Cecily Brown and Nathalie Djurberg

Cecily Brown and Nathalie Djurberg

Kestner Gesellschaft

Left image: Cecily Brown, “Lady with a Little Dog,” 2009–2010 (*Detail). Oil on canvas. © Cecily Brown. Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Gagosian Gallery, New York. Photo: Jochen Littkemann
Right image: Nathalie Djurberg with music by Hans Berg, “Snakes Knows it’s Yoga,” 2010, (*Detail). Filmstill. © Nathalie Djurberg. Courtesy Nathalie Djurberg, Prada Collection, Milan, Gió Marconi, Milan, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York

August 26, 2010

Cecily Brown
Based on a True Story

Nathalie Djurberg | Music Hans Berg
Snakes Knows it’s Yoga

3 September – 7 November 2010

Thursday 2 September, 7 pm

Goseriede 11
30159 Hanover, Germany

Cecily Brown – Based on a True Story
The New York based painter Cecily Brown (*1969 in London) has become well known for her expressive works, often depicting explicitly sexual content, that shift between figurative and abstract. Her new works featured in the exhibition Based on a True Story show a great emphasis on the development of complex and rich textures whose content can be read in multiple ways.

For Cecily Brown, abstraction and figuration are not two separate worlds, but interwoven facets of seeing. The works in the Hanover exhibition embody this oscillation between the appearance of the figure and the emergence of the painterly method in abstraction. The phrase “based on a true story” usually introduces films or novels drawn from “real life.” As an exhibition title it raises the question whether the stories recounted by the paintings are true—but what is a “true” story, in fact?

Brown’s work is firmly rooted in the tradition of European painting. She draws from a multitude of references such as the detailed depictions of hell by Hieronymus Bosch or Edgar Degas’ succinct and withdrawn tension, the physical directness of Francis Bacon or Lucian Freud, or images from Struwwelpeter, Alice in Wonderland as well as found photographs from magazines. Sometimes painted with great gestural vigor, sometimes in careful, selective contact with the canvas, Brown’s works are a stirring celebration of painting. A cosmos of images, sounds and impressions is translated into paint upon the canvas—in the end, the true story lies in the moments of perception and the discoveries of shapes that come to form atmospheres and stories waiting to be told by the viewers upon confronting the works.

A publication with an introduction by Veit Görner and texts by Angus Cook and Kathrin Meyer will be published by Snoeck, Cologne. The exhibition will travel to the GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art in The Hague where it will be on view from November 20, 2010 to February 27, 2011.

Nathalie Djurberg | Music Hans Berg
Snakes knows it’s Yoga

Having become well known for her animated films, Nathalie Djurberg (*1978 in Lysekil, Sweden) has always dealt with themes such as obsession, power, lust, and violence. As with her contribution to the Venice Biennial in 2009, in the exhibition Snakes Knows it’s Yoga (2010) the viewer encounters not only animated films but also a sculptural ensemble. The vast spatial installation immerses a multitude of plasticine figures, displayed under plexiglass covers on over forty wooden plinths, in various shades of light, and not least in the ingenious, masterful music composed by Hans Berg that accompanies the two films belonging to the ensemble.

In one of these films the sentence “Snakes knows it’s Yoga,” which gives both work of art and exhibition their titles, appears on a stage where a yogi is being torn to pieces by a snake. The traditional practice of yoga aims at a release from the burden of physical life and an achievement of spiritual enlightenment. The recurring issue of violence and hence suffering and pain in Djurberg’s art takes a new turn in this regard. How and why is pain taken on and borne? In an exotistic manner the sculptural personnel of ascetics, shamans, mystics such as dervishes and fakirs, yogis, holy monks, and deities represents a notion of enlightenment and ecstasy. The second film points in this direction as well when a naked woman gets high by licking a frog—a shamanic practice to enter the spiritual world. Within all this, Djurberg does not miss the opportunity to give her work a wicked, black-humored twist with a scatological aesthetic.

This exhibition tours in 2011 to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Kunstforeningen GL STRAND in Copenhagen. A joint catalogue will be published in October 2010 by Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst Nuernberg with texts by Hans Berg and Kathrin Meyer, Pernille Fonnesbech, Florian Heesch, and Kristin Schrader.

Opening hours:
Tuesday through Sunday and on holidays 11 am to 6 pm
Thursday 11 am to 8 pm
For more information please contact Silke Janßen at presse@kestner.org

The kestnergesellschaft is supported by the state of Lower Saxony.

The exhibition with Cecily Brown is supported by Nord/LB and by the patrons’ circle of the kestnergesellschaft.

The exhibition with Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg is supported by the patrons’ circle of the kestnergesellschaft and kunstkomm, the young patrons’ circle of the kestnergesellschaft. The exhibition takes place under the patronage of the Swedish embassy.


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Kestner Gesellschaft
August 26, 2010

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