February 14, 2009 - Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst - Josephine Meckseper
February 14, 2009

Josephine Meckseper

Josephine Meckseper
21st February – 3rd May 2009

Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich


Situated somewhere between the trappings of political activism and mass consumerism, the work of Josephine Meckseper (born 1964 in Lilienthal, lives and works in New York) functions like sculptural collages that evoke the paradoxes of the current capitalist value system. In Meckseper’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland, the migros museum für gegenwartkunst is exhibiting a series of new works investigating the complex interaction between the auto and oil industries and the war in Iraq.

In her most recent works shown at the migros museum für gegenwartskunst, Meckseper questions the values and morals of American society in light of the USA’s invasion of Iraq. She employs emblems of the American oil and auto industries to represent both their economic success and, likewise, their downfall. The major work in the exhibition is the strikingly edited video work 0% Down (2008) with its industrial soundtrack, “Total War.” Elegant, fast, and powerful cars lifted from American advertising spots emerge swiftly as ironic references to the perverse and manipulative rhetoric of the auto industry’s advertisements, which use military visual language in aggressive sales strategies. The life-size works created for this exhibition, Untitled (Bunker) (2009), modeled after a military bunker, and Untitled (Oil Pump) (2009), which replicates an oil pump, become symbols of the war for oil. The work Unable Bodies (2008) – a medical walker adorned with typical American emblems including the Bible, the American flag, an oil canister and a foxtail – denounces the downside of the invasion via an undisguised reference to crippled veterans, while the installation Negative Horizon (2008) satirizes car-centric American society. The built-in vitrine Fall of the Empire (2007) and the platform sculpture Ten High (2007) allude to the death throes of an imploded economic model. Meckseper adroitly dissects and re-contextualizes such border transgressions without forcing ideological dogma on the spectator. Like a double agent, she plays both sides off against each other, deftly changing the role of the observer and, by using varying perspectives, offers up a reappraisal of contemporary politics and the strategies of advertising rhetoric.

Meckseper, who currently lives in New York, grew up in Germany in a politically-minded family. After her studies at the Universität der Künste (University of Fine Art) in Berlin, she attended the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, where she documented the Rodney King riots and witnessed growing patriotism after the outbreak of the Gulf War. During the following years she participated in significant group exhibitions at renowned institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006), the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2006), and the Tate Modern, London (2006), and staged solo exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2007), Museum of Modern Art, New York, with Mikhael Subotzky (2008), and at the Bremer Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst (The Bremen Society for Contemporary Art) (2008).

Kurator of the exhibition: Heike Munder

CATALOGUE: On the occasion of the exhibition JRP|Ringier will publish a catalogue with texts by Heike Munder, Rachel Hooper, Sylvère Lotringer in conversation with Paul Virilio in June 2009. The catalogue is a collaboration between migros museum für gegenwartskunst, Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst Münster and Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston.

INFORMATION: For image material and other information please contact: presse@migrosmuseum.ch

OPENING HOURS: Tues / Wed / Fri Midday–6 pm, Thurs Midday–8 pm, Sat / Sun 11 am – 5 pm. Entrance to the museum on Thursday between 5 pm and 8 pm is free.

HOLIDAYS: On 1st May the museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm.

migros museum für gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich

T. +41 44 277 20 50
F. +41 44 277 62 86


The migros museum für gegenwartskunst is an institution of the Migros Culture Percentage.


Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
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