We are pleased to present our first solo exhibition of New York artist Elizabeth Jaeger (born in San Francisco in 1988, lives in New York) as part of Gallery Weekend Berlin, welcoming her into the gallery’s program.
With her objects and sculptures, Elizabeth Jaeger succeeds in exploring the relationship between corporeality and perception, between consciousness and emotion. Often engaging with the insights of a personal experience or the observation of a situation, her works create environments that are mildly surreal and focus on the interconnectedness of all living beings. Her materials are simple, but haptic and ‘auratically’ charged: clay, ceramics, plaster, steel, silk and glass are means to create a new visual vocabulary: strangely familiar, yet always ‘off by two degrees’.
If earlier series by the artist focused on a direct engagement with the representation and (socio) cultural gaze on the female body and figuration, Elizabeth Jaeger has recently been working with an ambivalent formal language all her own. Borrowed from amorphous shapes and fantasy, abstract forms based on flora and fauna are combined with strictly geometric steel constructions and thus given a psychological dimension: they are physical objects and at the same time vessels for the ‘soul’ and the world of thoughts. In this way, Jaeger opens a gaze on complex structures between organic objects made with the human hand and questions material and ideational binaries. Her sculptures become organic, viscerally treated ‘material’, existential intellectual games on thingly truths and the possibility of embodying an emphatic and critical spirit.
Brine evokes associations of emptiness, rotting, death, hollowness. In her new series of sculptures Elizabeth Jaeger explores in an almost archaeological fashion the dead and live essence of things, spanning an arch from the phenomenon of the ancient lacyrmonies or tear vessel through natural observation to the human condition against the backdrop of current global problems.
The artist presents fragile, vase-like glass vessels, hand blown, glittering, beautiful and yet otherworldly, in an expansive and yet concentrated fashion. Dark steel constructions allow the smooth, semi-transparent glass creatures to hover, revealing sharp copper sets of teeth—sometimes right at eye level.
The title of the exhibition has a virtually climatic effect on the atmosphere of the space: brine as a substance used to preserve, to shock freeze, but also as a byproduct of industrial manufacturing processes—the gallery space as an abandoned place of refuge. The fragile, mutated animal objects seem to epitomize exhaustion and escapism, the hollow body as a social statement. At the same time, their emphatic beauty and absolute dignity is manifest. As if they had a capacity to persevere and an inherent knowledge that goes beyond their (momentary) stillness.
The objects and sculptures in Brine rely on the one hand on the dynamism of their materialities and the play between familiar form and abstract refraction on the other. In the process, they openly express their political content and their emotional urgency. Their special quality lies in this very immediacy.