Mendes Wood DM, Paris, presents 'I See No Difference Between a Handshake and a Poem'

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Mendes Wood DM, Paris, presents 'I See No Difference Between a Handshake and a Poem'
Barbara Hammer, Sync Touch, Transferred 16mm film, color, sound, 10 minutes, MW.BHM.001. Courtesy of the artist and Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brussels, Paris, New York.

PARIS.- Mendes Wood DM has inaugurated its new gallery space in Paris with the exhibition entitled 'I See No Difference Between a Handshake and a Poem' curated by Fernanda Brenner. Taking its title from a sentence in a letter by the poet Paul Celan in 1960, the exhibition brings together a wide range of artists from different contexts and career stages while considering its distinctive location: the oldest planned square in Paris, the Place des Vosges. The collective show proposes a divagation on touching hands across time: the hand imprinted on the rock walls of a cave, the hand holding another hand, the hand that caresses, creates, and destroys. The works on view invite a close look at what hands touch and circumscribe and what it lets slip away as a reconsideration of how we relate to living and non-living beings, starting from the simple acknowledgment that all things exist through mutual engagement. It is, above all, a proposition to look at subjects not as isolated and autonomous entities but as a flickering constellation between inhuman time, nonhuman forces, and geologic materiality.

“The works brought there for display, or created specifically for that site, mark the transformation of a former residential home and long-closed psychoanalytic clinic into a new contemporary art gallery. Like anonymous handprints in a cave, they leave imprints on a different time, touching someone else’s memories and listening to lingering voices to form an elliptical and allusive environment. Forms interrupt and complement each other ceaselessly, as if many hands were superimposed with a strange coherence that is not that of narrative.” - excerpt from the curatorial text by Fernanda Brenner

Artists include: Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa, Armando Andrade Tudela, Lucas Arruda, Karim Aïnouz, Adrián Balseca, Tosh Basco, Katinka Bock, Paloma Bosquê, Nina Canell, Guglielmo Castelli, Alejandro Cesarco, Mariana Castillo Deball, Marguerite Duras, Philipp Fleischmann, Sonia Gomes, Barbara Hammer, Runo Lagomarsino, Patricia Leite, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Paul Maheke, Hana Miletić, Charlotte Moth, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Paulo Nazareth, Lygia Pape, Yvonne Rainer, Letícia Ramos, Mauro Restiffe, Luiz Roque, Giangiacomo Rossetti, Maaike Schoorel, Jeremy Shaw, Paula Siebra, Willard Steiner & Ralph Van Dyke, Davide Stucchi, Kishio Suga, Pol Taburet, Sophie Thun and Erika Verzutti.

Mendes Wood DM Paris is located on the first two levels of the Hôtel de l’Escalopier in the Place des Vosges in the Marais. The building dates to the early seventeenth century and stands at the northern entrance of the French capital’s oldest square. The renovation has been overseen by the Parisian architecture firm NeM / Niney et Marca Architectes, in collaboration with architect Paul van Coudenhove.

The Paris gallery is Directed by Nicolas Nahab, who joins Mendes Wood DM following a prominent career in the Parisian artworld, including decade-long tenures at Marian Goodman Gallery and at the referential French art bookshop, publisher and gallery Yvon Lambert.

The decision to open a gallery in the French capital is driven by a very personal connection. Pedro Mendes and Matthew Wood met in the city of Paris while studying Philosophy as undergraduates. They spent years in its galleries, museums and in the corridors of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. The ethos of the city would later inform the identity of the gallery that they founded together with Felipe Dmab in São Paulo, Brazil several years later. Gradually, Mendes Wood DM team expanded and today includes partners Mage Abàtayguara-Örneberg, Carolyn Drake Kandiyoti and Renato Silva, long-time collaborators of the gallery.

"Paris is extraordinary. It is not only an ancient cosmopolitan center but also a crucible of culture which has fostered singular legacies of artistic innovation, patronage, and collection-building. Coming from São Paulo, we recognize the twentieth century history of artistic exchange between France and Brazil. We are very excited for this new chapter of the gallery and hope to make a meaningful contribution to the city."—Partner, Carolyn Drake Kandiyoti

“These expansions mark the natural growth of the gallery’s international presence, while underscoring a commitment to mounting significant exhibitions for an ever- wider audience. We remain inspired by a belief that artistic practices broaden the scope of human agency and have the power to change the world.”—Founding Partner, Matthew Wood

"I am absolutely thrilled to join the Mendes Wood DM team at this exciting moment in Paris. I have always admired the gallery for its energy and program, it will be a wonderful addition to the Paris art scene."—Director Mendes Wood DM Paris, Nicolas Nahab

Fernanda Brenner is the founding director of Pivô, in São Paulo, and the Latin American art advisor for Kadist Art Foundation. Since 2017 she is a contributing editor of Frieze Magazine. A long-standing collaborator with the gallery, Brenner curated the group show Neither., which inaugurated Mendes Wood DM Brussels in 2017. Her recent and upcoming projects include the 24th Pernod Ricard Foundation Prize (2023); Peace or Never at FHNW, Basel (2022) co-curated with Chus Martínez; and the solo exhibitions Oriana, Beatriz Santiago Munõz (2021/2023), at Pivô and Argos, Brussels; It’s Night in America, Ana Vaz (2022); and Vuadora, Paulo Nazareth (2022) co-curated with Diane Lima.

Mendes Wood DM
I See No Difference Between a Handshake and a Poem
October 14th, 2023 - November 25th, 2023

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