Gregor Hildebrandt, So nah so weit (So close, so far), 2013
A haunting reflection in a reflection, Gregor Hildebrandt’s Nastassja Kinski opens Ascensions. A still image from Wim Wender’s “Faraway, So Close,” his sequel to the classic “Wings of Desire,” is reflected onto one of Hildebrandt’s “mirror paintings,” a black monochrome of VHS tape, and re-photographed by the artist. In So nah so weit (So close, so far), the magnetic tape is entirely recorded with the Wenders movie, yet not playable, rendering this deafeningly silent portrait ever so present.
Gordon Matta-Clark, Chinatown Voyeur, 1971
Chinatown Voyeur is the rarely seen first film of Gordon Matta-Clark, made in 1971, the same year he opened his seminal artist-run restaurant FOOD together with Carol Goodden and Tina Girouard. Using nocturnal, almost surveillance-type footage of downtown Manhattan, Chinatown Voyeur presents a long, static shot, out of the window of an apartment on Chatham Square onto the street. It is exhibited in the space atop a pedestal as a kind of filmic sculpture. From dusk to dawn.
Mitchell Charbonneau, Step Ladder (Partially Collapsed), 2020
Implied in Mitchell Charbonneau’s Step Ladder (Partially Collapsed) is the possibility of ascending, of reaching above one’s physical height. The work itself appears banal, utilitarian. Upon closer inspection, it reveals itself as carefully constructed, almost Judd-like in its repeating rectangles and formal poise. It is waiting in a state of disuse, or, perhaps, just-recent use by someone unseen.
Alicja Kwade, Time Machine, 2016
Alicja Kwade’s autumn leaves “to be scattered casually in the corners and around the edges of the gallery,” seem to float as one moves past them. A “time machine” that leaves a trail poetically linking all of the works and artists in Ascensions across time and space.
Harry Gruyaert, Gordon Matta-Clark at Galerie Yvon Lambert working on Descending Steps for Batan, 1977
This is part of the photographic documentation by Harry Gruyaert of a deeply personal work by Gordon Matta-Clark. Descending Steps For Batan is a performance that took place over a two-week period at the Yvon Lambert gallery in Paris, in the wake of the suicide of Matta-Clark’s twin brother, Sebastian, known as Batan. Exorcising the deadly fall of Batan, Matta-Clark digs through the soil of the Parisian gallery towards the depths of the earth. A reverse ascension, a necessary descent, in order to rise.
Tobias Wong, Casper, 2002
Casper is a candlestick in the form of a traditional base and candle, but is, in fact, a single piece made entirely of crystal. The flame burns paraffin oil and the candle itself will never melt, never have to be replaced. An ever-so-friendly presence for eternity.
Sarah Charlesworth, Candle (small version), 2012
Light, in both a physical and metaphysical sense, centers Sarah Charlesworth’s Candle. Our expectations are questioned and confounded by optical inversions and visual illusions. There is no neutral or objective point of closure, only the shifting perspectives of the observer and the observed.
Jeppe Hein, One Wish for You (medium orange essence), 2020
Jeppe Hein’s One Wish For You (medium orange essence), offers the single burst of color in the space, bright orange, an embodiment, perhaps, of a resilient sense of optimism beckoning us up. The balloon is visible from the entrance, but at a distance.
James Nares, Pendulum, 1976
The film Pendulum tracks a large spherical ball as it swings on a wire strung up high on a footbridge over Staple Street in Tribeca, where James Nares lived at the time. The bridge was long ago dismantled. Pendulum appears to be oscillating across time and space, through what Nares called “a kind of golden age, those years.” Much as Off Paradise sits at the intersection of two neighborhoods, Chinatown and Tribeca, the past here feels ever so present.
Jonathan Paul Gillette, Michael Jordan Baseball Card, 2014
Jonathan Paul Gillette bent a cross into the only remaining trading card from his childhood, a hologram from 1992, creased and scarred into a cruciform, evoking an icon. In a sense, Gillette’s Michael Jordan, in the act of dunking, seems to dodge Nares’s pendulum ball of time. No one jumps as high.
Simone Gilges, (eye in the sky), 2009
Simone Gilges’s (eye in the sky) evokes two states of consciousness, deep sleep and wakefulness. A soft panel of cross-woven silk with delicate hues changing with the perspective of the viewer, the work seems both to offer and resist the act of “lifting a corner of the veil.”
Glenn O’Brien, Mother Superior, 1969
Glenn O’Brien was educated by the Jesuits first at St. Ignatius, in Cleveland, Ohio, then at Georgetown University, where he studied classics and edited the Georgetown Journal. Soon after moving to New York, he established his career as the editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. Mother Superior is a poem O’Brien published in the Journal while he was still a student and just 22.
