Neubauer Collegium Exhibitions
Jakob Kolding: Making a scene
September 21 – October 26, 2016
Artist talk and opening reception Wednesday, September 21, 5–8pm
The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent works by Jakob Kolding. As its title suggests, the exhibition explores various overlapping notions of what it means to “make a scene.”
Reflecting a strong scenographic turn in Kolding’s recent practice—including his undertaking the stage design for a new operatic production of Virginia Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse, to be premiered next year as part of the Bregenzer Festspiele in Austria—the exhibition centers on a group of life-sized sculptural figures presented in a stage-like environment.
Kolding’s work has long revolved around the construction and use of space. From an early focus on the relationships and contradictions that emerge between the planning and the use of urban and architectural spaces—as dynamic social and political spaces rather than static physical ones—it has increasingly moved towards more psychological notions of space. Simultaneously, Kolding has expanded from a primarily two-dimensional practice into sculptural installations that incorporate both the exhibition space and the visitor directly into the work.
With its overt focus on dramatic gesture and staging, Making a Scene situates itself at the nexus of real and imaginary space. In the center of the gallery, a group of three parallel, freestanding walls evoke theatrical backdrops. Life-sized sculptural figures and large-format photomontage graphics confront us on a human and architectural scale, while their obvious flatness and one-sidedness highlight their own constructed and schematic nature. As opposed to the immersive experience of virtual reality simulations and 3D cinema, or to reality television’s spurious claims to authenticity, Kolding embraces the ambivalence and uncertainty of the provisional and the in-between.
The title of the show, Making a Scene, can on one hand be understood quite literally, as in actually constructing a stage or a variety of scenographies. On the other hand, it speaks to the creation of a scene in a social and political sense; a subcultural formation based on shared knowledge, experiences, or beliefs. No less, by emphasizing dramatic, even hyperbolic, acts and gestures, the exhibition points to a more metaphoric or colloquial use of the term.
The exhibition also includes a new suite of collages which—via shifts in scale, chromatic intensity, and spatial complexity—function as both a microcosm of and a counterpoint to the larger installation. Although individually quite small, each collage asserts its independence and internal cohesion. At the same time, each one points insistently outside of itself toward the histories of art, theater, cinema, architecture, and 19th century dioramas, as well as psychology, literature, and music, from baroque opera to Chicago house. Kolding’s collages present worlds of shifting realities, none of which claim any notion of a complete vision or truth.
Jakob Kolding has exhibited in museums and galleries internationally, including the Kunsthalle Wien; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Museum Villa Stuck, Munich; Kunstverein in Hamburg; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is represented by Team Gallery, New York; Galeri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen; and Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna.
Curated by Jacob Proctor