Rhizome – Images of Thought

Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna

6 MARCH – 16 MAY 2020

Open by Appointment

Galerie Kandlhofer presents the multimedia exhibition Rhizome – Images of Thought, with works by five international female artists. The works of Tali Lennox (*1993 London, UK), Jillian Mayer (*1986 Miami, US), Nana Mandl (*1991 Graz, AT), Siggi Sekira (*1987 Odessa, UA) and Katerina Zbortkova (*1986 Tabor, CZ) are exemplary of a generation that has made cutting-edge practices, the interest in collaboration and material transformation its guiding principles. 

Rhizome shows new works from the fields of painting, sculpture and video installation as manifestations of artistic images of thought.  The group exhibition develops a practice of expansion of reality, which leads to a reflection on one’s own experiences and the resulting consequences. The observation of an event influences its reality as well as the result. This phenomenon is just as applicable to the smallest scales, when nature follows the laws of quantum mechanics, as to the observable world with its everyday situations.

The rhizome, a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, comprises a non-hierarchical leitmotif that counters traditional linear classification systems. The term is used in botany to define a rooted plant structure, and its philosophical-metaphorical meaning stands for a multi-branched, cross-referencing, continuously growing model of knowledge. Rhizomes permanently generate connections and ideas, while rejecting classification and dichotomy.¹  Rhizome – Images of Thought articulates a positioning a well as a repositioning through art and questions internalized knowledge. The implementation of this idea repeatedly incites new stimuli, which generate new interpretations and discussions. As a result, connecting elements are continuously being discovered and alternative ways of action are created. The meaning of one’s own role, as an observing and interpreting subject, manifests itself in the transformation of events by way of their contextualization. 

In her colourful collages, pictures, prints, and sculptures, Nana Mandl(*1991 Graz, AT) develops possible visual transformations and translations of the challenges and the excessive demands of today’s media. Her haptic collages combine elements of painting, embroidery and drawing with forms of the communicative and representative spheres of advertising, fashion and social media. Her multilayered works also reflect the globalized patchwork society in which we are living in today. 

The artist Jillian Mayer (*1986 Miami, US) explores the impact of the digital world on our lives, our bodies, and our identities. Her so-called “slumpies” celebrate those invisible networks that are tightly intertwined through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. and support the use of the telephone in a pleasant way. Mayer’s videos such as “I Am Your Grandma” are autobiographical diary entries, which the artist records for her unborn grandchildren. The work questions notions of mortality, fame, and the universal impetus for creation and legacy. By placing the video into a public forum like Youtube, Mayer investigates phenomenologically why people ultimately share their personal feelings with anonymous strangers. 

The sculptures by the artist Siggi Sekira (*1987 Odessa, UA) reinterpret Slavic mythology and investigate the coexistence of paganism and Christianity in rural, post- Soviet Ukraine. Pottery is exemplary of Ukrainian folk traditions and a form of cultural expression of the working class. With her sculptures, Sekira creates her own worlds alongside our present-day society and shows two works from the series „The Eve of Nymphs”, which are based on the Slavic fertility ritual of Ivan Kupala. 

Katerina Zbortkova’s (*1986 Tabor, CZE) series of paintings star Lil Miquela, a real life mannequin, sculpted by her Silicon Valley puppeteers. She lives in an unsettling fantasy world, engineered by Instagram algorithms and patriarchal beauty standards. In each of these exuberant canvasses Miquela is seen enacting various viral internet phenomena of the 21st century. Seemingly ephemeral online obsessions such as ‘what colour is the dress’ and ‘cats vs cucumbers’ are resurrected here in oil, from URL to IRL. To her fans Miquela is an inspiration. The sincerity of her online confessionals, and the energy of her perky pop music speak to a generation searching for a feeling. 

The paintings of  Tali Lennox (*1993 London, UK) are links and mediators between our real-life sphere and the spiritual one. Her impressive portraits draw parallels between German art of the 1920s and of the current 2020s. Lennox describes in particular the latter as a time of political and ecological decline, which captures the glittering escapism in a time of impending uncertainty. The people portrayed in Lennox’s work are mostly strangers whom she meets on the streets of New York and then photographs in a staged fashion that matches their stories. ¹ Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London, 1987.