"Disguised" -Layla Ali, Melanie Bonajo and Kinga Kielczynska, Heidi Bucher, and Yael Davids

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Rotwand presents “Disguised,” a group exhibition featuring Layla Ali, Melanie Bonajo, Kinga Kielczynska, Heidi Bucher, and Yael Davids. In today’s world where everything is overexposed and overanalyzed, a countermovement to the dwindling distinction between public and private spheres is growing. Whether this is an effort to protect the past or to criticize contemporary culture is to be determined by the viewer.

Ali’s monochromatic prints in Indian ink portray cartoon-like characters in elaborate costumes and flamboyant headdresses. Her work provides some narrative with no specific references. Ali has had solo exhibitions at MoMA in New York and participated in the Venice Biennial in 2003.

Bonajo and Kielczynska join to present “Modern Life of the Soul,” a photographic documentation of a fictional cult at Poland’s east border. The followers of this cult reject Darwin’s theory of evolution in distaste for the success driven state of humanity today. They propose that humanity originates from plant life and they reside in a pristine and secluded forest. Bonajo has exhibited at Foam in Amsterdam. Kielczynska has made fashion videos for designer Bernhard Willhelm and Amsterdam Fashion Week.

Bucher was a Swiss artist whose first fame came in the 70s when she dipped objects into latex, preserving and embalming them while playing with the transience and appearance of materials. She has been compared to Rachel Whiteread and Gordon Matta-Clark. In “Disguised”, a pillow case, bed sheet, negligee, and ornamental cushion are displayed, transfixed and disguised in their latex casings. A retrospective monograph edited by Heike Munder was recently published.

Davids isolates a specific part of the body and places it in a situation that inverts our expected relationships. Her video “Face” displays a model’s head with a mechanical wig attached in continuous slow rotation, heightening our consciousness of the body. Davids has exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Galerie Barbara Thumm in Berlin, and Smart Project Space in Amsterdam.

“Disguised” is at Rotwand until May 9, 2008.

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