Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition of work by German artist Rosemarie Trockel. Rising to prominence during the heyday of 1980s Cologne, Trockel’s astonishing works move between drawing, sculpture, video, and the wool paintings for which she is well known. Her vernacular of knitted patterns, stoves, and grotesque zoology often engenders a reading incorporating notions surrounding themes of art itself, femininity and the labor of inner-life. While seemingly working within known genres, Trockel’s juxtaposition of imagery and use of craft bring forth aspects of the unknown and bewildering in everyday objects.
Trockel employs materials that are once on-hand, but seem removed from their original context. This displacement yields a fanciful evocation of a singular world in which the domestic sphere is turned into an open and ambiguous space full of possibility: craft material begins to alter and the representation of what seems real shifts into another image, allowing new readings of form and abstraction. The shifting of genre (or Gattung in German) further raise the level of enigma: How do Trockel’s works serve to (dis)locate a place of femininity outside of the framework of masculine production?
For her new exhibition, knitted paintings cohabitate with ceramics to create a specific mis-en-scene. The titular country life seems to connote a notion of escape from the pressures of urban sophistication, and in Trockel’s case adds momentum to her taking off from typical social codes making the rupture between the self, the other, and political identity visible. The works only further serve to evoke and to put into question, rather than to pinpoint: “In place of any discernible narrative structure, she typically isolates specific moments to represent larger, more complex sequences of events," writes Susan Harris. The country, then, becomes the location of both possibility and displacement, where Trockel visualizes new contexts.
Rosemarie Trockel was born in Schwerte, West Germany in 1952, and currently lives and works in Cologne. She has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at the Moderne Museet, Stockholm; the Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. In 2004 she received the Wolfgang-Hahn-Priese, resulting in the one-woman exhibition “Post-Menopause” which premiered at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne before traveling to the Museo Nazionale Delle Arti Del XXI Secolo in Rome.
Trockel was the sole representative of Germany in the 1999 Venice Biennale.