice with scales. Further systems of categorisation and judgement appear to have been refused: a van Bender drawing in this exhibition suggests a system made up of false choices: “D. Tradition. D. D. Fashion. D. D. Opinion. D. D. Neurer [innovator]. D.” Is this an allusion to the art critic’s terms of recognition? Further works on paper carry the stamp of Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin Arts Academy), the school that forced van Bender to exmatriculate in 1976. Reasons for exmatriculation from UdK today include failure to pay your fees or failure of the final examination. Poor performance or poor circumstance, or an interrelation of the two."

To read the complete essay written by Lizzie Homersham please click

No comments:

Post a Comment