Solo show YDESSA HENDELES at Johann König Berlin


Johann König, Berlin is pleased to present THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW, the first show by German-born, Canadian exhibition maker Ydessa Hendeles as an artist.

Renowned for her pioneering site-specific installations staging contemporary art, found objects and historical artifacts, the Toronto-based Hendeles’s debut show in Berlin continues her interpretative exploration of cultural iconography to explore dualities and power relations, and in particular the power dynamics of the group in relation to the individual. As in earlier shows, her artistic decisions are inspired and informed by her interest in human gregariousness and our inclination to bond in pairs and in groups, defining ourselves by alliances determined by design or by fate. This Berlin exhibition conjures the past from the vantage point of the present, offering a personal perspective on a postwar culture uniquely defined by high expectations and hopes for the future, while also laden with heavy burdens and responsibilities.

This show marks Hendeles’s identity transition from exhibition-making as a curator to exhibition-making as an artist. THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW challenges conventional assumptions about the boundaries between artistic production, collecting, curating and exhibiting. The show is conceived to provide viewers with the integrated experience of an art installation, but it is also presented as a group of autonomous works, each standing on its own outside the context of the exhibition. It is comprised of photographs and text pieces in conjunction with antique clockwork key-wind tin toys and a custom-fabricated, painted-aluminium automaton that performs in a large mahogany vitrine.

This is Hendeles’s third show in Germany, following the critically acclaimed Partners (Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2003) and Marburg! The Early Bird! (2010). As gallerist and exhibition-maker, she has mounted more than 100 exhibitions, and began to incorporate her own artistic constructs in her curatorial practice in 1993 and pursued her artistic approach to curating in 2002 with The Teddy Bear Project. This was first seen in sameDIFFERENCE (2002) at her space in Toronto, subsequently remounted in Partners (2003), and then again in Noah’s Ark (National Gallery of Canada, 2004) and most recently, at Massimiliano Gioni’s invitation, in 10000 Lives (Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, 2010). Other Hendeles projects include: The Denslow’s Mother Goose Project in Predators & Prey (2006) and Survivors (The Punch and Judy Project) in Dead! Dead! Dead! (2007), both in Toronto, and Church and State (The Puss in Boots Project) in Marburg! The Early Bird! (2010) at the Kunstverein in the artist’s native Marburg. This show was named 2011 Exhibition of the Year by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, which cited it as “the strongest example—among many—of how Ydessa Hendeles has made curating an art form of its own.” Her most recent show, and her first in New York, was The Wedding (The Walker Evans Project), for Andrea Rosen Gallery, in December 2011.


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