La Kunsthalle Mulhouse Opens Anna Ostoya Transpositions

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse presents Anna Ostoya Transpositions on view June 5–August 24, 2014.

Anna Ostoya, Transposition I, 2013. Archival pigment print, acrylic, shellac, paper and palladium leaf on canvas, 100 x 200 cm. Courtesy the artist and Bortolami Gallery, New York

Anna Ostoya, Transposition I, 2013. Archival pigment print, acrylic, shellac, paper and palladium leaf on canvas, 100 x 200 cm. Courtesy the artist and Bortolami Gallery, New York

In a conceptual practice that incorporates collage, photomontage, painting, sculpture, and writing, Anna Ostoya (b. 1978 in Krakow, Poland, lives and works in Brooklyn) has developed a singular and critical body of works that concentrates on avant-garde aesthetics, particularly on the representation of feminism, the tension between image and media, and the legacy of 20th-century art movements including Constructivism, Dada, Art Informel, Expressionism, and Minimalism. Recycling pre-existing images, materials and histories, Ostoya challenges notions of deconstruction and authenticity. Her work forms a continuity out of fragments as a process of creating new meanings and as a vehicle for political change. Using materials that range from the precious (gold leaf) to the mundane (newspaper) and from the industrial (aluminum leaf) to the organic (blood), Ostoya calls into question the very conventions she appropriates.

Transpositions is the first institutional exhibition of the artist in France and the title of a new series of works conceived for La Kunsthalle Mulhouse. Over a period of eight months, Ostoya followed a work plan and set up rules to experiment with different modes of decision making. The history and architecture of La Kunsthalle’s building itself, a former industrial factory functioning as a foundry from the early 1920s through the 1980s, directly inspired the production of the pieces. The series are derived from considerations regarding past and present work practices and procedures. In her working process for Transpositions, as for some of her previous series, Ostoya reflects on the role and position of an artist in society: she disputes the stereotypes applied to an artist—that of a free spirit, an entrepreneur, or a worker. Testing the possibilities for artistic production, she juxtaposes the notion of art as an emotional, spontaneous, and disinterested expression with the notion of art as a rational, controlled, and purposeful endeavor.

Transpositions comprises a series of ten large, horizontal new compositions, each spanning 100 by 200 cm, and in which Ostoya sets into motion a leitmotif: a square is transposed from one canvas to the next in a sequence of ten. The square—a shape prized for the purity of its form by the Suprematists and other modernists—evolves as it slides from one work to the next as if on an assembly line. Recycling leftover materials from earlier works and reclaiming distinct art-historical traditions, these compositions are retrospective investigations of historical permanence and transition, continuity and rupture. Transposition—the act of transferring something from one place or context to another and a term used in various pursuits, including music, law, mathematics, genetics, and chess—implies both Ostoya’s methodology and the literal movement of the square across the canvases, but it also alludes to the generational and cultural transference of ideas and forms. The heterogeneous materials and techniques used by Ostoya range from oil paint and acrylic to paper, palladium leaf, and shellac, which she cuts, pastes, apposes, and transposes.

Curator: Martha Kirszenbaum

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse / La Fonderie
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68093 Mulhouse Cedex
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