Zoe Leonard - Artist Portrait, 2012, photo credits artribune.com

Zoe Leonard

United States 1961

Installation, Sculpture, Photography

Zoe Leonard
Zoe Leonard
United States
April 6, 2016
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Exploring the influence of globalization, an American artistZoe Leonard creates work that questions the continuous evolution of society. Working in photography, sculpture and installation she processes the themes of mortality and losing as well as the changes in the environment over time. At the age of 16, she decided to become an artist, renouncing the education, she dropped out the high school. She spent most of her life in New York, whose influence is present in her work. During the 80’s and 90’s, as the AIDS activist, Leonard participated in queer politics, witnessing the loss of many important people from the art world.

There are 162 dolls covering the gallery floor

Zoe Leonard - Mouth Open, Teeth Showing, 2001, photo credits paulacoopergallery.com museum 2009 new york works
Zoe Leonard – Mouth Open, Teeth Showing, 2001, photo credits paulacoopergallery.com

Questioning Mortality and Transience of Life

Her installation The Strange Fruit (For David), 1997, is a respond to this tragic occasions. Dedicated to the artist David Wojnarowicz who died of AIDS, dried fruit skins on the gallery floor indicated the well-known theme of the vanitas still-life in which the ephemeral objects symbolize the human mortality. Themes of decay and recovery are also present in the installation Mouth Open, Teeth Showing, 2001, were 162 dolls, collected from sales and flea markets, cover the gallery floor. Representing physical traces of their owners lost over the time, the dolls have been recovered by the artist’s gesture which put them in the new context.

She worked on this projest for nine years

Zoe Leonard - Analogue, 1998-2007, photo credits inclovermag.com 2016 arts center 2015 museum
Zoe Leonard – Analogue, 1998-2007, photo credits inclovermag.com

The Analogue

Between the 1998 and 2007, Leonard was dedicated to Analogue, the series of photographs that document the shop windows and facades of small storefronts, exploring the transformation and vanishing as a result of urban lifestyle and contemporary changes. Photographing with the vintage Rolleiflex camera, this monumental project started in New York and then took her to Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The final product was 412 prints organized into the 25 chapters. The disappearing storefronts and forgotten products were restored with the lens of outdated technology. The Analogue was exhibited for the first time in 2007 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

One suitcase represents one year of life

Zoe Leonard - 1961, 2002-, photo credits exhibitions.guggenheim.org new york works 2016
Zoe Leonard – 1961, 2002-, photo credits exhibitions.guggenheim.org

Life is a Suitcase

Examining how the medium of photography is changing, after she made over 400 images shot in celluloid, after finishing the Analogue, Leonard takes a break from photographing for several years. Continuing the practice that on a quiet but powerful way mix the personal with the political issues, Leonard’s work 1961 (2002-) is a conceptual self-portrait with one old suitcase of every year of life. Representing the passage of time, invoking travel, escape and adventure, the artwork move toward the inevitable mortality. Every suitcase is different by size, color and model, and that is more important all of them are empty as a symbol of lost emotions over the time.

Interior is converted into exterior

Zoe Leonard - 945 Madison Avenue, 2014, photo credits whitney.org arts center 2015
Zoe Leonard – 945 Madison Avenue, 2014, photo credits whitney.org

Inside Exterior

The fourth floor of 945 Madison Avenue, during the 2014 Biennial, was transformed into the enormous camera obscure. This natural phenomenon emerges when a small hole in one side of the dark room projects an inverted image of the outside view onto the surfaces of the other room. Investigating vision not only as optical but also a temporal and social process, Leonard puts the visitors right into the camera. Entering the dark room, when one’s eyes adjust, the picture is revealing the details and bright colors. The exterior of the building becoming visible on its inside walls and ceilings. As opposed to flat images, camera obscure gives more complex movement between dimensions – the real outside world is compressed and converted into the interior space.

