Jo Longhurst / Penelope Umbrico / Mariken Wessels
Curated by David Evans
Galerie Andreas Schmidt presents a new exhibition of works by 3 artists who engage with notions of perfection and imperfection in photography.
London-based Jo Longhurst is primarily known for her projects around prize whippets and gymnasts, and the theme of perfection is complemented by a preoccupation with very high production values. The gallery presents a section of her famous series Twelve dogs, twelve bitches (2003). In addition it displays prints Untitled (Disgrace I-II) , Untitled (Mangueira I-IX), Untitled (Mangueira diptych) (all 2016) from her more recent engagement with a gymnastics squad located in a favela of Rio di Janeiro. The latter also represents a stylistic switch with Longhurst evoking bodies in flux by interacting with the gymnasts using a cheap scanning wand. Appropriately, she envisages more informal modes of presentation for a series marked by improvisation and unpredictability.
Penelope Umbrico lives and works in New York. Unlike Longhurst, she tends to deal with online photographic detritus, most famously sunsets cropped from amateur photographs found on Flickr. For this show, she uploaded 1000 files that were downloaded by Andreas Schmidt in Berlin and then delivered to a local Media Markt to be made into postcard size prints. They were then installed as a wall-sized grid used double-sized tape. Suns from Sunsets from Flickr has been adapted to different locations around the world since 2006. The gallery is also displaying Umbrico’s new folio Range (2014) in which she uses a range of smartphone camera apps to re-mix canonical photographs of mountains published by Aperture over the last half-century or so.
Mariken Wessels operates from Amsterdam. She makes and exhibits prints, but is primarily know for her innovative photo-books. The gallery shows two well-known examples: Queen Ann. P.S. Belly cut off (2010) and Taking off. Henry My Neighbor (2015). Both books are based on amateur photographs, found and edited by Wessels to generate open-ended, complex narratives. They are underpinned by the assumption that crude distinctions between the amateur (motivated by love) and the professional (working with some notion of perfection) should be continuously challenged.
The starting point for this exhibition was a recent request from Robert Shore, editor of Elephant Magazine, for writings on perfection for the print and online versions of the publication, to be published in the next few months. It is pleasing, therefore, that the gallery hosts the Berlin-launch of Shore’s new book Beg, Steal and Borrow: Artists against Originality (London: Laurence King, 2017).
David Evans is a writer based in Berlin. Recent books include Appropriation (2009), Critical Dictionary (2011) and The Art of Walking (2013). in 2016 he co-curated a show at the gallery with Andreas Schmidt called Adult Material. He is currently working on a survey of photo-appropriation that takes on board the recent digital turn.