Ivy Haldeman at Capsule Shanghai

Artist: Ivy Haldeman

Exhibition title: (Hesitate)

Venue: Capsule Shanghai, Shanghai, China

Date: August 31 – October 16, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Capsule Shanghai

“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

-Anaïs Nin, Seduc&on of the Minotaur

Capsule Shanghai is delighted to announce the opening of New York-based arBst Ivy Haldeman’s solo exhibiBon, “(Hesitate),” the first presentaBon of the arBst’s oeuvre in Shanghai, China. It will feature her most recent painBngs and an LED neon-light installaBon.

Comprised of three idiosyncraBc visual tropes: a hotdog figure, hollow business suits in pairs, and gesBculaBng fingers, Ivy Haldeman’s immaculate imageries allow sensuality, vulnerability, and imaginaBon to contend with a variety of culturally pervasive noBons. This exhibiBon complicates the dichotomies of what qualifies as the natural versus the arBficial, the free versus the subjugated. As suggested in its Btle, a momentary pause from repose to performance, a disjuncBon between mind and body, may be the elusive posiBon from which a viewer reframes their percepBon of being human.

Haldeman’s hotdog figure, simultaneously an anthropomorphic, phallic, and feminine icon, has undermined what a hotdog embodies: the unnatural, the constructed, and the consumable. Likewise, the business suits, devoid of human figures, would presumably align with convenBonal percepBons of power, success, anonymity, and predictability, yet they are off balanced by their accentuated silhoueRe—padded shoulders, swinging hips, expressive cuffs—and generate a visual tension between the masculine and the feminine, as well as between a public persona and a private one. The gesBculaBng fingers, an isolated body part fully embodied, move en pointe, hint at feBsh, and communicate through an implied body language. Be it the hotdog figure’s banana phone, her pointy sBleRos, her pillowy bun, or her supple book; the business suits acBng in concert; or the flirtaBous silhoueRe of the fingers centered on canvas, Haldeman deploys these conduits of make-believe, comical tropes, and even wry humor for her subjects to reclaim a personal idenBty, interiority, and agency.

In addiBon to these three series of works on canvas, the LED neon-light installaBon of suited, invisible feminine figures emboldens Haldeman’s capacity to illuminate the viewer’s imaginaBon. Not far from the heart of the Shanghai French Concession, perhaps the illuminated figure is a career woman by day, secret agent by night, swinging her hips as she trots along the streets, shaded under a Chinese parasol, sauntering to her nocturnal acBviBes in a Wong Kar-wai film scene…

Haldeman’s works can be read in associaBon with a wide range of art historical references, from “Barberini Faun,” a HellenisBc sculpture of a sleeping male nude to a fiery, scribbled version of Claude Monet’s “Japanese Bridge.” In the arBst’s own words, “These two images embody what I search for when I make a painBng: a muscular sensuality paired with a half-blind urgency that corrupts the familiar.” In parBcular, Kitagawa Utamaro’s Ukyio-e prints of courtesans, who dwell within the “floaBng world” of the pleasure district, operate like adverBsements, drawing in capital through images of an eroBcized underclass. For Haldeman, Utamaro’s encapsulaBons of his subject’s individuated beauty, not only serve as a record of subtle human expressions, but also lay bare the uBlity of feminine aestheBcs by recording women from ranges of economic classes, as well as depicBng them in their private moments when they are not performing for clients.

For the works on view, Ivy Haldeman adopts a minimal visual vocabulary to generate the maximum amount of significaBon and invites the viewer into a performance with her tableau. Regardless of whether her subjects are imagined, objecBfied, or even feBshized in the convenBonal sense, Haldeman conceives of them as living things and translates them into expressions through which the viewer is invited to discover the strangeness of their own empathy.

Text: Fiona He

Ivy Haldeman (b. 1985, Aurora, CO; lives and works in New York) received her BFA from the Cooper Union in 2008. Her work has been exhibited at Downs & Ross, The Frans Hals Museum, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Paul Kasmin Gallery, among numerous others. Her pracBce has been featured in Arlorum, Artnet, The Brooklyn Rail, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, (Hesitate), 2019, exhibition view, Capsule Shanghai

Ivy Haldeman, Full Figure, Knee Up, Hand Impresses Bun, Lifts Head, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 213.4 x 147.3 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Full Figure, Finger Along Face, Shins Cross, Hand Presses Open Book, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 147.3 x 213.4 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Two Suits, Wrist Bent, Cuff to Pocket (Mauve, Peach), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 170.2 x 152.4 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Crop, Open Book, Open Bun, Finger Tugs Do, Banana Phone, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Heels, Peel, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Index Up, Two Hands, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Crop, Elbow in Book, Hand Dangles Down, Finger Tip Off Edge, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Crop, Feet Touch, Pinky Along Frame, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

Ivy Haldeman, Crop, Thumb to Finger Tips, Hand to Bun Opening, Torso to Legs (Between Two), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 41.9 cm

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