Shirts vs Skins
17 Feb 2012 – 31 Mar 2012
We prevent the smell of sweat by applying perfume. We raise our voices to drown opposing arguments. To avoid stuff we make stuff. We are also jealous of objects, because their permanence reminds us of our own finitude. Yet we produce things, which aim to be durable, imperishable and are meant to outlast us. Frozen objects, the living dead. The contradiction is: The making of a successor, is as well as an insurance against time, the very embodiment of our own end. All this in mind, still we award each other tangible objects to capture short-lived triumphs. We take off our shirts, some of us, so that we can stand out. This show is about this fight between shirts and skins, objects and humans.
Laura Bartlett Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Shirts vs Skins by Danish artist Nina Beier. Beier’s work is concerned with hierarchies of display and value, content and frame, and the implicit contradictions in process, practice and presentation. Shirts vs Skins is a common form in sport games of denoting team affiliations in the absence of any formal uniform. Beier suggests an antagonism at the core of the relationship between man and creation, and asserts a combative status between surface and subject, image and object.
Besides having a number of similarities to a mango, Fruit, (all works 2012), here used as a paperweight, also carries a sticker ensuring freshness. This is the story of the organic object that has beaten the inevitable, and through petrification has risen to the status of permanence. In Fatigues, Beier uses vandal, stain, wear and tear resistant, fabrics designed for public spaces of different kinds. Beier has framed these textiles and tested both the physical limits of the non-absorbent material and the visual strategy of the design by soaking both frame and fabric in a wide array of inks, stains and dyes, leaving the materials to amalgamate following their own struggle.
The Mosquito is the brand name for a recent invention – an ultrasonic youth deterrent, which emits a sound meant to be only audible to people under the age of 25. The Blues, a series of framed sun-faded photographs that Beier has collected from the window display areas of hair salons, points to the archiving character and momentary format of photography. These blank portraits are framed under window glass and are aging hand in hand with the people they depict.
The title piece Shirts vs Skins is a glass vitrine containing 3 amateur golf trophies, awarded to the artists’ father’s since taking up this sport following his recent retirement. The empty shelves both await the future promise of this effort and its very limitation. Beier’s polymorphous works are in other words left to reflect upon their own sense of ‘being’.
Nina Beier was born in Denmark in 1975. She lives and works in Berlin. Beier studied at the Royal College of Art, London. Selected current and forthcoming group exhibitions include Art Unlimited, Art Basel, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen; Tate Modern, London. Recent solo exhibitions took place at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Standard (Oslo), Oslo, Croy Nielsen, Berlin. She worked collaboratively with Marie Lund between 2004 and 2009.Download PDF ↓