Céline Manz. 9 espaces distincts
Maëlle Gross. HotHeads
How is the contemporary reception of the work of famous female artists of the twentieth century, such as Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Sonia Delaunay, and Meret Oppenheim, impacted by knowledge about their biographies, gender, and the handling of their estates and copyright? Céline Manz (*1981, lives and works in Basel and London) seeks answers to these questions by various forms of artistic appropriation, re-contextualization, and re-activation. Her exhibition includes the interpretation of an interior envisioned by Taeuber-Arp which was never realized due to her male collaborators’ doubts about its colorfulness, and photograms of a piece by Delaunay found on websites on which they were misattributed to her husband Robert. Manz pushes the discourse about copyright and legal definitions of artistic originality beyond its conventional purview while she asks questions about what it means to live and work as a contemporary female artist.
In her tripartite video piece “HotHeads”, Maëlle Gross (*1988, lives and works in Lausanne and Geneva) offers a portrait of three women over fifty who share a passion for motorcycles. The women speak about their erstwhile status as “sandbags” – the derogatory term for passengers – and the moment in which they took control of the handlebars.
The exhibit also features a piece based on the biographical relation of the artist to the region, in particular the village of Bollodingen. According to the law of that time, her grandmother lost her right to this place of origin following her marriage to a Greek refugee. Two decades later, she and her son, the artist’s father, were naturalized, thereby paving the way for Maëlle Gross’s ability to claim Bollodingen as her place of origin. Gross’s new piece takes this biographical history as its point of departure and gives expression to the historical and contemporary movements of migrants and commodities. A marble statue, inspired by the art of ancient Greece and produced in China, will be brought to Bollodingen to be joined on the last leg by a parade of female motorcyclists.