Mika Rottenberg

Mika Rottenberg

M Leuven

Mika Rottenberg, “Squeeze”, 2010.
Video still, Single channel video installation, duration: 20 min.

October 31, 2011

Mika Rottenberg

M Museum
Vanderkelenstraat 28
3000 Leuven, Belgium

Exceptional women, such as the powerful Heather Foster, the sizeable Queen Raqui (‘Her body utterly amazing, her agility astounding’), and the super tall erotic model Bunny Glamazone, become absurd characters in the colourful films of Mika Rottenberg (°1976)—striking women who use their bodies as production machines. Rottenberg shows working processes in which physical waste materials such as sweat, blood, hair or tears sometimes combined with salad or make-up to produce new products in loops consisting of series of rather enigmatic scenes. It’s said that Rottenberg makes ‘seriously political art that is preposterously funny.’ After all, with her almost surrealist films, Rottenberg comments on existing ideas about female self-determination, the idealisation of the body in the media and advertising world, and the position of workers in a globalised, capitalist economy. She makes us think about the ways in which value is created. In this the starting point is often the miraculous nature of reality. The artist said: ‘I see a lot of magic in so many mundane moments’. Rottenberg is a visual storyteller; her humorous, candy-coloured films, look like a sort of cross-over between fairytales and advertising films. She presents her films in complex installations which consist partly of her film sets. They can be experienced as ‘viewing machines’, and ensure that the viewer also has a physical relationship with the work.

This fall the films of Mika Rottenberg receive their Belgian première in M Leuven. Rottenberg both transforms the spaces in M into interconnected viewing devices that showcase her work, and presents her video works in between the historical collection of the museum. The show presents seven of her video works, ranging from the early single-channel ‘Julie’ (2004) to her most recent project ‘Squeeze’ (2010). Curator: Eva Wittocx.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with De Appel Amsterdam and Notthingham Contemporary.

Mika Rottenberg was born in Buenos Aires in 1976, and holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2000) and an MFA from Columbia University (2004). Solo exhibitions include De Appel Amsterdam, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; La Maison Rouge, Paris; KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin; and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. Her work has been exhibited in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art; the Tate Modern, London; Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao and New York); The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Uncertain States of America: American Art in the Third Millenium (multiple venues, 2005–2006). She lives and works in New York.

Recently the first major publication on Mika Rottenbergs oeuvre was published, in partnership with De Appel, Amsterdam, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York and M Museum Leuven. The book will provide the most comprehensive analysis of Rottenberg’s oeuvre to date, with previously unpublished archival material and new visual sequences designed in collaboration with Project Projects, New York. Authors: Linda Williams, Hsuan L. Hsu, Efrat Mishori, Ann Demeester as well as new interviews between the artist and he hired performers: Heather Foster, Raqui and Leona. Published by Gregory R. Miller & Co.

This exhibition is part of Playground festival, a collaboration between M Museum Leuven and STUK Arts centre Leuven. The opening of the exhibition, on November 3 from 6pm onwards, takes place at the same time as the opening of Playground festival: a double bill evening where several performances can be combined in a unique joint programme. More information: www.playgroundfestival.be

*Image above:
Courtesy of Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery

Mika Rottenberg
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M Leuven
October 31, 2011

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