June 11 to July 30 2022
opening June 11 from noon onwards
Flashes of vanishing bodies populate the depicted scenes with the torpor of a muted atmosphere, a distant echo that still didn’t reach your ears. The symbolic seductiveness of thepaintings, assemblages of washed out brushstrokes with a translucent quality of a lightly applied paint, eschews the need of situating representation in a defined place. Also the need of having to decide: between ecstatic pleasure, rebellious flesh, caresses or intense pain, the feelings that Xie Lei’s paintings hold are unclear. To use the words of Robert Longo, those as misplaced dramas, scenes retaining an ambiguity such that the viewer finds her or himself in an impasse, having to rely on cognitive resources to project narrative content. It is less depiction of memories rather than an imagery that can be captioned by the viewer, tolerating different forms of encounter, engagement and escape. A green light for tightening of skins and intimate imagery - heads stretched by a dimming light, snapshots of euphoric moments of lethargy. Bodies are weaved in, internal strengthenings through a form of clinical fading. They are crash test dummies, malleable enough to store your own fantasies. It’s better than having to be orderly with your most intimate feelings.
The legibility of the depicted scene emerges through those exchanges between event and projection surface, a real mirroring play, the viewer stuck like in those mirror mazes attractions that you could find at funfairs, only here also borrowing the classicism quality of Versailles’ Palais des Glaces as well as the shiny aluminum surfaces of a morgue, where stone cold bodies sanctioned with rigor mortis lay down.
If you move, all that is around evaporates, leaves you in vapors of touching bodies, a visit to the hammam but in strong shades of green and blue and orange and whatever your floral dreams are made of.
nicholas von kleist
the future city
May 19 to May 31 2022
Opening May 19, 5 to 10 pm
nvk // nick von kleist (b. 1991) is a queer artist, fluctuating between poet, producer, performer, and archive. nvk uses process and collaboration as a method and carrier bag for language, media, and drag to trace, root, and redistribute potentiality. nvk’s practice focuses on being in the middle— using vegetality and virtuality as catalysts to assume the role(s) necessary for each work and collaboration; collecting traces as repertoire to be rehearsed, repeatedly.
nvk has recently shown work at Lateral Roma, Two plants are colliding (2021), a collaboration with Lyn Diniz (Mama Lynch) and A Walk in the Park (2019) at PS120 (Berlin). Currently acting as the Managing Director of IMMATERIAL, the recurring performance program founded by Michelangelo Miccolis as part of the Public Programs at Mexico City’s Material Art Fair, as well as the Production Manager of the Shedhalle’s (Zurich) virtual greenroom “the SHED”, and as a member of OFFSHORE, an itinerant performance company initiated by artist Cally Spooner taking shape as a course within IUAV’s (Venice Masters program. Other recent and ongoing collaborations include: Ingo Niermann’s initiated project the Army of Love, Mette Edvardsen’s Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine, and other performative collaborations with Autumn Knight, Dora García and Nikima Jagudajev. nvk has worked as a producer of performance at various institutions including MoMA, Lincoln Center, the Park Avenue Armory and the Rubin Museum of Art. nvk is currently enrolled in the Transdisciplinary Studies Program at The New Centre.
Clomp Clomp: Putting A Foot On The Spot Where The Sun Sets
April 14 to May 14 2022
Opening April 14, 5 to 9 pm
Clomp Clomp: Putting a Foot on the Spot Where the Sun Sets playfully gestures at something that can never happen: no matter how hard we try, we will never reach that special spot where the sun appears to set. The sunset is tinged with sadness and loss because it needs our distance in order to be seen. A distance which can
never be bridged. But that same sunset also lures us in beguiling ways, fueling our desires. For paradise and beauty, radical equality and queer utopia, desires to bridge that ever-present distance.
Divergent emotional responses – of melancholy, of hope – arise from continually being put it an in-between space of both uncertainty and generative possibility. Nothing is fixed because everything is seen in relation to everything else, in an arrangement that emphasises both proximity and distance.
A series of abstract Blue Panels, plaster framed by aluminium painted with ultramarine blue made from rare lapis lazuli pigment, hangs on the walls. In shadowy light, these panels look flat because light is absorbed, but in brighter light, they also seem to shine. Through the power of their ancient pigmentation, the panels both take in and emit light. A single fleck of gold glitter in the centre of each lapis panel provides a tiny spot of light on the surface. It also provides a single spot of disruption against the otherwise pure field of lapis blue. Those almost imperceptible flecks of gold, like tiny beacons of light, lure us nearer to the surface and ask us to reflect on what we’re looking at. What do we see on the surface? How close do we need to be in order to see each fleck? What light do we need in order to see it? What lies beneath the surface?