Born 1974 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany, Gregor Hildebrandt lives and works in Berlin and Munich. He has been professor for Painting and Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich since 2015. His works are present in renowned collections, such as the collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Yuz Museums’s collection in Shanghai, the Martin Z. Margulies Collection in Miami and the Burger Collection in Hong Kong. His most recent exhibitions include “Fliegen weit vom Ufer fort,“ Wentrup, (Berlin, 2020), “Der Raum ist die Miete,“ Almine Rech, (Brussels, 2019), “Tönend hallt die Jugend,” Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, (Recklinghausen, 2018), “In meiner Wohnung gibt es viele Zimmer,” Galerie Perrotin (New York, 2018), “Die Schwarze Sorge um das Segel,” Sommer Contemporary Art Gallery (Tel Aviv, 2017), “Alle Schläge sind erlaubt,” Almine Rech Gallery (Paris, 2017), “Urlaub im Urban,” Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2016), “Coming by Hazard,” Galerie Perrotin (Hong Kong, 2015), “Sterne Streifen die Fluten,” Saarlandmuseum (Saarbrücken, 2015).
Born in New York City in 1943 to artists Roberto Matta and Anne Clark, Gordon Matta-Clark came of age during a time of political turmoil against a backdrop of urban infrastructure in crisis. He studied architecture and graduated from Cornell University in 1968, returning to his native New York City the following year. Struck by the inability of Modernist forms to provide solutions to the city’s increasing social problems, he began to combine his activist concerns with his artistic production. He helped establish alternative spaces such as 112 Greene Street, and the Food Restaurant in SoHo and engaged with peer artists and non-artists in collaboration that aimed to improve their surroundings. In the 1970s, Matta-Clark experimented across various media and began staging monumental interventions and smaller-scale installations in the charged city landscape, bringing attention to New York’s failing social policies, displaced people, and abandoned spaces. He also realized a number of important interventions across Europe, in Milano, Paris, Antwerp and Kassel. Gordon Matta-Clark died from cancer in 1978 at the age of 35.
Born 1994 in Bedford, New Hampshire, Mitchell Charbonneau received his BFA from The Pratt Institute, Brooklyn New York in 2016. Charbonneau’s work involves making subtle and fastidiously wrought sculptures in resin and polyurethane. His debut solo show “Gone in 60 Seconds,” opened at Team Gallery, New York in early 2020. Charbonneau currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Born 1979 in Katowice, Poland, Alicja Kwade lives and works in Berlin. A solo exhibition of her work, “Kausalkonsequenz,” is currently on view at the Langen Foundation in Neuss, Germany through April 2021. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Dallas Contemporary; Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré, Tours; Blueproject Foundation, Barcelona; ESPOO Museum of Modern Art; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Fondazione Giuliani, Rome; Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; YUZ Museum, Shanghai; de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam; Kunsthalle Nürnberg; Kunsthalle Schirn Frankfurt/Main; Haus am Waldsee Berlin; and on the occasion of the award ceremony of the Hectorpreis 2015, at Kunsthalle Mannheim. She has been included in group exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery, London; 57th Venice Biennale; Madam, Luxembourg; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; Kunsthalle Wien; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; and CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco. She was the recipient of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2019 Roof Garden Commission. In 2015-2016, Public Art Fund commissioned “Against the Run,” an installation in New York’s Central Park. Her works belong to many important international private and public collections.
Born 1941 in Antwerp, Belgium, Harry Gruyaert lives and works in Paris, France. Originally dreaming of becoming a film director, Harry Gruyaert studied at the School of Film and Photography in Brussels from 1959 to 1962. Shortly after, he left Belgium at the age of 21, fleeing the strict catholic environment in which he was raised. He moved to Paris to pursue a career in photography, while also working as a freelance director of photography for Flemish television until 1967. Gruyaert travelled extensively across Europe, North Africa, Asia and the United States and lived in cities with a vibrant film and photography scene like Paris and London. Heavily influenced by the Popart of the 1960s and further inspired by the visual impulses on his first trip to Morocco in 1969, Gruyaert decided in the second half of the 1970s as one of the first photographers in Europe to commit himself entirely to colour photography. In 1982 he joined Magnum Photos. The artist currently lives and works in Paris, France. His works are held in prominent collections such as the Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and Foto/Industria in Bologna. In 2018, a documentary about his life and work was made entitled ‘Harry Gruyaert, Photographer’.
(1974-2010) was a Canadian-born designer and artist. His work was heavily influenced by subversive art movements including Dada and Fluxus. In 1997, Wong moved to New York to study art and architecture at the Cooper Union School of Art, where he graduated in 2000 with a focus on sculpture. Wong’s approach to his work situated him somewhere between the worlds of art and design. His pieces contain healthy doses of humor, beauty, irony, and craft. He treated design as a medium, rather than a discipline, to show how it can embrace an aesthetic sensibility traditionally relegated to fine art. He coined the term “paraconceptual” to describe his method of dismantling the hierarchies between the two. Wong could take the most mundane product and infuse it with humor and beauty, brilliantly confounding notions of luxury. Wong’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), San Francisco, and Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York.
