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Where Were We
"Perhaps Kara Hamilton, in once characterizing her work as “critical decoration,” was also describing the works by fellow artists Christine Roland, Angie Keefer, and Steffie Christiaens that are included in this exhibition. Cooperation and interaction between the works of these participating artists within a crossover between art and craft are essential elements in the show, which is not so much about fashion but involves historic notions of female gender related dressing, and the tools and materials by which the clothing was made.
Every material seems to have a specific meaning, such as in Horsehair Pins (all works 2013), made of silver and threads of white horsehair by Hamilton and Roland. The silver reflects the value of the time consuming labor involved in sewing, while the horsehair relates to the padding of tight fitting corsets. Christiaens’s handmade shoes, worn at the opening by the gallery’s director Maxine Kopsa, consist of an interwoven pattern, which the artist applied according to the specific natural characteristics of the different materials used. Works like these are as discrete and precise as the unassuming female toil depicted in, say, a Vermeer painting.
The text based work Where Were We, 2013, by Keefer is another case of an interactive work: The text, now part of
Keefer’s ongoing project www.servinglibrary.com, was appropriated by Hamilton into a metal street sign displayed
on the Kunstverein’s facade. Hamilton’s Weights, 2013, small silver paperweights that resemble chess pieces at
first glance, are actually casts of tiny peculiar bits of garbage. Their fragility, their white silver
gleam, and their unfinished trumpet like base convey a sense of doubt and a playful acceptance of a “lack of a solution.” It’s an open ending you wish to see more often in works of art."
Robert Jan Muller for Art Forum
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