Artist: Zuzanna Czebatul
Exhibition title: Opus Sectile
Curated by: Vivien Trommer
Venue: MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, New York, US
Date: June 28 – July 31, 2015
Photography: © MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38, courtesy of the artist and Ludlow 38, New York
MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Zuzanna Czebatul in the United States. For Ludlow 38, the artist has developed a floor piece that deals with the exhibition space and its history. Opus Sectile originated in dialog with the permanently installed display Remodel, which was conceived by artist Martin Beck in 2011, is a reflection about movement through social and experienced spaces. Taking the relationship between the individual and space as a starting point, in this work Czebatul addresses the history of architecture and its brittle lines in the present. The exhibition will be on view through July 31.
The title Opus Sectile (Engl. “cut work”) is borrowed from Latin and refers to an artistic technique that was practiced primarily in ancient Roman times to inlay floors with fine marble, mother of-pearl, or cut glass. Unlike mosaics, the stones for an opus sectile are cut to generous shapes, which then are positioned piece by piece as the subject. The best known historical references include the finds in Villa Adriana, Herculaneum, and Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. The rooms of these imposing villas were not only decorated with fine sculptures, statues, and busts, but also with decorative mosaics and murals. In ancient times, sculpture and architecture formed a synergetic unit designed for a harmonious combined effect; the goal was to design space as a whole.
Czebatul’s engagement with sculptural architecture transports this idea to the present. At Ludlow 38, she has transformed the floor into an artistic element, producing an extensive opus sectile and thus redefining movement through the exhibition space. The formal design of the floor is based on dynamic lines that create a horizontal pattern. The individual panels have a marbled quality created in a special manufacturing process by which Czebatul prepares a concretepigment mixture that slowly hardens in poured molds. These panels are fastened to each other on the floor and intercede with the Remodel display in their overall appearance. At the same time the floor appears to be part of a larger whole, a fragment of modern architecture that seemingly runs behind the walls of the exhibition space. Opus Sectile is based on ideas of site-specificity and opens up a conceptual space where the potential and the continuous transformation of urban architecture can be renegotiated.
Zuzanna Czebatul (born in 1986, Miedzyszecz) lives and works in New York. She graduated from the Städelschule, Frankfurt/Main in 2013. She is currently working towards her MFA at Hunter College, New York, as Fulbright Fellow. She is also a recipient of the 2015 SOMA Scholarship, Mexico City. Czebatul works as a sculptor, producing her own materials, and creating works that merge the differentiation between commercial product and artistic production. Her work is influenced by the aesthetics of ancient sculptures, modern forms of display and presentation, as well as the club culture of the 1990s. Czebatul has had solo exhibitions at Gillmeier Rech, Berlin; Opelvillen Rüsselsheim; and 1822-Forum, Frankfurt/Main. Recently, her work was presented in group exhibitions at Center, Berlin; 1m3, Lausanne; Heidelberger Kunstverein; and Villa Romana, Florence. Later this year, she will have solo exhibitions at Bad Reputation, Los Angeles, and Gillmeier Rech, Berlin.