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8 OCTOBER 2021 – 13 FEBRUARY 2022
ONE DECADE OF FEMALE SCULPTORS is the inaugural exhibition at the KHK and brings together more than 30 works by contemporary women artists to offer a fresh take on the significance of the female perspective in sculpture.
Alicja Kwade, Alice Anderson, Amalia Pica, Anna Uddenberg, Anne Schneider, Ayako Rokkaku, Brigitte Kowanz, Caroline Mesquita, Claudia Comte, Camille Henrot, Chiharu Shiota, Helen Marten, Isa Genzken, Jessica Stockholder, Kathryn Andrews, Katharina Grosse, Koo Jeong A, Kitty Kraus, Loie Hollowell, Monica Bonvicini, Nairy Baghramian, Sarah Morris, Tatiana Trouvé, Eva Schlegel, Sonia Leimer, Jessica Stockholder, Anne Schneider, Sarah Ortmeyer, Xenia Hausner.
In the male-dominated world of art, the sculpture was long considered the least feminine of disciplines. Yet ONE DECADE OF FEMALE SCULPTORS proves that this way of thinking no longer applies in contemporary sculptural practice. The idea of sculpture as a physical monolith prevailed well into the 20th century, but since then, opposing, new, multifaceted approaches have become established. These play with materials previously not used in art and the utilization of different media as well as dissolution of conventional generic terms.
Contemporary sculpture has become increasingly diverse. By incorporating everyday objects, works such as those by the British Turner Prize-winner Helen Marten can throw up questions around the location of the subject in a material world. Sculptures can comprise a multiplicity of media, layers, and references, like the works of the French artist Camille Henrot. And if desired, they can be effective through the traditional, elementary monolithic categories of mass, volume, and gravity, as is the case in the works of Alicja Kwade, which simultaneously call into question all of these aspects. Kwade, from Berlin, in a scientific and philosophical way examines the material of stone itself.
The works on show are underpinned by common knowledge of sculptural tradition and the conscious exploration of the time-honored concept of sculpture itself. They are united by a keen interest in questioning and breaking with existing ways of seeing and thinking. The forms of Spiritual Machines Series, Totem 11, by Britain’s Alice Anderson, unmistakably reference one of the most influential sculptors of the twentieth century: the Franco-Romanian sculptor and pioneer of classical modernism Constantin Brâncuși. Only on closer inspection does it become clear that Anderson has rigorously re-evaluated: unlike Brâncuși’s, her sculpture is composed not of a single piece but from various individual elements which she brings together and wraps in finely woven copper wire. Only the title reveals its reference to the often-criticized Amazon Alexa voice assistant with loudspeakers.
ONE DECADE OF FEMALE SCULPTORS presents the perspectives of contemporary women artists who have made an important contribution to the discourse around an extended concept of sculpture over the past ten years. In doing so, this exhibition proves that sculpture is now one of the most multi-layered and variable, and therefore exciting forms of art. The deliberate focus on the female perspective encourages new discussions around the significance of the output of women artists.