From May 7 until July 12 Edwynn Houk Gallery presents an exhibition that explores appropriation in contemporary photography through the work of four artists: Robert Heinecken, Lalla Essaydi, Vik Muniz and Dutch artist Sebastiaan Bremer.
Appropriation refers to the adaptation, borrowing or recycling of an object or image in the creation of a new work of art. This exhibition will explore how these four artists, living in an age of mass media and subject to the daily bombardment of imagery, use a combination of photography and appropriation to create their own distinct styles of art-making. Borrowing from the familiar, each artist uses a unique and recognizable method to transform his or her subject into something entirely new.
The unique works by Sebastiaan Bremer (Dutch, b. 1970) are collages from various sources and familiar styles, blending Modernist photography with Cubist references. Bremer works directly on the surface of his photographs, applying acrylic paints and etching into the emulsion with an x-acto blade. The result is a collage of startling and recognizable elements: fragments of Brassaï and Bill Brandt photographs are mixed with bits of Picasso, Matisse and Bellmer. The panoply of styles and mix of art historical references are all overlaid with Bremer’s own figurative enhancements. The altering, juxtaposing and shifting of styles and sources within each individual work demonstrates just how multi-faceted appropriation can be.
Sebastiaan Bremer lives and works in New York. A new monograph of his work, Heavenly Joy, Deadly Sorrow, is to be published in 2014. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others.