Our show will spotlight and hopefully partner with several galleries and institutions around the globe. This past autumn, KW Institute for Contemporary Art presented the first solo exhibition by British artist Lucy Skaer in Berlin. Comprising of a large body of new work embedded in a selection of existing works from the last ten years, the exhibition presents the most substantial survey of Skaer’s work to date in Germany. Lucy Skaer (born 1975 in Cambridge, GB) draws on pre-existing imagery, narrative and forms shaped by usage and the determinations based on mass production and global trade to make combinations of sculpture, film and print. Form, meaning, and value are traced in her work through various states of formal and allegorical existence.
For her new commission for KW, Lucy Skaer continues her scrutiny of the conventional classification of objects and production methods in critical exchange with art historical motives and references. Skaer aims to unite these leitmotifs that have long accompanied her work into one large-scale sculptural tableau. Here, she draws from her own oeuvre, reworking her existing sculptures to become representations of animals in a medieval hunting scenery referencing the famous Livre de chasse, a medieval transcript with miniature illuminations on Renaissance hunting techniques from 1331-1391. Doing so, Skaer explores the mutable meaning of these works and playfully critiques their language of desire, their status as definitive works of art and their potential for self-reproduction. In line with her prevailing attitude she rejects the understanding of materials or works as finite things, recognizing every manifestation as only one latent version amongst many others. Skaer’s sculptures function in that way more like idiosyncratic processes, which insert themselves into an already existing chain of material conversions and transformations, consuming one manifestation to give birth to another.
The exhibition ends January 7th in Berlin and then it will travel to the Salzburger Kunstverein in February 2018.
Anna Gritz is the curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin where she organized exhibitions with Paul Elliman, Nicholas Mangan, Margaret Honda and Lucy Skaer. Previously she held curatorial positions at the South London Gallery (SLG) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, where she curated film, performance, and exhibitions and commissioned new works by artists including Juliette Blightman, Michael Smith, Bonnie Camplin, Kapwani Kiwanga, Jill Magid, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Lis Rhodes and others as well as the group exhibitions Last Seen Entering the Biltmore (2014), and independently Duh – Art and Stupidity (co-curated with Paul Clinton) at Focal Point Gallery (2015). Her writing has been featured in Art Monthly, Art Agenda, frieze, frieze d/e, Mousseand Cura, exhibition catalogues and books. She is currently working on an exhibition with Judith Hopf, scheduled to open at KW in February 2018.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art was founded by Klaus Biesenbach and a group of young art enthusiasts in a practically derelict former margarine factory in Berlin-Mitte in the early 1990s. Since then, KW has delivered a significant contribution to the development of Berlin as an international center for contemporary art.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art aims to approach the central questions of our times through the production, display, and dissemination of contemporary art. Since its inception, 25 years ago, KW has established itself, not only as an institution, but also as a dynamic and lively space for progressive practices within the Berlin art scene, as well as in an international context. By means of exhibitions and various event formats, KW has aligned itself towards the current tendencies of the national and international art and cultural discourse, and has actively developed them on a collaborative level with artists, institutions, and by means of commissioned works. As an institution for contemporary art without a collection of its own, the team at KW maintains a high degree of flexibility in creating its programs and addressing its audience.
Under the responsibility of director Krist Gruijthuijsen, the current program evolves around the central objective of using the participating artists’ perspective as a starting point, entailing their subjects and points of view as ways to reflect on social and political issues. The institution is thereby conceived as a social space that facilitates contemplation and exchange between different protagonists and cultures, consistently challenging its audience. The building complex includes exhibition halls, apartments, offices, and event spaces, as well as the Café Bravo in the courtyard, that was designed by Dan Graham in 1999.
In addition to its internationally renowned exhibition program, KW collaborates on a regular basis with national and international partners, such as MoMA PS1, the Biennale di Venezia and Documenta in Kassel.