DAM Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Addie Wagenknecht

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DAM Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Addie Wagenknecht
Installation view. Courtesy the artist and DAM.

BERLIN.- Wagenknecht is an Austria based American artist and researcher whose work examines the meeting point of technology and expression, taking into account feminist theory and pop culture. Her conceptual approach materializes at the intersection of hacking, robotics, painting and sculpture. The one topic seeming to envelope her entire body of work is that of visibility. Although Wagenknecht’s work reveals autobiographical information and often deals with the concept of (self-) portraiture, this visibility results from absence: The methods and devices used let Wagenknecht be a part of the respective work, without portraying her identity in the classical manner.

For instance, the series of Roomba-paintings (2017-) is created with Roomba robotic vacuums painterly distributing a cocktail of cosmetics, ever so trendy pharmaceuticals like Prozac, Oxycontin or CBD and even botox, mixed with a UV-archiving medium, onto canvas. Titles such as Sunrise Sunday Morning and Me at 73 underline the infernal of an otherwise perfectly concealed and optimized world.

The three works of the series Still Alive (2016-2020), created in collaboration with artist Aiala Hernando, follow suit. The arrangements of fresh flowers, immediately invoking associations to Dutch still life painting, turn out to be brilliantly staged photographs. Their morals and vices can be read from the components placed around the flowers. Again we see contemporary elements of pop culture, such as an iPhone, dietary supplements and pregnancy test, positioned in such a way as they might have been forgotten in the artist’s bedroom. Still Alive becomes a portrait of a fast-paced world that does not pause. In this edition of the series Alive Still (2020), the artist explores the Now: an understanding that the past is not a finished story but an ongoing state. Produced in 2020, the artist used Zoom, WhatsApp and Google Chat to play with the notion of the intimate twist of translating our isolation – alone together. The current pandemic induced vices embedded into the images, while facing the challenge of collaboration while countries apart.

The computational paintings BHP (2016-) v3 from Wagenknecht’s ongoing series Black Hawk Paints (2007- ) address the genre of Action Painting. While earlier works of this series were created with drones that were controlled by the artist as a sort of paintbrush, the new pieces use computationally made custom code to generate virtual drones that mimic the same motions and propulsions within computational space. The common factor is the elongated distance between artist and artwork, re-positioning the gestural within these very unique action paintings.

Addie Wagenknecht’s work is exhibited internationally. Previous exhibitions include MuseumsQuartier Wien, Vienna, Austria; La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris, France; The Istanbul Modern; Whitechapel Gallery, London and MU, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

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