Exhibitions

Forever is Composed of Nows

Lisa Oppenheim

9 / 27 / 2014 - 1 / 18 / 2015

Lisa Oppenheim, "Forever is Composed of Nows", Exhibition view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2014, Photo: Fred Dott
Lisa Oppenheim, "Forever is Composed of Nows", Exhibition view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2014, Photo: Fred DottLisa Oppenheim, "Forever is Composed of Nows", Exhibition view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2014, Photo: Fred DottLisa Oppenheim, "Forever is Composed of Nows", Exhibition view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2014, Photo: Fred DottLisa Oppenheim, "Forever is Composed of Nows", Exhibition view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2014, Photo: Fred Dott

This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me

(Emily Dickinson)

Over the past decade, artist Lisa Oppenheim has steadily developed a unique body of work exploring the use and transformation of pre-existing images. The exhibition, Forever is Composed of Nows, shows her most recent works. Oppenheim's examination of photography is conceptual: her work engages material and techniques of the medium to question the conditions of image production. She explores photography's indexical and documentary features and the way in which its technical apparatus is rooted in particular cultural and historical contexts. For her exhibition at the Kunstverein, Oppenheim introduces new materials such as textiles and ceramics as an extension of her investigation into photographic representation.

The title of the show is a quote by Emily Dickinson and reveals a telling connection to the notion of history in relation to Oppenheim’s practice. While often using imagery from the recent or more distant past, Oppenheim always locates the experience of making and viewing in the present. In La Quema (2014), Oppenheim creates photographs of smoke from a kiln by seminal Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo and in a perfomative gesture, re-exposes them to the light from fire, and also extends the representation with a series of ceramic tiles referencing clay native to regions in Mexico. In Jacquard Weaves (2014), jacquard woven textiles are created using digital images from Seth Siegelaub’s textile collection. In this project, she forges a photographic connection between the legacy of conceptual practices and proto-computer technology with conditions of loss and interference in our digital age.

Consistently in Oppenheim’s practice representation and artistic process are collapsed. Images are reworked in the light of the literal and metaphorical present. A light in the darkroom produces an image of some other smoke from some other time that bears only a trace resemblance to the source. What matters is what has changed.

Nature is a haunted house--but Art--is a house that tries to be haunted.
(Emily Dickinson)


The exhibition is accompanied by the artist’s first monographic publication developed in collaboration with Grazer Kunstverein and FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and published by Sternberg Press.
 
Lisa Oppenheim was born in New York in 1975, where she still lives and works. She received her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School for the Arts at Bard College in 2002 and soon after took part in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program. From 2004 to 2005 she was a resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. Her work has recently been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, the 21er Haus in Vienna and the Grazer Kunstverein. Upcoming and current exhibitions include the Guggenheim Museum, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle Berlin, The Art Gallery of Ontario, MASS MoCA, The Israel Museum, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.


The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Rudolf Augstein Stiftung and Adolf Fette GmbH & Co KG.