Stephanie Keitz | Doubts About Spaces
Atrium Gallery Exhibition
January 28 – February 16
February 16, 2019 | 2-4 PM
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In all of her works, Berlin-based Stephanie Keitz marks lack, disappearance and gaps, creating architectures of absence by reversing inside and outside. Clothes, usually dwellings for bodies, that carry memories within them like buildings, are transformed into negative architectures: what once enveloped is now interiorized as a core and conserved along with its history. By contrast, defined spaces are clothed in a skin in order, in a second step, to find parallels and vessels for their unmarked interstices, thus gaining access to the temporariness and fragility of architecture. Keitz’s gestures of conserving are both gentle and unsparing. She encloses carefully – her coverings are fragile – but the enclosure has a violent quality to it: the price of presentation is deformation. Keitz’s works both refuse extinction and foster it. Ultimately, it is the gesture of conserving that marks the end of the personal and consigns what was present to the past.
Doubts About Spaces includes two large works, Exhausted Room (2015) and Babette (2018), along with new works created in the visiting artist residency at 18th Street Arts Center in July and August 2018 and in the artist’s studio this past year. For Exhausted Room, Keitz took a cast from a shower cubicle in a bathroom in Los Angeles, giving its immaterial interior a tactile form. In the casting process, she covered the walls, floor and ceiling with a layer of latex that bonded with their surfaces like a skin. The resulting negative of the interior was created by an act of force that seemed to remove minute traces of the room’s history together with this skin. A similar reversal provides the point of departure for Babette, 2018. Here, Keitz took a cast from the tiled floor of a Kosmetiksalon Babette, a typical pavilion built between 1959 and 1964 in the former East Berlin. Exhibited as a flowing form or texture hanging in the room, the transparent skin inverts the architecture by duplicating the floor and putting it on show, complete with tell-tale signs of usage.
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ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stephanie Keitz was born in Greifswald, Germany and currently lives and works in Berlin and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Dealing with instability and decay, absence and loss is at the center of Keitz’s practice, which utilizes sculpture, object-making, and drawing. Her fragile sculptures and works on paper document attempts at capturing, as well as the futility of such attempts. Her techniques could all be said to involve preserving evidence. She tracks down the past, creating scenarios that have never existed, but that appear strangely familiar.
She has exhibited her work in Germany and abroad including shows at Gallery Tanja Wagner Berlin, Galerie im Turm Berlin, Villa Schöningen Potsdam, Sala Dalles Bucaresti and Deutsche Bank KunstHalle Berlin. Her films and videos have shown widely, including at Transmediale Berlin, Akademie der Künste Berlin, Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film and Vasarely Foundation Aix en Provence.
Keitz studied design at the University of Applied Science Potsdam, and film and art at the Film University Potsdam-Babelsberg in 2009. She received the Meisterschüler degree in 2011. Keitz also received a scholarship for her study at the Film University Potsdam-Babelsberg and the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
Keitz received a travel grant for her residency at 18th Street Arts Center in Los Angeles from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.