Josephine Meckseper and Lisa Anne Auerbach

Josephine Meckseper and Lisa Anne Auerbach

Nottingham Contemporary

Exhibition view, Josephine Meckseper, Arndt & Partner, Berlin, 2008 Photo: Bernd Borchardt, Berlin Background: 0% Down, 2008.
© The artist.

July 14, 2009

Josephine Meckseper
25 July – 6 September

Lisa Anne Auerbach
12 September – 18 October
In the window

Nottingham Contemporary
Weekday Cross

In advance of our opening in mid November, Nottingham Contemporary has commissioned, Josephine Meckseper and Lisa Anne Auerbach, to make new works. They will be shown in the large front window of our new building, facing the busy street. In quite distinct ways both artists playfully draw on the sign systems of commerce in order to immanently critique the global rise of capitalist fundamentalism. The installations will echo the retail environment around that part of the building.

Meckseper’s critique of how politics play out in the public sphere has evolved from a documentary approach into an increasingly direct examination of the destructive commercial interests in the war in Iraq. american apparel is an entirely mirrored space featuring a sculpture of three tyres (metonyms for the ‘Big Three’?) on a chrome conveyor belt – this element is titled Sabotage on Auto Assembly Line to Slow it Down – alongside two videos shown on stacked television monitors. One of the videos is simply a continuous image of a shattered screen (Shattered Screen). The other, the conceptual core of the installation, is a montage of various car advertisements that flooded the US airwaves in early 2008. 0% Down reveals the violence latent in the otherwise appealing commercials, turning the fetishization of the car in on itself. “The very design of a product is a mirror reflecting its meanings and desires but concealing the power structure implicit in its fabrication” (Meckseper). A sense of instability haunts the clean surfaces of these seemingly benign objects, as if the “reason for their existence is the anticipation of their own destruction”.

At first glance Lisa Anne Auerbach’s installation could be taken for a high-spirited display in a women’s clothes store. Several cheerleaders’ costumes – in yarn rather than lycra – appear on mannequins. Behind them is a photomural showing young women modelling the outfits in a Robin Hood-themed location in Southern California. They offer a post-feminist twist on Robin’s Merry Men. On closer inspection phrases echoing Nottingham’s radical political history become legible on the knitwear, resonating with the concerns of today’s anti-capitalist movement. Robin Hood, as both an overly-commodified cliché and the original re-distributor of wealth, is what ties Los Angeles, with its vast movie industry, to Nottingham, home to Sherwood Forest and medieval buildings contemporaneous with the legendary outlaw, many of them near the new Nottingham Contemporary. For our window display Auerbach has created what she calls ‘Sherwood Chic’. Using knitting as a means to begin a political conversation and to intervene in social life, her radical and participatory knitwear gleefully challenges 21st century knitters to abandon knitting patterns and invent for themselves: “Stop making scarves, start making trouble.”

These are Auerbach’s and Meckseper’s first solo exhibitions in the UK. Designed by Caruso St John and opening on the 14th November, Nottingham Contemporary will be one of the leading and largest centres for contemporary art in England. We are in the centre of the city, 1 hour and 45 minutes by train from London.

Directions at

0115 924 2421

Nottingham Contemporary

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Nottingham Contemporary
July 14, 2009

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