Sun is the main subject of the photograph

Zoe Leonard - Available Light 14, photo credits contemporaryartdaily.com new york museum american 2009
Zoe Leonard – Available Light 14, photo credits contemporaryartdaily.com

Bringing Images to the Source

Investigating the subject of the photographs, she wondered is it always has to be something depicted, or can also be the idea of seeing. That is how she gets to the sun, as the ever-present element on the images which couldn’t be directly represented. She started to make so-called sun photographs, first depicting rooftops or treetops and later unspecific landscapes consisted only of emanation of light. Cutting the triangle between the camera, a sun and the subject, Leonard refers just to the light source, dealing directly with the structures of seeing.

Zoe Leonard - Available Light 11, photo credits contemporaryartdaily.com new york museum american 2009
Zoe Leonard – Available Light 11, photo credits contemporaryartdaily.com

Everything is Changing

Using images as a means of documentation, remembrance, invention and critique, Leonard approaches her work from a feminist perspective. Devoted to the analogue photography, she loves the way that film register light. But the type of camera is only a personal commitment and her main goal is to investigate how do we see and how the lens changes our perspective. Her installations make the viewer reconsider his own habits of mind. Waiting for the sight adjustment, the work is based on the slow change and taking the time to see what is going to present in front of one’s eyes.

Zoe Leonard lives and works in New York

Featured image: Zoe Leonard, 2012, photo credits artibune.com
All images used for illustrative purpose only

