Cosima von Bonin, Andrea Bowers, Christian Jankowski,
Sean Landers, Adam McEwen
Mar. 22 until Apr. 25, 2021
Presented by Petzel in New York
Proud to participate in Galleries Curate: RHE, Petzel is pleased to present the online exhibition Hydrosphere, organized following the inaugural curatorial subject of water, on view beginning March 22, 2021 – World Water Day.
The word RHE is borrowed from the Heraclitean aphorism panta rhei, meaning “everything flows.” Evoking the characteristics and effects of water: transience and interconnectivity, the new platform brings together galleries online and circulates exhibitions all over the world. Initially held together by the connected theme of physical bodies of water, the works on view in Hydrosphere speak to the nature of play, voyage, marvel, and even threat (of degradation and catastrophe), that the people, creatures, and lives existing in proximity to water embody.
Here we see water represented in relation to landscape: the vastness of the sea, the mysteries of the ocean floor, the longevity of an iceberg, and the travels of objects and individuals across the many different bodies of water that we live amongst. Like the natural and near-constant movement and fluctuations of water itself, these disparate works range from poetic, humorous, wry, to lively – the animated sculptures of Cosima von Bonin, monumental seascapes meticulously painted by Sean Landers, and the absorbent cellulose structures of Adam McEwen coming together like tributaries to a larger body.
For more information about the works of Cosima von Bonin, Andrea Bowers, Christian Jankowski, Sean Landers, and Adam McEwen, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cosima von Bonin
"We can pull a moral pulse from von Bonin’s gimmicks and diversions, but it’s an ambivalent one—her sculptures, while dressed for a party, also reference the cost of unchecked consumption, reckless pollution, and state violence. Indeed, she often sneaks a political volt among works that are bluntly impassive…like the ocean, a longtime subject of von Bonin’s work, her project is nothing if not elusive."
— Annie Godfrey Larmon, "Cosima von Bonin," Artforum, Summer 2018.
"As a kid, I was always a hermit. I think of myself as a hermit crab. We had a monkey, Mr. Nelson, and we had dogs and cats. Once a day I walked alone on the beach. I was three years old, and I wore shorts fastened with elastic, and I stuffed everything I found in them—crabs, jellyfish, everything. Then I put them on the lunch table. I never had anything to do with art, it was always the beach and animals, animals, animals. I love strange animals. I love aardvarks and snails and all creatures. In fact I just freed two lobsters. Lobsters are very intelligent and some grow to 140 years old. I went to the fish shop. A guy in front of me bought five lobsters and I knew how they were going to die. So the next day I went there and got the biggest ones. I paid $200. I said please don’t harm them, because their legs break easily. I couldn’t say I was going to free them. The ocean is ice cold, so I was afraid, maybe they won’t survive. But I looked it up on the Internet, and they will be fine. When they are in the tanks, they hate it. They get over-crowded and eat each other."
— Eleanor Heartney, “In Conversation: Cosima von Bonin with Eleanor Heartney,” The Brooklyn Rail, April 4, 2018.
In the summer of 2012, Christian Jankowski created the installation Review as part of his second exhibition with Petzel, titled Discourse News. For Review, Jankowski invited art journalists and critics to write a hand-written review on the artwork he would eventually make with their reviews. After finishing with their texts, they were asked to place the pages inside an empty bottle of their choice and deliver them to the gallery. The final installation consisted of approximately 100 bottles, sealed with red wax and spread across the main room of the gallery. With the reviews sealed, they were forever bound from being read, rendering their intended use into ghost-like forms.
Review – Waterproof Test (also 2012) presents a series of photographs documenting the bottles used in the Review installation, on a journey down New York’s East River, which enters the Atlantic Ocean. But the bottles never reach the open water. Jankowski placed them in the river only briefly to test their water resistance. The somewhat anachronistic messages in a bottle – with their sealed, secret contents intended for an unknown recipient – were allowed to bob up and down in the waves. In the end, Jankowski fished them all out: they passed the test. Each of the photographs depicts a single, floating bottle framed in close-up; nothing is shown beyond the bounds of the water, which thus acts as a kind of white cube. The only points of reference are handwritten on the photograph’s matte: the name of the critic who wrote the review in the depicted bottle and the name of the publication that they most often write for.
What Can I Write To Truly Move You,
To Reach You With These Words.
I Want You To Recognize Yourself In My Paintings,
For You To See This Fellow Voyager And Say Ahoy
“Together, they suggest the traditional theme of the voyage of life…as we navigate the wide seas of existence. Landers makes this point explicit in a piece subtitled Epilogue 1 by placing a real captain’s wheel in front of the show’s largest painting: a boldly cinematic expanse of empty ocean that invites us to step up and set course.”
— Joseph R. Wolin, “Sean Landers: The Artist Sets sail on Stormy Existential Seas,” Time Out New York, June 2-8, 2011