Parisian Laundry is pleased to present Solar Anus, a group exhibition organized by Melike Kara featuring the work of Violet Dennison, Tiril Hasselknippe, Melike Kara, and Maia Ruth Lee.
The show is titled after Georges Bataille’s essay where the perplexing and illuminating concept of the solar anus hinges on the idea of continuous circular movement, of metamorphosis, and of that which is nearly impossible to gaze upon. Bataille’s writings, which are firmly rooted in transgression, are able to combine concepts as far apart as art history, anthropology, consumerism, mysticism, and somehow to relate them to humanity’s psychological state of erotic paradox. ‘Solar anus’ is a fine, two-word example for how Bataille is able to connect the cosmic physical realities of the universe to our own biological state through form. Similarly, all of the artists in this exhibition produce work at a nexus between pure form and corporeality, simultaneously inviting interpretation and resistant to it.
Violet Dennison investigates paranoia, power, and self-expression, relating specifically to our ecologically and technologically unstable world. Her Le Soleil projection is the most directly evocative of the exhibition’s aubade title, using a Gobo projector to create the “continuous circular movement” described in the essay.
Melike Kara’s sumptuous expressionist figures are charged with an attempt to convey emotional and psychological energy through gesture. Her highly personal video, Emine, portrays her Kurdish Alevi grandmother, moving tenuously through her own home as Alzheimer’s gradually wears away at her identity and language. With this loss goes part of the family history, and their relationship to Turkey and the Zazaki language.
Maia Ruth Lee’s Bondage Baggage pieces are forms based on Lee’s documentation of the Kathmandu International Airport over several years. One third of Nepal’s GDP is generated through Nepalese migrant workers. Upon return to their country, workers frequently bring back valuable goods, disguised in a unique way to protect them from airport security. The ropes and knots are designed to resist scrutiny and suggest the way in which market and political forces are negotiated on an individual scale with the hands, with cord, with whatever is available.
Tiril Hasselknippe’s steel city in the shape of an ellipse is constructed as a sun dial informing its inhabitants of the passing of time with the shadows created by the sun. The component sculpture conjures the imprint of celestial bodies, while existing in a weighty, elemental state where progress and development are moving as an ellipse, becoming circular. Hasselknippe’s works often evoke a palpable anti-monumental quality, materials both holding together and falling apart, somewhere between corrosion and immovability.
Collectively, the works in this exhibition support a constellation of ideas, relating fixed physical reality to the more nebulous state of our relationships with each other. Like the solar anus itself, there is an echoing of form embedded with paradox.
New York-based artist Violet Dennison (b. 1989 in Bridgeport, CT) received her BFA from the New York University (NYC, NY) and her MFA from Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY). Her work has been included in exhibitions at Carl Kostyal (Stockholm, SE); Ramiken Crucible (NYC, USA); Union Pacific (London, UK) and David Zwirner (NYC, USA). Dennison was included in the 2018 New Museum Triennial (NYC, USA) and recently presented solo shows at Kunstverein Freiburg (Freiburg, DE), Kunsthalle Stavanger (Stavanger, NO) and Jan Kaps (Cologne, DE). She is represented by Jan Kaps (Cologne, DE).
Tiril Hasselknippe (b. 1984 in Arendal, Norway) lives and works in New York (USA). She received her BFA and MFA from Malmö Konsthögskola (Sweden) and attended the Cooper Union School of Art (NYC, USA). Hasselknippe’s recent solo exhibitions have been held at Kunstnerforbundet (Oslo, NO); Magenta Plains (NYC, USA); Kunstverein Braunschweig (Braunschweig, DE); Tranen Contemporary Art Center (Hellerup, DK); and DREI (Cologne, DE). Her work has been also exhibited in numerous group shows and was recently featured in the 2018 New Museum Triennial (NYC, USA). She is represented by DREI (Cologne, DE) and Magenta Plains (NYC, USA).
Cologne-based artist Melike Kara (b. 1985 in Bensberg, Germany) studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy (Germany). Recent solo exhibitions include Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam, NL); Arcadia Missa (London, UK); Yuz Museum (Shanghai, CN); Jan Kaps (Cologne, DE); and Peres Projects (Berlin, DE). Her work was featured in recent group shows at Dortmunder Kunstverein (Dortmund, DE); LC QUEISSER (Tbilisi, GE); White Columns (NYC, USA); Tanya Leighton (Berlin, DE); David Roberts Art Foundation (London, UK). Her first solo show in the USA opens this September at Salon 94 (NYC, USA). She is represented by Peres Projects (Berlin, DE) and Jan Kaps (Cologne, DE).
Maia Ruth Lee (b. 1983 in Busan, South Korea) lives and work in New York (USA). She holds a BFA from Hong Ik University (Seoul, KR) and attended the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Vancouver, B.C.). She was the recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Grant in 2017. Her work was shown at Eli Ping Frances Perkins (NYC, USA); Jack Hanley Gallery (NYC, USA); CANADA gallery (NYC, USA); Salon 94 (NYC, USA); and Roberts & Tilton Gallery (L.A., USA). Lee is currently featured in The Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC, USA). Maia Ruth Lee is the director of non-profit after school art program Wide Rainbow.