Galerie Barbara Thumm is proud to present the third solo exhibition by Chloe Piene in Berlin.
Born in the United States to German and Jewish parents, Piene received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Columbia University. Her work throughout her lifetime has in many ways been a reflection and dissection of her primary area of study; Northern Renaissance Art. Ever present are the marks of Hans Baldung Grien, Albrecht Dürer, Montaigne, Rabelais; as well as Georges Bataille, Friedrich Nietzsche, Medardo Rosso and film; “Suspiria”, “Holy Mountain”, “Citizen Kane”, “Under the Skin”, and “M” by Fritz Lang.
Her work has been praised internationally for its ability to straddle an extremely wide spectrum, both in the play of her materials, and as a certain philosophical position. She has made various and diverse associations with prisoners, love letters, failure, death, human anatomy and heroic transformation. She has been called both brutal and delicate; figurative, forensic, erotic and fantastic.
The “Familienaufstellung” that Piene staged in 2016 came directly at the heels of a previous collaboration with three soldiers in Afghanistan. Each had a video camera strapped to their helmet. In that, the suffering, isolation and pain of these men is pitted against the Archetypes of “Soldier” “Man” “Hero” and “Villain” – four things these men were meant to be.
In the case of the Familienaufstellung, real life and living consequence is pitted against the enduring specters of “Mother”, “Father”, “Sister”, “Brother” and “Family”. Piene has always acknowledged, in her work, and in her life, that without darkness, there is no light. Each and every person is formed in shadow, brought forth, by invisible hands, discussed in passing and in depth, by mouths now silent. The deeds and structures, peaks, monoliths, blood and broken bone that make a person are known only to their origin, but never fully to them.
In this show, the Great Cape (an audio-installation called “Chloe”) in the center of the gallery is where the voices from the Familienaufstellung can be heard. To hear them you must put on the cape. You too, after all, are a family member. You too are a product, rebel, prisoner, slave, captive, victor, friend, fiend, or half-witted victim of a line of descendants, parents, or grandparents, an Ur family, that you cannot see, have never met, cannot touch, and may never have been loved by – but one that shapes you, in every sense.
Chloe Piene is planning another FA performance in Berlin. The current installation “Chloe” is the first installation of a series of seven family members.