Esther Schipper is pleased to present Faction de Femmes, Lady Lieutenants and the Triangular Trixic Cryptical Curvy Constellation, an exhibition by Nathan Carter at our Paris gallery. This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. On view are new sculptural works and paintings, as well as photographs produced in a collaborative project with Dan Estabrook and Mercedes Jelinek. MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death and her boudoir where the photographs were taken are conjured for the exhibition.
Incorporating elements of storytelling, Nathan Carter’s references include the visual language of surrealist erotic illustration, cartography, celestial navigation charts, subversive music, outsider subcultures and the history of abstraction, the works become maps and fluid atmospheric landscapes which the artist has likened to sculptural way-finding diagrams leading to intentional communities. The artist’s new language of forms is endowed with highly charged emotional content and symbolic associations that refer to the driving force of his contemporary work: self-invention. Nathan Carter is MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death. Since 2020, the artist conjures and channels her as “the woman who I am” in séance-like photo sessions.
The sculptural works and paintings in the exhibition share a formal language that alludes to feminine anatomy and floral forms. The sculptures playfully combine delicate linear elements reminiscent of celestial bodies and a multitude of suspended whimsical, soft abstract shapes. Continuing his characteristic DIY aesthetic, the small cut-outs are hand painted and dangle mobile-like from fine metal wires. Will I Find Rosae Kiss-Me-Curls Upon Curvy Channels If I Navigate Through Regions Infernal?, 2023, for instance, consists of a coral red armature of intersecting curving lines appearing as a sinuous thoroughfare in which a multitude of small metal elements hang suspended. Another work, I Searched For Charlotte Fox Fireball Hoping to Find Her Delightful Southern Constellation in the Bright Pink Night Sky, 2023, has similar cut-out elements in liquid, drop-like forms and half-moon shapes hanging from small wires attached to the curving framework.
Paintings, such as Vulva-Vulvacula Top Cat Calling Sweet Kitten For Mercury Vapors, Mind-Melds, & Sub-Space Entanglements Buzzing In – In The Middle of the Night, 2023, have a similar formal vocabulary. Held in pinks and purples with gold-colored details, the work features intersecting curving lines and a variety of shapes that oscillate between registering as amorphous abstract shapes or polymorph human anatomy. Languid curves that can change their association in the blink of an eye. Yet, for Carter the very language of forms is personal: every work’s curve, color and flourish become a subversive, revelatory act, a claim on self-determination in the artist’s exploration of queer, trans-identity. In this sense, the reference to maps and star charts from earlier bodies of works continues to be relevant, but the subject of this search has become manifest.
The exhibition features, for the first time, a selection of works from the artist’s collaborative project MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death. Beginning in 2020, Carter and Estabrook staged a series of photographs, images and portraits of Carter conjuring MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death as she explores her transidentity. Joined by Jelinek in 2021, the development of MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death can be traced in carefully choreographed sets and attributes. The photographs picture MARS The Goddess of Sex and Death in various situations and erotically charged poses. Endowed with a set of recurring markers—a large, disheveled wig, batwing eyes, spiky fingernails, fishnet stockings, short skirts, stiletto heels, a silver skull and cross bones emblazoned on her black cape—MARS looks out at the spectator at times playfully, seductively, or defiantly. Her representations draw on a wide range of historical imagery: Weimar erotica, Cecil Beaton or Madame Yevonde 1920s portraits of British aristocrats, Parisian trans women photographed in the 1960s by Swedish photographer Christer Strömholm, surrealist photography by Pierre Molinier, and images of 1980s intentional communities and postpunk subcultures. The photographs on view at the gallery are unique and have been hand-tinted and adorned with colorful drawn details.
Access to the gallery by staircase B through the inner courtyard, 2nd floor on the left. Access to the gallery will be by calling the number indicated.
Exhibition until May 28, 2023.
Specialising in contemporary art and representing over 48 artists and estates, Esther Schipper has locations in Berlin, Paris and Seoul. Throughout its more than three decades of exhibition practice, Esther Schipper has provided a platform for artists to present projects that mark novel territories, initiate important conceptual departures, and bring forth new bodies of works. Building on an early pioneering program the gallery initially specialised in fostering institutional support and finding markets for radically experimental and time-based works. Today Esther Schipper represents international artists across several generations working in all media, its program spanning established artists to newly discovered talents.
Rosa Barba, Stefan Bertalan, Martin Boyce, Matti Braun, AA Bronson, Sarah Buckner, Angela Bulloch, Nathan Carter, Etienne Chambaud, David Claerbout, Thomas Demand, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Ceal Floyer, Simon Fujiwara, Ryan Gander, General Idea, Francesco Gennari, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Rodney Graham, Andrew Grassie, Grönlund-Nisunen, Martin Honert, Pierre Huyghe, Karolina Jabłońska, Ann Veronica Janssens, Christoph Keller, Tomasz Kręcicki, Gabriel Kuri, Jac Leirner, Liu Ye, Isa Melsheimer, Prabhavathi Meppayil, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Florin Mitroi, Roman Ondak, Philippe Parreno, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Ugo Rondinone, Christopher Roth, Cemile Sahin, Anri Sala, Karin Sander, Julia Scher, Tino Sehgal, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Hito Steyerl, Sun Yitian, Tao Hui
Galerie sélectionnée par Martha Kirszenbaum