April 19, 2017 - The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago - Klein / Olson
April 19, 2017

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago

Astrid Klein, Endzeitgefühle (End time feelings), 1982. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

Klein / Olson
April 22–June 18, 2017

Opening: April 22, 5–8pm, with talk at 6pm

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
Cobb Hall, 4th Floor
5811 S. Ellis Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Thursday 10am–8pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

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For the final exhibition this season, the Renaissance Society presents the work of two artists, Astrid Klein and B. Ingrid Olson.

Side by side, works by Klein and Olson offer an opportunity to explore the affinities and differences in the artists’ respective approaches to sculpture, collage and photographic imagery. Their practices share a tendency to manipulate or call attention to space, as if testing out ways of being in the world. As space itself—whether physical or psychological—becomes subject matter, the artists also draw into focus dynamics of representation, social structures and negotiations of gender.

B. Ingrid Olson’s work responds to borders and the structure of space. Her photographs are performative, recording investigations of an individual body as it shifts in relations to its surroundings, selected objects and the camera. Within these images, the artist casts herself as the anonymous participant in her immediate environment and the active creator of an ambiguous pictorial field, full of blurs and mirrored doublings. Each work is the afterimage of an activity, but also a momentary pause in time as Olson triggers the shutter and flash. Presented in deep, open-faced acrylic frames, her photographs themselves become multi-dimensional objects.

Astrid Klein’s collages tease out the psychological spaces implied in existing imagery, paying close attention to how the female body is depicted, viewed or addressed. The artist adds evocative text fragments to images of women appropriated from popular culture, overlaying the scenes with notes of dissonance or ironic affirmations of the feminine roles they depict. In their extraction of familiar scenes, the collages take aim at “a woman’s place,” including the expectation of certain behavior or balance of power in gendered spaces. 

Scale plays a crucial role in much of the artists’ practices. Klein’s large black and white photoworks and her sculpture Flycatcher tower over the viewer, filling one’s field of vision. Klein responded to her experience as a woman in the masculine art scene in 1980s Germany by staking a spatial claim with her works, and this Renaissance Society presentation demonstrates how they come together to create a space both physical and affective within the gallery. Olson’s sculptures for this exhibition, conversely, are scaled more closely to the human body. The forms, made partially by hand and partially by computerized mill, suggest a kind of intimacy in their size, shape and placement. Positioned at waist height on the wall or in freestanding columns, they anticipate the presence of the viewer’s own body.

Astrid Klein lives and works in Cologne. B. Ingrid Olson lives and works in Chicago.

Curated by Solveig Øvstebø. Related public program includes events with Beatriz Colomina, Renee Gladman and Kate Zambreno; visit our website for full details.

Klein / Olson is supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen.

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago is committed to supporting ambitious artistic experimentation, primarily through the commissioning of new works, and to fostering rigorous, interdisciplinary discourse. In addition to the exhibition program, this independent, non-collecting museum hosts lectures, concerts, performances, screenings and readings, and regularly publishes catalogues and artist books. All of the Renaissance Society’s exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
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