Gruppenausstellung - WHO ARE YOU? - Pressemitteilung                                                                                  

Thorsten Brinkmann | Boo Ritson | Clarina Bezzola | Hannu Karjalainen

Faceless Tableaux Vivants
New portraits in photography and video art

Group Exhibition



June 26 to August 16, 2008
Opening Thursday, June 26, 2008, 6 -9 pm
Galerie Adler New York


Galerie Adler New York is pleased to announce "Who are you? – Faceless Tableaux Vivants" featuring the four young international artists Thorsten Brinkmann, Boo Ritson, Clarina Bezzola and Hannu Karjalainen.

Emerging in early 19th century, the "tableaux vivants" originally were re-enactments of famous pieces of art by actors or models for the instruction and entertainment of the upper class society. In their own way, each of the artists develops this concept further, playing with the idea of "living pictures" and "staged portrait photography", starting out from central themes of paintings and sculptures but translating them in photography, video and performance.

The common theme they work on is the portrait which classically is to display the likeness, status, personality, or even the mood of the person depicted. But what if the portrayed persons do not show their faces, or when they hide their sentiments covered by painted masks, running colour, textile fibre sculptures or all kinds of everyday-life and furniture objects?

Thorsten Brinkmann's (*1971 Stuttgart, Germany) photographic self-portraits turn this classic genre upside down. His work is initiated by objects discarded by civilization, ordinary things like bottles, flower pots, lamp shades or shelves. The results are strikingly picturesque and unconventional at the same time: dimmed colours with soft contours reminiscent of the classical three-quarters portrait have us reassess our viewing habits. The visual object is covered, hidden, and slightly deviates from the context we are used to, drawing us into a picture-puzzle between photography and painting.

A pair of bloodshot eyes peers blearily from what appears to be a painted bust, but there is an unmistakable glint of something living, and this is no straight-forward portrait. Boo Ritson (*1969 Surrey, UK) covers her models' faces and bodies with barrier cream and household paint, following their outline, hair and clothing. Rather than having her subjects impersonate a pre-existent concept, she draws from pure American pop stereotypes and turns her subjects into scurrile versions of their own self.

Transformation is the word that comes to mind with the works of Clarina Bezzola (*1970 Zurich, Switzerland). Coming from a soprano career at the opera, she has a strong connection to stage scenes and theatrical dramaturgy. Her characters become living sculptures, seem to tell us a story about metamorphoses, as we watch them in the process of transforming into fences, mattresses, or billowing mega-corps without any clear shapes. With their faces often hidden, her protagonists' expressions are only partly visible and her performances focus on gestures captured during strongly expressive movements.

The protagonists of Hannu Karjalainen's (*1978 Haapavesi, Finland) video works are lonely, enigmatic, seemingly soulless creatures. "Man in a blue Shirt" builds a tension between the indexical traits of the image and the painterly gestures animating and transforming its surface when the weathered skin becomes replaced by the gloss of the pouring paint. In an uncanny way, Karjalainen's work enacts what Roland Barthes described in photography, when he noted that the photographic image was a "living image of a dead thing", incapable of differentiating between the dead and the living - animating them equally, making them equally real.


Thorsten Brinkmann
*1971 Stuttgart, Germany

1994 - 1997 Studies of Visual Communication in Kassel, Prof. Neusüss
1997 - 2002 Studies of Fine Arts, HfbK Hamburg, Prof. Blume
2002 Diploma in Fine Arts, HfbK Hamburg
2002 - 2004 Advanced Studies in Fine Arts on invitation
of Prof. F.E. Walther

Courtesy Galerie Kunstagenten, Berlin

Boo Ritson
*1969 Surrey, UK

2003 - 2005 Royal College of Art, MA Sculpture
1999 - 2002 Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College.
BA Fine Art (First)
Courtesy David Risley Gallery, London

Clarina Bezzola
*1970 Zurich, Switzerland

1995 BFA, Parsons School of Design, New York

lives and works in New York.
Hannu Karjalainen
*1978 Haapavesi, Finnland

2005 Master of Art, University of Industrial Arts Helsinki,
Department of Photography
2001 Bachelor of Art, University of Industrial Arts Helsinki,
Department of Photography
1997-98 Muurla School of Photography

Courtesy Gallery TaiK, Helsinki

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