Rhe: everything flows
Petah Coyne, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Andy Goldsworthy, Jane Hammond, Alfredo Jaar, Rosemary Laing, Cildo Meireles, Ana Mendieta, Jaume Plensa, Carolee Schneemann, Kate Shepherd, Michelle Stuart, Juan Uslé and Catherine Yass
Jan. 7 until Feb. 13, 2021
Presented by Galerie Lelong & Co. in New York
For its contribution to Galleries Curate: RHE, Galerie Lelong & Co is pleased to present Rhe: everything flows; a group exhibition including works by Petah Coyne, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Andy Goldsworthy, Jane Hammond, Alfredo Jaar, Rosemary Laing, Cildo Meireles, Ana Mendieta, Jaume Plensa, Carolee Schneemann, Kate Shepherd, Michelle Stuart, Juan Uslé and Catherine Yass.
“Rhe,” from Greek for that which flows, centers on the theme of water: its essential significance to life, as a bridge between people and cultures, and its status under threat from climate change.
The exhibition will encompass artworks in a myriad of media that reflect the contextual underpinnings of water through film, painting, photography, and performance art pieces, including the actual physical presence of water in mixed-media works.
Water is a resource with geo-political dimensions. In Alfredo Jaar’s Untitled (Water) E (1990), an image of a turbulent ocean conceals the face of a Vietnamese refugee on the other side, revealed through five strategically placed mirrors that implicate the viewer in the global refugee crisis.
Rosemary Laing’s photograph of a cascade comprising discarded refugees’ clothes on an actual dried riverbed speaks to the dual climate and refugee crisis in Australia.
Photographed near Shoalhaven’s Wreck Bay in New South Wales, the site is known for its many maritime disasters and rescues that have occurred over the last 200 years. A river is suggested through Rosemary Laing’s placement ofused, red-toned clothes which seem to flow seamlessly on the ground. The color red signifies life as much as death; marking the vitality and mortality of the human lives that have passed through the location over time
Like many of Meireles’s works, Aquaurum (2015) is in response to specific political situations. Meireles’s native Brazil produces approximately 12 percent of the world’s fresh water, however, there is a chronic shortage in the country’s most populous city, São Paulo.
The cleverly titled Aquaurum, which combines the Latin for “water” and “gold,” is comprised of two crystal glasses. The first is filled with gold, appearing as though it is the lining of the glass itself, the other filled with water.
The performative and immersive aspects of Ana Mendieta and Carolee Schneemann’s practices are expressed within their documentational photography and works on paper.
Mendieta made her silueta (silhouette) in diverse natural landscapes “to establish her ties to the universe” as in her film Silueta de Arena (1978) where her body, portrayed in sand, is gently ebbed away by the water.
A contemporary pioneer of performance art, Carolee Schneemann sought to depict a weightlessness of the body through the group performance Water Light/Water Needle (1966), with men and women interacting on suspended ropes in a gesture of collective dependency, a response to social and gender norms of the time.
Land artists Andy Goldsworthy and Michelle Stuart have dedicated decades of their career to meticulous observations of nature in situ.
Goldsworthy has often investigated earth’s remarkable staining qualities and has worked for years with the iron-rich red earth and stone found near his home and studio.
In Goldsworthy’s nine-minute film, a river stone that he has rubbed with red earth “bleeds” color into the water.
Michelle Stuart’s suite of thirty-five photographs Mysterious Tidal Fault (2019) investigates the traces of humanity’s effects on nature through the change in tides.
Michelle Stuart has described her affinity with water as profound. Though her work is associated with land art, voyage and boats are progenitors of memory and experiences. This boat functions as dream collector, recalling the California coastline of her birth.
The sound of water from Goldsworthy’s film is accompanied by the ongoing, rhythmic drip from an intimate sculpture by Jaume Plensa.
Plensa’s Freud’s Children VII is part of a 25-component installation work where vessels of various sizes affixed with a sculpture of a body part (such as faces and hands) are connected by the drip of a pump that supplies and fills it with water, an arrangement akin to closed-blood circulation.
Petah Coyne used a high perspective to achieve this image of the monks in Kyoto gathering for prayer.
Petah Coyne was inspired by the 1994 Japanese novel, The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa. The book takes place on an island, with water—as snow and as ice—shielding the characters as they hide from oppressive state control that eventually overwhelms, as in the intricate connections in this sculpture.
Ficre Ghebreyesus’s paintings are influenced by the colors and memories of his childhood and adolescence in Eritrea. This late landscape combines the bright colors of memory and the reality of a New England, probably Maine, coastline.
Jane Hammond uses collage as an intellectual and formal exercise. The photograph is a fiction, culled from multiple sources and printed as if it were a vintage photograph. As in her paintings, the meaning of an image depends upon its context.
“The reason I titled this Car Wash is that it captures looking through a windshield as though it were a painting. I made it by manipulating and recording soap and water on a blank enamel panel. The shapes don’t have obvious references to things so the liquid can call attention to the dynamic substance itself. It’s a very active painting created by an actual ‘event’ in time.” – Kate Shepherd
The monumental painting Soñe que Rvelabas (Liard) (2019-20) belongs to Juan Uslé’s best-known family of works (1997–ongoing), known for filmstrip-like brushstrokes that are applied on canvas guided by the artist’s heartbeat.
The painting is inspired by landscapes and memories both lived and dreamt: vibrations in bustling New York City, the fluidity of rivers and uncharted bodies of water, the colors of childhood in northern Spain. Soñe que Rvelabas (Liard) was created in New York and is titled after the Liard River in North America.
Catherine Yass’s Lighthouse (North), 2011 was captured while making her twelve-minute film of the same name, a dynamic portrait of the Royal Sovereign lighthouse located off the coast of East Sussex, England. The film made its US debut at Galerie Lelong in 2012.
A photographic work in the same series, Lighthouse (North north west, distant), 2011 has been acquired by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College. Its director, Dr. Ena Heller, writes: “Yass often talks about photography as language, noting that in order to understand it, one needs to study it, to deconstruct and understand it. In order to do that, she has experimented with the ‘wrong’ materials or chemicals; has shot under different light; has reversed the order of processes, and – as illustrated here – has superimposed positive and negative images.” Click here for the full write-up.