alpha nova & galerie futura a is delighted to present a solo exhibition by American artist Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo. Entitled Winner Takes All, the works in the exhibition explore the rarely depicted world of thoroughbred horse racing from myriad angles. These themes are playfully introduced in Sex, Money, Freaks, a video collage that combines footage from the auction block, commercial promotions for horse breeding, mainstream television documentaries, and irreverent quotations from The Simpsons to deconstruct the consumer side of the grooming and horseracing enterprise catering to the mega-rich.
The center piece of the exhibition is the 22 minute length video Labor of Love with an original musical score composed by Tami T, in which D’Angelo dissects the freelance labor conditions of professional horseracing through an endearing series of portraits of several German-based international jockeys. From the side of the tracks, horseracing appears as a sport rooted in pedigree, exclusivity, and elitism; at the opposite end of the spectrum is the reality of the jockeys’ existence. Many of them come from immigrant backgrounds, and sacrifice family life, health, safety, and material comfort in their dedication to the sport they love. While their voices are rarely heard in the mainstream sports world, the jockeys in D’Angelo’s work speak freely and openly about the pressures and dangers of their everyday lives and careers, which are held to a delicate precipice and impending expiration date owing to such factors as body weight, age, and injury.
Another video work, And What About Go for Wand?, re-creates in agonizing detail a true story, when a champion thoroughbred suffered a fatal injury in the midst of a race on live television on 27 October 1990. With a voice-over re-creating that day’s events from the perspective of the jockey, And What About Go for Wand? is a painful and visceral examination of life-and-death in the world of competitive horseracing.
The themes in these video works are further elaborated and explored in a series of works on paper, C-prints, installations, and a neon piece. Collectively, the works comprising Winner Takes All form a probing interrogation of the intersection between neoliberalism and the world of sports, with stunning implicit parallels to the contemporary art market, and serve as a provocative defining statement from one of Berlin’s premier emerging artists.
text by: NN