Signe Rose und Louise Sartor
Anti-Aging in the Middle Ages / Anti-âge au Moyen Âge
Signe Rose, Louise Sartor
Opening and Summer Party: 22.06.2018, 7pm
23.06. - 12.08.18
We knew the artist from when we were teenagers, and were seated at the far end of the table next to minor curators, the after-party DJ, and husbands of lesser gallerists. A set menu of many courses was served in the cavernous hall with vaulted ceilings and shuttered windows. Dangling lightbulb bouquets illuminated thick scribbles that stormed overhead. Caterers with septum piercings delivered fragile still lifes of goose mousse, nut-flake fish creme, and green papaya broth that played Candy Crush with the bubbly in our bellies. The middle-aged gent to my left regaled me with how radical his youth had been, and everything stayed down.
Signe Rose (born in Vienna, raised in New Zealand, lives in Vienna) and Louise Sartor (born in Paris, lives in the South of France) have shown together on numerous occasions. Despite great distances, they have cultivated a continued exchange that goes beyond joint exhibitions. It's a way to consciously engage with a counterpart, stay flexible in one's position, allow aspects of one to appear in the other. Moments of this synergy of shared experience and discourse materialize in the exhibition at Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, for which they have produced entirely new works that discretely relate to each other in the historic rooms of the Palais Enzenberg.
Signe Rose has been working with gold and metal leaf for some time, combining it with chain, crystals, leather and other somewhat unexpected materials such as beer cans. In Schwaz she applies silver leaf for the first time. She presents permeable, mobile objects hanging from the ceiling like three-dimensional scribbles. The vinelike forms are developed out of pieces of black leather that unfold voluminously in the space. Their positioning lends the abstract, performative objects something creatural or animated. Like individual characters, they have names such as “Kaa” after the snake in the Jungle Book, or “Baba Yaga”, a witch figure from Russian folklore.
Signe Rose's particular interest in precious metals has biographical origins: her father is a jeweller, and she herself works as a gilder. References to jewellery design and fashion are still traceable in these new works. Fashion as a form of cultural expression is relevant to both artists, projecting a horizon on which to connect political and formal-aesthetic issues, although this takes more of a back seat in Louise Sartor's new works.
Louise Sartor is known for small-scale compositions that draw from found images, snapshots of fashion and celebrity culture. In Schwaz however, she presents a series of still lifes drawn in silverpoint, not from photos but directly from life. They were produced in the seaside resort town in the South of France where the artist resides outside of the holiday season. The interruption of the hustle and bustle can be felt in the drawings and paintings, which depict very simple motifs: houseplants, vegetables, books, bottles. They appear like diary entries from a quiet life.
Sartor presents the drawings in pairs. Only the first one, which introduces the exhibition in the foyer of the gallery, remains on its own. This one refers to Colette's novel “Le Blé en herbe”, which describes the relationship between two youths - Vinca and Philippe, companions since childhood – on the cusp of adulthood with their burgeoning love and all its complications. And relationships are central to the exhibition, the relationship of the works to each another, to the art world, to life.
In the rear room, a silver-coated ceiling work by Signe Rose rotates slowly, bearing a structural resemblance to Louise Sartor's “Still Life with Red Shiso”. As in the entire exhibition, the still lifes and mobiles communicate serenely with each other, without losing themselves in the exchange. The works of Signe Rose and Louise Sartor are delicate, and at the same time, they highlight ruptures. They are attractive yet eschew fixed definition. They are simultaneously precarious and potent, glamorous and awkward, reserved and approachable.
On one hand, both artists work with skilled precision and traditional techniques, while on the other, the documentation of objects arranged into still lifes is a contemporary phenomenon, as on Instagram for example. The interaction of things taking their own autonomous form, independent of the viewer's perception, is also a highly topical issue.
Signe Rose is an artist with roots in New Zealand, and Vienna, where she currently lives. Recent exhibitions of her work include the Vienna Biennale at MAK; Spring 1883 in Melbourne with Minerva; in New York with HHDM, and at the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand.
French artist Louise Sartor lives and works in Canet-en-Roussillon. Recent solo shows include “Off Season” at Bel Ami in Los Angeles, and “Left on read ✓” at Crèvecoeur gallery in Paris. She participated in two exhibitions curated by Palais de Tokyo in the Villeneuve-Lembron (Auvergne) Castle in June 2017, and the Versailles palace gardens in October 2017.
Phots © Verena Nagl