Gravity and Grace is the latest exhibition at Hochparterre Berlin, featuring the work of North American artists Kottie Paloma, Zoe Kreye, and Aja Rose Bond. Here, the three artists transcend the normal uses of materials – such as fabrics, glitter and paint – in a domestic space, questioning public space and associations of everyday objects, spirituality and magic through various techniques in painting, installation and sculpture.
Entering the opening of Gravity and Grace last Saturday night, I passed through a mix of patterns and colours, a small kitchen and a buzz of artists. I made my way through the cosy two-room Kreuzberg apartment-gallery on Prinzessinstrasse, which had the feeling of a studio salon. Away from the commercial aspect of the gallery, the works take on another language; one that doesn’t fit in with the contemporary ideas of pleasing an art market.
A house party atmosphere occupied one end, and silence and space amongst artworks and viewers, the other. The first room contained an installation by Zoe Kreye, taking the place of a TV or shrine in a living room: abstract forms lay in a square within a square, including natural and synthetic materials (clay, foam, etc.). Zoe Kreye’s work explores paradigms of ‘transformation, collective experience and public space, creating small catalysts for change within dominant social systems.’ Often looking beyond the dimensions of art, Kreye’s projects take on the form of clubs, workshops, rituals, dialogues and journeys.
On the walls are a series of paintings by Kottie Paloma, with an aggressive use of pink and glitter, resulting from abstract gestures of wide paintbrushes, which seem to have a life of their own, whirling as if by some electric current around the canvas. At a glance the paintings seem full of fun and femininity, but Paloma is exploring some of the darkest sides of society with his ‘humorous yet poignant and gritty manner. His abstracts serve as a bridge between his sculptures, photography and his earlier and still present comic based paintings.’
Some of Paloma’s work is in the public collection at the MOMA, NYC and his first catalogue is available at Tate Modern, London. Work by Aja Rose Bond is hung alongside Paloma’s in the second room. Bond is an artist with a background in music, craft and fashion respectively, ‘drawing from the deep influence of D.I.Y. punk, queer feminisms and magic.’ Colourful fabrics are woven together into sculptures and paintings and a sketchbook containing abstract lines and patterns in ink lays open on a window sill. Bond explores ‘the interplay of the public and the private through collaborations, collective organizing, solo-projects and a variety of mediums including sound, performance, installation, textile sculpture, drawing, collage and social practice.’ Her current collective organizing includes a project called Witches* Union Hall, based on radical politics, mutual aid and skill sharing alongside spiritual practices with an echo of Genesis P-Orridge’s Thee Temple of Psychick Youth.