Interspersed on the walls with the lapis panels is a series of Toss Bags, curiously small handbags made from recycled plaster and other materials providing a rough surface texture. They are like artifacts excavated and unearthed from some time and place in the future. Little cards with queer images – snapshots from Grindr, images of nudes – are attached to each gravel handbag. Messages from the past, speaking to the future, realized in the present? Things usually hidden in darkness, the scraps of everyday queer life, are repurposed and brought out into the light. Glimpses of a queer archive, now and then.
As we move through the works in Clomp Clomp, drinking from a tin can that promises to make us gay, we move between reflection and absorption, surface and depth, thought and feeling, the abstract and the real. Playfully, we may also move between sober and drunk. The queer sensibility at work here places us in between things, unsettling those too-stable binaries but unsettling us at the same time. There is a kind of defiance to the work here, but there is also an open-ness that points to the future and perhaps to things not yet known. It is in that generous open-ness that we find hope, that we glimpse utopian desire and myriad possibilities for light peeking, even bursting out of the shadows.
Mark W. Turner
On the occasion of Philip Ortelli’s exhibition at flatmarkus and the exhibition Chuck Nanney and Joel Otterson, curated by Ugo Rondinone at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, there will be an artist talk facing the topic: queer aesthetics?
It will take place on April 23 at 5pm at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Waldmannstrasse 6, 8001 Zurich. With Philip Ortelli, Chuck Nanney and Joel Otterson, moderated by Ian Wooldridge.
artist talk with Philip Ortelli and Joel Otterson,
moderated by Ian Wooldridge
March 24 to April 9, 2022
Opening March 24, 5 to 9 pm
The windows at Flat Markus offer some breathtaking vistas from the top floor towards the West. At sunset, it is difficult to focus on the art and not just look out of the window, contemplating lake Zurich. Pierre Bonnard once famously said: “The idea that you go to a museum and look at the paintings—which is great—but then you look out the windows and see how you can apply what you’ve learned in the museum to the world outside. You can see it anew because of that framework that’s been established in your mind.” Being aware that contemporary art is all about the framework, Francesco Cagnin creates an interesting Spiel around the windows of the gallery, obscuring them by curtains that, through their punctuation, offer peepholes on the world. Furthermore, the openings compose words (CRUDE) or else starfield-like infinity, thus creating an enigmatic pattern.
Furthermore, the drapes offer a subtle reference to painting. The unstretched canvases that freely float in front of the wall stressing the textile character of the image carrier are loosely reminiscent of Giorgio Griffa. Cagnin’s approach is however more pragmatic, presenting just the fabric, no brushwork at all, and in exchange, studs forming perfect round holes. The piercing gesture reminds of Lucio Fontana's slits that he applied with a knife, transgressing the canvas. Cagnin by contrast operates undramatically a machine to apply metallic rings. Especially on jeans cloth, the studs create connotations of vestimentary details belonging to youth culture, such as jackets, or pants, immediately countered by the sleekness of the artwork. Layers of art history, counter culture, fashion, and intimacy are here masterfully pastiched, culminating in a 21st century update of Bonnard’s observation: How does the world outside look today from the perspective of contemporary art?
Gianni Jetzer, Washington DC, March 22 2022
Christophe de Rohan Chabot Ethereum Happy Cum
February 4 to March 19
Opening February 4, 5 to 9 pm
If the last years of crypto hype and NFT talk have illustrated anything it is the class crossing desire to feel like a player. A quest to be a wolf on your street. The work of Christophe de Rohan Chabot speaks to ambiguities orbiting this, reaching out past the visual into primal societal existence, ruminating on the now and the universal, blurring the line between symbols and words. Money, sex, joy define our existence, whose erotics inform life in fantasy and action. Supposedly unspoken in polite society and spoken about too much anyway. The execution here relates as much to trash aesthetics as it does to the holy temples of 20th century sculpture. Cryptobro pixels fuck John McCracken, Minecraft and Judd, Memes and Sol Lewitt. Tricks and temptations exist when the weighty is presented as if it were twee and here the quotidian holds the deeper: materials and problems, images, art, popular culture and history. de Rohan Chabot grabs and collages references freely, but isn’t interested in art about art or fanboy creations (at least not singularly); social illuminators exist within. His works are sexy, maybe fun(ny), and totally sinister. A fetish for the finish is a form of shallowness that defies the depth of the most basic of words.