2023.4.21 – 6. 1
Cassina Projects is pleased to present Outer Skin. Inner Gaze, Jens Kothe’s (*1985, Bochum, Germany) first solo exhibition at the gallery and in Italy. Conceived as a setting that explores the hybrid concepts of vulnerability and security through the idea of posture and the corporeal, the show brings together a series of new works produced specifically for the occasion.
Curated by Giovanna Manzotti, the project revolves around the dialogue between a body of wall sculptures and an installation consisting of three fences, a curved counter and a series of casts of feet and ceramic hands: a sculptural reinterpretation on some of the security signals, such as the palm facing outwards and other fingers curled around the thumb. Acting in the gallery as modular elements of various scales, the works on view unfold on the basis of a rhythmic and coherent composition, reinforcing the idea of separation, barrier and the inside/outside feeling, and affecting how we relate to the whole exhibition space.
In Outer Skin. Inner Gaze, the movement of body and the eye of the viewer are guided through a meticulous display that toys with the notions of distance, limits and physical proximity, as well as accessibility and concealment — all part of Kothe’s interests. This choreography pervades many of the exhibited sculptures and underlies a tactile and affective structure that emerges with a palpable tension in the interplay of pursuit and complementarity between the ‘vulnerable’ and the ‘safer’ parts. The title of the show adheres perfectly to this horizon, evoking an intimate interstice, an encounter, a ‘surveillance area’, as protected and safe of a scenario as it is controlled.
Through the combination of various materials — such as wood, upholstery wadding and fabric which are in turn treated with beeswax, acrylic paint, pigments, silicone, resin and rubber — Kothe’s sculptural works refer to themes of physicality, sensuality, seduction, security, and raise questions about bodily functions, limits of corporeality, protection, memory and fragments. The disruption of binary logics such as epidermal/visceral, hardness/softness, organic/industrial and the reinterpretation of forms of objecthood are also pivotal motifs in the artist’s research. Finally, Outer Skin. Inner Gaze extends the artist’s ongoing
investigation into the viewer’s one-to-one haptic stimulation, creating an atmosphere where everyday objects, bodies and surfaces resonate with intimacy nooks and privacy.
Jens Kothe (*1985, Bochum, Germany) lives and works in Bochum and Düsseldorf. He studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf where in 2017 he obtained a Master as a student of Andreas Gursky. Recent solo exhibitions include studio__64646 (Kunstverein Heppenheim e.V., 2022); Model Organisms, Downs & Ross (New York, 2021); and Element System, Berthold Pott (Cologne, 2019). Selected gallery and museums group shows include Love and Human Remains, Berthold Pott (Cologne, 2023); Substitute Love (duo show), Barbé Urbain (Gent, 2023); Blickfelder, Museum Goch (Goch, Germany, 2022); The Shape of Things, Swivel Saugerties (New York, 2022); Homeland III, Berthold Pott (Cologne, 2020); Squish, Efremidis Gallery (Berlin, 2020); On Intimacy. Bodies of Matter, RFK (Düsseldorf, 2019); and Insane in the Membrane, Philara Collection (Düsseldorf, 2018). Upcoming solo shows include Berthold Pott, Cologne (2023) and EIGEN + ART Lab, Berlin (March, 2024).
The essay by Giovanna Manzotti accompanying the exhibition can be read on the Galley’s website.
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