June 25–July 18, 2015
Nicolas Bourthoumieux (b. 1985) is a multidisciplinary artist who works in sculpture, installation, painting, video and photography. For his exhibition, he will present three paintings made with bitumen and oil, inspired by the history of self-destructing 19th century masterpieces such as The Raft of the Medusa, which tells a story of disaster and cannibalism, while the pigment used by Géricault to darken the painting contributed to its own degradation. Bourthoumieux likes to make work linked to constraints, depending on the specificity of space and material, but which originate in real-life anecdotes. For example, the aluminum sculptures in the exhibition are the byproduct of melting beer and soda cans themselves recycled out of aircrafts parts, some of them military planes stored somewhere in the American desert. Thus, there is a small probability that the soda can we take a sip from is made out of a plane that had been bombarding Vietnam or Afghanistan. In addition to these works, he is building a metal sculpture that will frame and underline one of the gallery spaces and also serve as a canopy to enshrine Mathilde Fernandez’s musical performance. The metal structure is linked to a 2005 photograph of a sleeping man. In many instances, the materials themselves and the way gravity orients the pour of the bitumen and oil paint, or determines the flow of melting metal determine the shape of the objects.
Nicolas Bourthoumieux has attended La Cambre art school in Brussels, and holds a BFA from the University in Toulouse. Solo exhibitions include at Abilene, Brussels, Espace Croix-Baragnon (Toulouse), Skrei (Porto), Rectangle (Brussels). Selected group exhibitions include Greylight Projects, Hoensbroek (NK), HB55 (Berlin), De La Charge (Brussels), Island (Brussels), Drugstore (Belgrade).
Joe Mama-Nitzberg (b.1965) presents Style Is Everything, taking the form of a music video for a house track over which the artist sings lines from Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp. The video cuts between or juxtaposes the interpretive (literally or figuratively) movements of sign language and voguing. On one level, the video is stylish; it presents, in almost deadpan fashion, two attractive individuals in stylish black and white, elegantly cut together in a restrained but very compelling, chic way, over a pleasant musical arrangement. On another, its juxtaposition with one of the most famous text of cultural theory calls its stylishness into question, with Sontag’s lines insisting on the need for aesthetic judgment founded in something other than pleasure, detachment, or style – in other words, for a politically informed sense of taste. The video stars Princess Magnifique Royalty and Jamie Greco; the music written by Mama-Nitzberg is produced by Mario Spinetti while Amber Skye sings the hook. In addition to the video, the artist presents two photographic works that are commentaries on icons of art history, with May Nitzberg In A Polyester Suit referring to Robert Mapplethorpe seminal picture, while Three Chairs Three, his variation on Joseph Kosuth’s One And Three Chairs shows an image of wooden chair flanked on the left by a portrait of Vladimir Mayakovsky by Rodchenko and on the right by a poster of “Daniel” by Peter Hujar. Nevermind will be familiar to anybody who’s ever listened to the Sex Pistols, as the painting reprises their most famous album sleeve, with all the text removed.
Joe Mama-Nitzberg (b. 1965) holds a BFA from San Francisco State University (1989) and an MFA from Art Center College of Design (1995). He has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions at Andrew Edlin Gallery, the Luckman Fine Arts Gallery at Cal State LA, the Salzburger Kunstverein (Salzburg), the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Gavin Brown Enterprise, The Renaissance Society (Chicago), LACE (Los Angeles), David Zwirner Gallery, White Columns, and the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. He has had solo exhibitions at Marc Foxx Gallery (Los Angeles) and Art Center College of Design (Pasadena). His work is in the collection of the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis). He lives in Catskills, NY.
Andy Amadi Okoroafor is a curator, filmmaker, and creative director in fashion, advertising, music and arts. Born in Biafra, the Paris-based all-around creative director is the editor of Clam Magazine, whose motto “local everywhere” underlines its spirit of freedom, invention and creativity, striving to always be different. His work often starts with chance encounters with creative people, inspiring Okoroafor to work on projects that involve collaborations. At Catherine Bastide Gallery, he will presents two films, Graceland and Block House. Graceland, whose actors are also artists (dancer, filmmaker, fashion scholar) is a take on solitude, induced by fear and hate in South Africa, made while Okoroafor was invited to present his feature film Relentless in Johannesburg. Block House is the result of being part of an exhibition that Naoko, the dancer in the film, was also part. Eventually Okoroafor was introduced to Mathilde Fernandez's voice and music, which inspired and influenced the emotions the filmmaker wanted to bring to this project. Together, Block House and Graceland are the first two part of an eventual trilogy, “Urban Solitudes”, highlighting the incomprehension and the impossibility to really exist within the definition the world has provided. They have a narrative presentation that is often disrupted, where dialogues are secondary and distorted, to produce mixed emotions and self-reflection in the viewer.