Kathryn Andrews.
Special Meat Occasional Drink

May 25–Au­gust 25, 2013

The con­cep­tu­al sculp­tures of Kathryn An­drews (born in Mo­bile, Al­aba­ma in 1973) vari­ous­ly ad­dress is­sues re­lat­ing to per­for­mance and pre­sen­ta­tion. The per­for­mance as­pect is per­haps clear­est in her birth­day sculp­tures, which have the char­ac­ter of events as bal­loons are at­tached each year to their chrome-plat­ed me­t­al bars.

Other pie­ces by the artist in­cor­po­rate rent­ed movie props, so that the works are in­com­plete out­side of the ren­tal pe­ri­od. The pre­vi­ous his­to­ry of the props in­vests them with a pow­er­ful sym­bolic charge. A T-shirt worn by Brad Pitt on a film set, for ex­am­ple, or a crash hel­met used by one of the wo­m­en in Char­lie’s An­gels evoke se­cret long­ing for film stars who are ba­si­cal­ly un­touch­able. This nar­ra­tive or tem­po­ral di­men­sion gen­er­ates a com­plex­i­ty that con­trasts stark­ly with An­drews’s very di­rect, ul­ti­mate­ly Pop-de­rived vi­su­al vo­cab­u­lary.

Gal­leries that the Mu­se­um Lud­wig has placed at the artist’s dis­pos­al for the ex­hi­bi­tion Spe­cial Meat Oc­ca­sio­n­al Drink in­clude a room on the third floor known in the mu­se­um as the “aquar­i­um.” Dom­i­nat­ed by a se­quence of tall win­dows, this unu­su­al ex­hi­bi­tion space has al­ways posed a con­struc­tive chal­lenge to both artists and vis­i­tors. Play­ful­ly tak­ing her cue from the faint­ly ab­surd char­ac­ter of the ar­chi­tec­ture, An­drews makes it the nu­cleus of her en­tire pre­sen­ta­tion: The ex­hi­bi­tion’s cen­tral in­s­tal­la­tion fea­tures an out­sized screen on which col­or­ful marine im­agery ap­pears that brings to mind a Sea­World theme park or the two TV se­ries Find­ing Ne­mo and Flip­per. Com­bined with the chrome-plat­ed sur­faces of her per­for­ma­tive sculp­tures, the im­agery gen­er­ates dy­nam­ic op­ti­cal dis­tor­tions that threat­en to dis­solve phys­i­cal re­al­i­ty. Staged on­ly for the du­ra­tion of the ex­hi­bi­tion, this is a work that re­flects the artist’s in­ter­est in mak­ing time an in­te­gral part of her art. This theme is tak­en up in the two gal­leries out­side the “aquar­i­um.” Here An­drews evokes the pas­sage of time in a strik­ing­ly sim­ple way in a wall piece fea­tur­ing white can­dles against a black back­ground.

In this ex­hi­bi­tion An­drews en­gages with the Mu­se­um Lud­wig on two lev­els. On the one hand, she in­ter­venes in the mu­se­um’s ar­chi­tec­ture, an in­ter­ven­tion that can be seen both in­side and out­side the build­ing. On the other, she ad­dress­es some artis­tic fo­cus­es of the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. In its com­pelling sim­plic­i­ty, her vi­su­al vo­cab­u­lary re­calls Pop Art and the stain­less steel sculp­tures of Wal­ter De Maria, while at the same time in­hab­it­ing a con­cep­tu­al cos­mos that fre­quent­ly in­cludes a nar­ra­tive com­po­nent. By em­phat­i­cal­ly point­ing up such artis­tic re­la­tion­ships, the artist ul­ti­mate­ly sub­verts the kind of art-his­tor­i­cal clas­si­fi­ca­tion that has ap­pro­pri­at­ed the works.

Ex­hi­bi­tion cu­ra­tor: Philipp Kais­er