Amid the uncertainty of the past six months of the coronavirus pandemic, one thing is clear: Everything has changed, including for artists. Plans have been canceled, exhibitions indefinitely postponed, some will never reopen. Daily life, largely limited to home or studio, has become compressed, and no one can escape the consequences of this withdrawal. Despite the anxieties and disruptions, artists have reacted to their altered circumstances and continue to move forward—albeit with a shift in attitude regarding their work. Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to present local talent, an exhibition curated by artist Thomas Demand that features over twenty Berlin-based artists and presents varied responses to the repercussions of our current situation.
The selected works, by artists from several generations and diverse nationalities and backgrounds, have either been created in the last few months, or they constitute past works or concepts for future works that resonate with this unprecedented time. With the changed parameters under which art is being created, exhibited and experienced, its meaning has also inevitably changed temporarily—and for how long, no one can tell—affecting different artistic practices in different ways. On the one hand this period's solitude, with no travel and little socialisation, has offered artists the rare gift of uninterrupted time; on the other, it constitutes a disaster of epic proportions.
Still, the vital drive and longing to do something, make something or rethink something comes through in the paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and installations on view. Olafur Eliasson and Haris Epaminonda, who both had been working toward quickly closed or canceled exhibitions abroad, each present new works at home in Berlin. Marieta Chirulescu exhibits two new canvases created during lockdown, and Corinne Wasmuht presents a painting whose content—airport waiting rooms—took on starkly different connotations months into working on it as travel restrictions proliferated. Both Manfred Pernice and Thea Djordjadze have taken up existing installations, reconfiguring them at Sprüth Magers in ways that respond to this particular site at this particular time. Anri Sala's photograph of a bird cage in a Tirana zoo seems an apt metaphor for the current moment; and Sam Durant's recent light box announcing that Another World is Possible offers, in retrospect, a portentous message for today's predicament. These and other works broach the current reality obliquely, offering unexpected points of connection from one to the next.
As Thomas Demand notes, 'In film production, using "local talent" implies that a cast from the immediate area makes for the most authentic performances. At the same time, the term suggests a limitation of what's available on a particular set.' An exhibition created by necessity from the pool of artists working close by, local talent also testifies to the resilience of Berlin and asserts its long-standing and continued importance as an artist's city. Internationally renowned, and diverse in their approaches and world views, the artists included in local talent make this abundantly clear: in Berlin, the artists are still here. And especially now, they aren't going anywhere.
local talent features the work of Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, Miriam Böhm, Marieta Chirulescu, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Thea Djordjadze, Jason Dodge, Olafur Eliasson, Sam Durant, Haris Epaminonda, Omer Fast, Ceal Floyer, Mathew Hale & Eddie Ruscha, Mathew Hale, Oliver Laric, Henrik Olesen, Manfred Pernice, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Anri Sala, Thomas Scheibitz, Andreas Slominski, Thomas Struth, Akinori Tao, Rosemarie Trockel and Corinne Wasmuht.
Press release courtesy Sprüth Magers.