(1947-2013) was a seminal artist in a generation that used photographic practices to explore issues concerning the language of images in contemporary culture. Charlesworth exhibited widely in the US and abroad, with over 50 individual exhibitions, a traveling museum retrospective organized by SITE, Santa Fe and presence in many major museum shows and collections. She taught photography for many years in the graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in NY, later served as faculty at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, and was the recipient of two National Endowment grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Charlesworth’s work appears in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, NY, the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Whitney Museum, NY, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, NY, the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MOCA, Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and many others. Her work has been the subject of major posthumous exhibitions including Sarah Charlesworth: Stills at the Art Institute of Chicago, IL and Sarah Charlesworth: Doubleworld at the New Museum, NY and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA.
Born 1974 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Jeppe Hein lives and works in Berlin. In 2019, his work was included in La Biennale Di Venezia’s 58th International Art Exhibition, “May You Live In Interesting Times”.Recent solo exhibitions include SCAI Park Tokyo (2019); “IN IS THE ONLY WAY OUT,” Cisternerne, Copenhagen (2018); “Inhale – Hold – Exhale,” Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland (2017); “Distance,” SKMU Kristiansand, Norway (2017); “Jeppe Hein Semicircular Space”, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); “This Way,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2015); “A Smile For You,” Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2013); “360˚,” 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2011); “Sense City,” ARoS Museum of Art, Århus, Denmark (2009). He has been included in recent group exhibitions at Hayward Gallery, London; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; MMK, Frankfurt; and CCA Wattis, San Francisco. His work All Your Wishes was unveiled in 2020 as a major permanent installation at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, a commission by LaGuardia Gateway Partners in partnership with Public Art Fund. His works are held in institutional collections including Tate Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Born 1953 in London, England, James Nares lives and works in New York. Over the course of a five-decade career, Nares has investigated, challenged, and expanded the boundaries of his multi-media practice that encompasses film, music, painting, photography, and performance. He continues to employ various media to explore physicality, motion, and the unfolding of time. Nares has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and in the summer of 2019, a career-spanning retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum. His work is included in several prominent public collections, including the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A career-spanning survey of his film and video works were presented in 2008 at Anthology Film Archives, New York; and in 2011 at IFC Center, New York. In 2014, Rizzoli published a comprehensive monograph on Nares’s career to date. In 2019, the Milwaukee Art Museum published a catalog in conjunction with Nares’s retrospective held at the museum. Nares has lived and worked in New York since 1974.
Jonathan Paul Gillette
Jonathan Paul Gillette was born in 1980. He received an MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Gillette currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Born 1973 in Bonn, Germany, Simone Gilges lives and works in Berlin. Gilges studied visual communication at Universität der Künste Berlin and photography at the Fachhochschule Dortmund. She is a founding member of Honey-Suckle Company (HSC), Berlin, founder of the publishing house and project space Neue Dokumente, Berlin, and publisher of “freier: the magazine for states of mind.” With attention to the intricacies of material, construction and placement, Simone Gilges’ photographs, found objects and sculptures form an intriguing symbolic system. Evoking a magical and emotive experience of time, place, and action, Gilges both romances and unsettles the viewer. Recalling Beuys’ investigations of the poetic and political resonances of materials, she invests her work with a sense of both revelation and mystery. Recent exhibitions include “Mondo Sore Esche,” Galerie für Gegenwartskunst, Bremen, Germany; “Dissolution between Reality and the Invisible,” KM, Berlin, Germany (both 2019) (both solo); “Icons & Rituals,” PiK Deutz, Cologne, Germany; “Female Female,” Galerie für Moderne Fotografie, Berlin, Germany (2018); “Portfolio Berlin 03,” Kunsthalle Rostock, Germany (2017); Recent exhibitions with Honey Suckle Company include: “Omnibus,” Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (solo); “Rosa sprich,” Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany (both 2019).
(1947-2017) was one of the most widely read and influential magazine writer-editors of the last fifty years and was a hall-of-fame copywriter and creative director whose ads are ingrained in popular culture. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, O’Brien studied at Georgetown University and Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts. After college, he joined Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, which he helped shape over his 20-year association. He wrote regular columns in publications including Artforum, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Paper, Purple, and Spin, and was widely read on the subjects of art, fashion, and music. Beloved as GQ’s “Style Guy”, his witty advice column was syndicated in GQ editions around the world. O’Brien wrote many books, including 2011’s best-selling How to Be A Man, published in six countries.