Galerie Mazzoli is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition broken
, which presents the latest works by Annette Lemieux
, the first solo show in Berlin by the American artist.
“I’m always taking objects from another place. (...) I don’t like the term appropriation, I call them duets.”
This is how Lemieux describes a characteristic element of her conceptual work: The use of found image material, which could more aptly be
described as researched material. Over the course of decades, Lemieux has collected newspaper clippings and pictures. Her
selection is characterized by the fact that she uses images from anonymous contexts as well as from public situations, including
personalities from politics and culture. In recent works, still frames from film classics are used. The immediate effect of the works can be
enhanced by the knowledge of the source of the image contents, but is not dependent upon it.
The works of Annette Lemieux from the eighties and nineties already posed the question: How strongly can aspects of practical artistic activity
still define the work if it is based on concepts and, moreover, when the use of found image material is the focus? Lemieux fuses conceptualism
with a studio practice in a unique way. She herself works in the studio, masters various techniques develops an individual approach with regard to
the broad spectrum of her artistic media. With all of the objects, the great variety in their means of production is palpable and significantly
shapes their interpretation. The works in the exhibition broken are connected to her storehouse of recurring themes and motifs, represented
with different techniques in two- and three-dimensions. These include film history, cultivated nature, and the military arena, and thus,
concrete persons and things such as film stars, flags, motorcycles, weapons, and signs, as well as the artist herself.
(Flag) (2019) for example, depicts cinematic or photographic representation of a large fire consuming a wooden house – an image
that recalls concrete moments of American history. The artist connects several of these images of
Americana: The burning wooden house, the Star Spangled Banner, and a Harley Davidson as image-defining, interpenetrating elements each have a strong aura;
they are surrounded by a haze of contradictory emotions and meanings. In combination, they radiate a virtually terrifying beauty.
The title series Broken
(2019), on the other hand, can be seen as a development of the theme of the grid as used in some of Lemieux’s older pieces.
The modification of the portraits is no longer based on a superimposition of the image by a graphic pattern, but on a chaotic destruction that confronts
the different levels of already latent violated, confused, and unsettling visual content with each other. A less obvious and perhaps actual theme
of the exhibition broken could ultimately be the immaterial. In the works, we see eyes, gunmen, targets, a small tower, damaged pictures, an American
flag. All of the people and objects that are represented, though, are means and props for capturing what is actually invisible.
We experience the shot from a weapon whose bullet flies too fast for us to perceive it, the light of a fire or a signal, the still image of a
film that is projected onto a screen, images that are but a projection onto the eye’s retina, empty spaces in mangled images.
Annette Lemieux offers interstices that suggest a moment of suspension, an opening, even a liberation. Yet only too well do we know the senders,
observers, and triggers on the one side, and the receivers, targets, and victims on the other side of this space: only those who
ignore its boundaries can experience them as neutral.
Catalogue available, with critical essay by Frank Boehm