February 9–April 21, 2013
Opening: Friday, February 8
First institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland of the work of Stephen G. Rhodes (b. Houston, 1977; lives and works in New Orleans and Berlin).
The American artist Stephen G. Rhodes’s installations, which are distinguished by the combination of diverse media, are based on selected references from a wide range of historical and cultural sources, including the American past and the histories of art and film, which he fuses into a new and dense semantic system. In the cycle of works Rhodes presented in 2009 under the title “Dar Allers war ne’er eny Bear Bear” at Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, for example, he linked Walt Disney’s “Song of the South” (1946), a movie adaptation of Joel Chandler Harris’s (1848–1908) Uncle Remus stories, which are in turn based on the oral histories of the slaves on the plantations of the American South, to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” (1980). Building such connections allows him to take up the repressed depths of the American past and place them in new contexts. For his first solo show at an institution in Europe, Rhodes realizes a new space installation that takes as its point of departure Aby Warburg’s canonical “The Snake Ritual”, a lecture the scholar delivered at the Bellevue psychiatric hospital in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, in 1923. Warburg’s examination of the snake ritual of the Native American Hopi from the perspectives of art history and the anthropological study of religion is a founding document of the modern discipline of cultural studies.
The exhibition is curated by Raphael Gygax. Stephen G. Rhodes has presented solo shows at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010), Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi (2009), and other venues, and took part in the 2009 New Museum Triennial in New York. The first monograph about his art will be published by JRP|Ringier in conjunction with the exhibition.