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Laura Schawelka
11.5.2024 - 30.6.2024

Artist statement:

The show consists of an installation of three diptychs. They are broken up so that they form a sequence when one walks past the window. You have to go back and forth and traverse the space to connect the pieces. The exhibition deals with the pace and material of (commercial) architecture and public space. All works come in pairs, but they are split so that a rhythm forms.

I read somewhere that walking by illuminated department store windows was an early cinematic experience at the turn of the century, that the quick sequence of illuminated frames might have been a precursor to moving images. The diptych Untitled (Exposition de blanc à la place Clichy, Henri Thiriet, 1898, customer / seller) is exactly from that time. It shows an advertising poster of two women perusing white fabrics, divided only by a sea of folds and their social status. Printed on PVC, the works mimic outdoor advertising. They are part of a larger series dealing with the rise of modern consumerism and the role photography played in that surge.

They are combined with a current counterpart. The two works on the far ends show the facade of the currently vacant building of the defunct UnionBank on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles - a city so car-centric that shop windows became obsolete. A city with a lot of streamlined, slick architecture as if to make the traffic move faster. Glossy granite or marble facades, often only a few centimeters thick, have been an architectural sign of wealth for centuries. They are decoration without pattern, a status symbol that mirrors its surroundings. The two photographs were taken only a moment apart - like two frames from a movie, with the traffic slowly passing by.

The title „Close” both mirrors the enclosure of the exhibition space and the closeness between the viewer and the work. As Mark C. Taylor puts it, behind glass „the object evaporates into an image (…). In essence, glass is a technique of desire. By staging a constant interplay of proximity and distance, glass keeps desire alive by denying the consumers what they really want.“

About the artist:

Laura Schawelka is an artist who works with photography, video and installation. She studied at Städelschule, Frankfurt until 2013 and received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2015. In 2018 she was artist in residence of the Hessische Kulturstiftung at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris and in 2019 received the Q21 viennacontemporary Eikon Artist-in-Residence Prize. An extensive catalog was published at the beginning of 2019 for her first institutional solo exhibition at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum Ludwigshafen. She lives and works in Berlin.


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