Mika Rottenberg Biography

Mika Rottenberg's video installations are full of movement, whether of human bodies, mysterious mixtures, machines, colours, or objects. Using absurdist narrative, humour, and satire, Rottenberg examines themes of labour and production in the contemporary world.

Read More

Education

Rottenberg gained a BFA from New York's School of Visual Arts in 2000, and an MFA from Columbia University in 2004. She lives and works in New York.

Mika Rottenberg Artworks

Drawing from historical and contemporary stories of labour, corporate production, and materialism, Rottenberg's artworks combine fiction and reality into videos that she describes as 'social surrealism'.

Body and Labour

Mika Rottenberg's videos typically concern a custom factory setting, revolving around a crudely built production line with aesthetically unconventional female workers . Among the characters in Dough (2005–2006) is an obese woman, who kneads a white mixture down into a hole, and another with long limbs who passes the dough further along the assembly line. Cheese (2008) is a recreation of the story of the Seven Sutherland Sisters—a 19th -century American singing group known for their long hair and hair fertiliser. The video follows women as they produce cheese from the milk of their extremely long hair.

The movement of human bodies and its associated stigma is implicit in Cosmic Generator (AP) (2017), a video that takes the camera into a long tunnel of coloured lights and darkness. The work begins its setting in a Chinese restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico, and eventually emerges in a market in Yiwu, China. Masses of cheaply manufactured objects from around the world are easily found at the market, while the migration of human bodies causes controversy and prohibition.

Spaghetti Blockchain

The human obsession with the production and consumption of materials is central to Spaghetti Blockchain (2019), which opens with a Tuvan throat singer and leads to a series of various scenes that recall ASMR videos. Manicured hands cut through a roll of gelatin, fry an egg, spray hair, or grab at plastic balls, generating aesthetically pleasing sights and sounds. Towards the end of the video, a panel closes over a hexagonal tunnel, rotating and repeating the process until the camera zooms out to reveal a grid of hexagonal rooms, each occupied by the arms busy at work.

Co-commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Toronto and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Spaghetti Blockchain was included in the travelling solo exhibition Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces at the New Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2019), followed by Mika Rottenberg: Spaghetti Blockchain at MOCA Toronto (2020) and Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2022).

Installations

Rottenberg's videos are often accompanied by objects and sculptural installations that echo their surreal worlds. NoNoseKnows (2015) features a pearl production facility in China's Zhejiang province, whose workers include an extremely tall woman with the uncanny ability to produce a plate of pasta every time she sneezes. The work was exhibited with a bag of cultured pearls at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) .

The human body and machinery combine in Rottenberg's 'Ponytail' series (2016), in which groomed ponytails protrude from holes in the wall and whip around, seemingly with lives of their own. The viewer may take part in generating movement in works such as #1 with cabbage and ponytail (2020), a participatory sculpture involving a chair and a handle, and #33 with bamboo and bicycle (2020), a sculpture fitted with pedals .

Exhibitions

Mika Rottenberg's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions internationally.

Solo exhibitions include Mika Rottenberg, Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles (2022); Mika Rottenberg, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2021); SNEEZE, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2020); Bowls Balls Souls Holes, Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2018).

Group exhibitions include Busan Biennale (2022); JSC on View: Mythologists, Julia Stoschek Foundation, Düsseldorf (2021); You and I don't live on the same planet, Taipei Biennial (2020); 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022

Mika Rottenberg
featured artworks

View 15 More
Cosmic Generator (Video Still) by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Cosmic Generator (Video Still), 2017 Single-channel video installation, sound, colour; 26:36 min
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Untitled Ceiling Projection by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Untitled Ceiling Projection, 2018 Single-channel video installation, sound, colour; 6:07 min
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Sneeze (Video Still) by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Sneeze (Video Still), 2012 Single-channel video installation, sound, colour
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
NoNoseKnows (Video Still) by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows (Video Still), 2015 Single-channel video installation, sound, colour
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Spaghetti Blockchain by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Spaghetti Blockchain, 2019 Single-channel 4K video installation, 7.1 surround sound, colour; 18:15 min.
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Sneeze by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Sneeze, 2012 Single-channel video installation, sound, colour; 3:02 min.
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
Cosmic Generator (AP) by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Cosmic Generator (AP), 2017 Single-channel video installation, colour, sound, 26 mins 36 secs
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Cosmic Generator (AP) by Mika Rottenberg contemporary artwork installation, moving image
Mika Rottenberg Cosmic Generator (AP), 2017 Single-channel video installation, colour, sound, 26 mins 36 secs
Taipei Fine Arts Museum
View 15 More

Mika Rottenberg
recent exhibitions

View 3 More
View 3 More

Represented by this
Ocula Member Gallery

Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong
Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris +7
View 3 More

Mika Rottenberg in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by Mika Rottenberg.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Mika Rottenberg
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login