Feb 14 - 16, 2020
at Sringbreak Art Show, Group Exhibition, Los Angeles, USA
Curated by Kylie Manning and Tristan Mcallister
with Lucas Ajemian, Katie Armstrong, Gaby Collins- Fernandez, Kimia Ferdowsi Kline, Chad Freilino, Dan Hougland, Layli Samimi, Jackie Manning, Kylie Manning, Jana Nowack, Andre Razo, Tino Razo, Michael Samuels, Christofer Taylor, Pyeng Threadgill
“Zwang” is a German word that does not translate easily into English. Its meanings are multifold. In the context of studio practices the philosophical aspects of Zwang—the necessitation to act in a certain precircumscribed way—are of great interest. The word oscillates between “innerer” and “äusserer Zwang,” a controlling influence coming from the outside vs. a powerful inner need to act in a specific, predetermined way.
This multivalent concept of Zwang was the guiding principle for the selection of works brought together in this show. All of them combine components of restriction and strength while adding an abstract element of play. Yet while we usually think of restriction and strength as opposing forces, the artists here have each developed specific processes in which force and constraint intertwine. The resulting artistic languages guide them on an often unpredictable path to new forms of constructed fiction. The artist’s studio becomes a place that might be best described with the German phrase “wo sich Fuchs und Hase ‘gute Nacht’ sagen” (where fox and hare say ‘goodnight’ to one another)—i.e. the middle of nowhere.
Through process-oriented practices the selected artists all incorporate the best aspects of Zwang to create novel works that transcend trend. Feeling both informed and fresh, they deploy a wide variety of predetermined practices. Each artist thereby utilizes Zwang to unveil and share secret moments that otherwise might have been missed.
"Tomorrow I will be here exactly one week in a city that is much too big for me and I don't believe in any of it..."
Diary entries, dream sequences and reflections in texts and photographs fragmentarily document the story of a traveler accompanied by chance and the urgent need for change. She lands in New York and is caught by the rhythm and a dizzying speed. As if in a frenzy, she moves through the city, which sometimes seems enormously open and friendly, but then closes itself off to her and becomes a stranger.
"She is a psychologist. She had captured and reflected me before I had captured and reflected her myself..."
After a month, she does not fly back as planned, but gets on a journey across America. A road trip. Because everything is in change, in constant movement, her images are a form of appropriation of the world, an attempt to own something for the short period of her existence. Her freedom.
The visual power of the photographs and the beat of the language take the viewer on a journey into the indeterminate. The special edition of five copies includes a signed artist print by Jana Nowack.
Text/Photographs: Jana Nowack
Graphic design: Joachim Bartsch, Berlin
Printing: Thomas Verlag und Druckerei GmbH
Paper: Focus Art Natural 150g, 100g
Special Edition with artist print: 5, signed with artist print
© Jana Nowack. All rights reserved. 2022