The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, January 24, 2019

New York-based artist Elaine Reichek's first solo exhibition in Austria opens at Vienna's Secession
Elaine Reichek, You Coasts (Ocher), 2014, I Wonder Sometimes, 2014, exhibition view Secession 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles and Marinaro, New York, Photo: Oliver Ottenschläger.

VIENNA.- For more than four decades, Elaine Reichek has been working on a critical and feminist reading of historical texts and images. The analytical engagement with narratives from myth and literature and the reflection on their social function as a medium of cultural cohesion run through the artist’s oeuvre like the thread that Ariadne gave to Theseus so that he would find his way out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth.

In her first solo exhibition in Austria, the New York-based artist presents works from the past eleven years that explore the figures of the “Minoan girls” and the stories of lust, seduction, cruelty, and betrayal associated with them: Europa, Pasiphaë, Phaedra, and Ariadne. Although their tragic fates are key to the narratives in which they appear, they are often seen as supporting characters; the heroes are invariably men. Reichek, by contrast, puts the spotlight on the women, examining their complex characters by compiling different interpretations and depictions, and assembling eclectic arrangements of elements from visual art and literature to break through overly narrow constructions: in the artist’s hands, appropriation becomes a strategy of emancipation.

Reichek employs a wide variety of media and engages works of art and literature from all eras in creative dialogue. Textile techniques such as embroidery and knitting as well as conceptual methods, photography, and various printing processes have been central to her practice since the 1970s. Now If I Had Been Writing This Story builds on her earlier cycles Minoan Girls (2012–16) and Ariadne’s Thread (2008–12). The exhibition’s title is borrowed from Phèdre, a poem by the English writer Stevie Smith in which she refuses to accept Phaedra’s tragic fate and musters the power of words to at least lend expression to the desire for a happier outcome.

Not by accident, what holds Reichek’s work together on the formal and conceptual levels is the thread— in the figurative as well as literal sense: unspooling Ariadne’s thread lets her unfold the story of the labyrinth, while the fine thread used in embroidery interweaves images and selected passages of text in scintillating visual compositions. The works on view in the exhibition integrate quotations from the art of Gustav Klimt, André Masson, Henri Matisse, and others with references to texts by Stevie Smith, Erika Mumford, Henry de Montherlant, Giorgio de Chirico, and the fifth-century Byzantine poet Nonnus.

Reichek deftly intertwines her ongoing preoccupation with myths as archetypal stories with a practice that is essentially repetitive: embroidering.

“Just as sewing loops a thread around and around a substrate of fabric, so we continually reenact and recycle these myths over the centuries. And just as sewing creates an unseen backstory on the other side of the cloth, so these ancient myths—primal narratives that recite basic motivations—have proved ever open to analysis, interpretation, and deconstruction. The unraveling and reconstitution of stories and motifs is a very old process, no matter how much we imagine it to be a modernist or contemporary phenomenon.” -- (Excerpt from Elaine Reichek's text for her artist book that is published by the Secession on occasion of her exhibition)

Immediately recognizing the structural resemblance between rasterized digital images and embroidery or knitting pattern charts, Reichek incorporated digital media into her creative praxis. Like a pixel, the stitch is the basic building block of visual transmission in her work: a pixelated image resembles an embroidery chart, just as the stitches in a hand-sewn embroidery point back to a JPEG trawled from the Internet or scanned from a printed source. Although digital technology has sped up and expanded the possibilities for research, translation, and production, Reichek’s works remain material objects, rooted in the history of thread as a medium.

Elaine Reichek’s artist’s book, published on the occasion of the exhibition, is a decorative archival storage box in the design of the Hamilton Urns—one of the earliest examples of American neo-classical wallpaper models—that unpacks her exhibition both physically and conceptually. Inside are two different kinds of books: A standard book includes all the works in the exhibition and an essay by the artist. Then, four accordion-style leporellos explore the most recent piece, Toutes les filles (2016–17), unfolding to reveal each of its 24 motifs and their art-historical sources.

In the past few years, the hand-printed wallpaper featuring the Hamilton Urns pattern has become almost a trademark feature of Reichek’s exhibitions; in our show, it also appears as a backdrop on the walls. This version with its unusual palette was manufactured specifically for the occasion.

Elaine Reichek was born in New York City in 1943 and lives and works in New York City.

Today's News

April 15, 2018

Exhibition at German Historical Museum charts Germans' mania for saving

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac to represent the Estate of Joseph Beuys

Exhibition with new paintings by Albert Oehlen and Julian Schnabel on view at Galerie Max Hetzler

Oscar-winning 'Cuckoo's Nest' director Milos Forman dies at 86

New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

Sotheby's announces highlights from the Arts of the Islamic World auction on 25 April

Taiwan opens world's largest performing arts centre under one roof

Three centuries of opulent Asante gold regalia arrive at the Dallas Museum of Art

Christie's announces highlights from its Rare Watches auction

Regen Projects opens exhibition of new paintings and collages by New York-based artist Sue Williams

38th EVA International: Ireland's biennial opens in Limerick

White Columns exhibits at kurimanzutto as part of CONDO Mexico City

Carol B. Cadou named Charles F. Montgomery Director and CEO of Winterthur

Rich Ferrante joins Redwood Media Group as Show Director

Morris Museum opens new exhibition as part of a four-year series

Large signed mixed media artwork by Wadsworth Jarrell will be auctioned April 22nd in Atlanta

Zabludowicz Collection exhibits Lindsey Mendick's installation 'Perfectly Ripe'

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. opens an exhibition of new work by Erin Shirreff

Artist presents new installation for National Child Abuse Prevention Month this April

Retrospective exhibition of works by Rose O'Neill opens at Springfield Art Museum

Iconic design for specific architecture to be offered at PIASA

JFK's 'Victory Map' used during The Cuban Missile Crisis sold for $138k at auction

New York-based artist Elaine Reichek's first solo exhibition in Austria opens at Vienna's Secession

Vadehra Art Gallery announces the death of Ram Kumar

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Rare 1943 Lincoln Cent sells for $204,000 at Heritage Auctions

2.- Exhibition is the first to shed light on the phenomenon of the princely painter

3.- Nathaniel Silver named new Curator of the Collection at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

4.- Rijksmuseum van Oudheden explores the mystical world of the ancient Egyptian gods

5.- Media error draws misleading reports on sale of 1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent

6.- Four men deny giant gold coin heist from Berlin's Bode Museum

7.- Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presents an immersive installation by Charles Long

8.- Egypt says stolen pharaonic tablet repatriated from United Kingdom

9.- Israeli museum under fire over 'McJesus' exhibit

10.- Claremont Rug Company founder Jan David Winitz reveals major shifts in high-end antique Oriental rug market

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful