Timable Event

"Still-Life" A Solo Exhibition by Jennifer Steinkamp

time 19 Sep - 25 Oct (every Tue to Fri) 10am (9hr)

time 21 Sep - 26 Oct (every Sat) 11am (8hr)

location 立木畫廊 》香港中環畢打街12號畢打行407室

(free event)

Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce Still-Life, an exhibition featuring three recent video installations by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer Steinkamp. A pioneer in the field of 3-D animation, Steinkamp works exclusively in digital media, using computer technology to render organic and abstract forms in motion. These immersive installations are projected at a large scale in response to the architectural interiors in which they appear. Each work alters the viewer’s typical experience of an object within a gallery and invites a more comprehensive understanding of space and time. The gallery will host an opening reception on Thursday, September 19, from 6–8 PM at 407 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Hong Kong.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Still-Life, which is part of a larger series the artist began in 2016. This body of work is a critical nod to the 16th century genre of Dutch and Flemish still life painting, in which still life paintings offered visual allegories about the fragility of life and the passage of time. Composed through the careful orientation of everyday objects such as food, flowers, dead animals, and plants, these historical works were often notable for their static quality and macabre representation of death. In Steinkamp’s reimagination of the still life, she animates this genre through the representation of fruit bearing plants that move and collide in a poetic dance that celebrates life and regeneration through the natural environment.

Also featured in this exhibition is Blind Eye 2 (2019). One of a suite of animations inspired by the landscape that surrounds the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA—the site of a major exhibition of Steinkamp’s work in 2018—this larger-than-life size projection depicts a frontal view of a pair of birch trees. The title references the characteristic dark spots that punctuate the pale bark of these trees, which for Steinkamp resemble blank, staring eyes. As the trees sway—sometimes quite violently―the leaves fall like a gentle rain. However, as is the case in all Steinkamp’s works, this process unfolds without beginning or end. While the allusion to the changing seasons is clear, Blind Eye 2 exists outside linear narrative—it is a moment removed from its temporal context.
The third work, Retinal 2 (2018), was made in direct response to architect Steven J. Holl’s design for an addition to the Bloch Building of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO (it was featured in “Open Spaces,” an exhibition curated for the museum and surrounding Swope Park by Dan Cameron in 2018). Discovering that Holl refers to the structure’s windows as “lenses,” Steinkamp produced an animation, shown only after dark, that mimics the translucent, refractive appearance of optical veins. The work’s drifting clusters of green, pink, and purple forms have the slick look and acidic coloration of candy, while the amorphous shapes and busy, all-over composition forge links to biomorphic and expressionist abstraction.

The exhibition Still-Life offers a garden sanctuary that draws inspiration from Steinkamp’s art historical predecessors and provides a valuable reminder of the breadth and ambition of her practice. These works exemplify the important historical position she holds as a leader in digital animation and the first to experiment with constructing imagery—including color, texture, and movement—by wholly digital means. By simulating natural movement in cycles that are at once familiar-seeming and entirely unique, Steinkamp conjures the uncanny impression of artificial life that is both rooted in past modes of representation while looking, with optimism, towards the future.
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