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Zoe Leonard, Lorna Simpson, Cindy Sherman: In Passing Art Institute of Chicago, ChicagoGroup
2016From Minimalism Into Algorithm The Kitchen, New YorkGroup
2015AnalogueMuseum of Modern Art, New York Solo
2015Zoe Leonard Antony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco Solo
2015Greater New York 2015MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New YorkGroup
2015Gathered Fates Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2014 The Social Construction of the Landscape Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, La Construccion Social del Paisaje, Seville, SpainGroup
2014Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography New York Public Library, New York Group
2013Chinati Foundation 100 North Nevill Street, Marfa Solo
2013Sun Photographs Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp, BelgiumSolo
2013Glory Hole LLS 387 Ruimte voor Actuele Kunst, Antwerp, Belgium Group
2013Alchemical Stephen Kasher Gallery, New York Group
2012 Zoe Leonard Murray Guy, New YorkSolo
2012Sun Photographs Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, ItalySolo
2012Observation Point Camden Arts Centre, London, EnglandSolo
2012Viral Research Whitechapel Gallery, London Group
2012Vollmilch. Der Bart als Zeichen Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz, AustriaGroup
2011 Available Light Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, GermanySolo
2011 Agitated Histories SITE, Santa Fe NMGroup
2011Fashion Photography from then F.C. Grundlach Collection Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2010 Wunschzettel, im Rahmen der Ausstellung: Nur Papier, und doch die ganze Welt, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany Group
2010Atlas. How to Carry the World on Ones Back Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain Group
2009 Photographs Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung, Ludwig, ViennaSolo
2009Photographs Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, GermanySolo
2009 200 Artworks – 25 Years, Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, JapanGroup
2009200 Artworks – 25 Years Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, China Group
2009200 Artworks – 25 Years Seoul Arts Center, Hangaram Museum, Seoul, Korea Group
2008 You See I Am Here After All Dia: Beacon, New York Solo
2008Dia at The Hispanic Society of America Derrotero, New York Solo
2008PhotographsMuseo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, MadridSolo
2008Zoe Leonard Galeria Pepe Cobo, Madrid, SpainSolo
2008 Sings of the Time Whitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
2008Ad Adsurdum – Energien des Absurden von der klassischen Moderne zur Gegenwart MARTa Herford Museum, , Herford, GermanyGroup
2008Kunst im Heim Capitain Petzel, Berlin, Germany Group
2007Photographs Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Analogue Villa Arson, Nice, France Solo
2007Analogue Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Solo
2007Blind Date Deutsche Bank Kunst und Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul, Turkey Group
2007dOCUMENTA XII Kassel, Germay Group
2007Dolls Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, Italy Group
2006Project: Zoe Leonard Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, GermanySolo
2005 Out Loud: Visualizing Womens Health in Contemporary Art Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University Inside, St. Louis Group
2005Alias & Alibi Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, NetherlandsGroup
2005Cave Birds Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, Italy Group
2003Project: Zoe Leonard Paula Cooper Gallery, New Work, New York Solo
2003Zoe Leonard Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin, GermanySolo
2003 Eric Hattan, Zoe Leonard, Michel Francois Swiss Institute Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup
2003Recent Acquisitions – Photography The Museum of Fine Arts, HoustonGroup
2003Works from the Sammlung Schürmann Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, Germany Group
2003Phantom of Desire Neue Galerie, Graz, AustriaGroup
2002Zoe Leonard The Agency for Contemporary Art, London, EnglandSolo
2002 RE: ACTION 2002Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City Group
2002Recent Accessions: Photography The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Group
2001Zoe Leonard Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco Solo
2001Zoe LeonardGalerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany Solo
2001Zoe Leonard Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan, ItalySolo
2001 Photographic Portraits Jan Weiner Gallery, Full Frontal, Kansas City Group
2001From Real to Ideal Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, BrattleboroGroup
2001ShoppingGenerali Foundation, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2000Zoe Leonard Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Solo
2000Drawings & Photographs Matthew Marks Gallery, New York Group
2000Cross Female Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany Group
1999Zoe Leonard Micheline Szwajcer Gallery, Antwerp, BelgiumSolo
1999Zoe Leonard Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, PolandSolo
1999Zoe Leonard Gallery Anadiel, Jerusalem, Israel Solo
1999Recent Photographs Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Solo
1999Zoe Leonard Luhring Augustine Hetzler, Santa Monica Solo
1999Zoe Leonard University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley Solo
1999 No Quarter Given. Images of Violence in Contemporary Art Espai d´Art Contemporani de Castelló, Castello, Spain Group
1999A Girl Like You Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris, FranceGroup
1999The Sentiment of the Year 2000Milano Triennale, Milan, Italy Group
1998Zoe Leonard Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, FranceSolo
1998Zoe Leonard Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, GermanySolo
1998Strange Fruit Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Solo
1998Zoe Leonard Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City Solo
1998 Crossroad Groninger Museum, Groningen, NetherlandsGroup
1998Three Generations Patricia Faure Gallery Santa Monica Group
1998Fast Forward (Body Check) Kunstverein Hamburg, Germany Group
1997Zoe Leonard Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris, FranceSolo
1997Zoe Leonard Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Solo
1997Gent zu Gast im Kunstverein Schwerte Kunstverein Schwerte, Museum Van Hedendaagse Kunst, Schwerte, Germany Group
1997Still and Moving: Contemporary Photography and Video Revolution Gallery, FerndaleGroup
1997Miami Short Cuts: Links to the Body Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, Dortmund, Germany Group
1996 Group Show Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Group
1996The Wild Good; Lesbian Photography and Writings on Love A Different Light Bookstore, New York Group
1996Embedded Metaphor Independent Curators International, New York Group
1996Groninger Museums Collection and Proposals for Future Acquisitions Groninger Museum, Groningen, NetherlandsGroup
1995Zoe Leonard Le Case dArte, Milan, ItalySolo
1995Photographs and ObjectsPresented by Paula Cooper Gallery at the Artists Studio, New York Solo
1995Berkeley In a Different Light University Art Museum, University of California, Berekley Group
1995Zoe Leonard and Mauri Formigoni Sangamon State University Visual Arts Gallery, Springfield Group
1995Compulsion to Repeat: Repetition and Difference in Works from the Permanent Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles Group
1994The Art of Seduction Centre Gallery, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami Group
1994The Use of Pleasure Terrain Gallery, San Francisco Group
1993Zoe Leonard The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, Chicago Solo
1993Saints and Survivors in a Time of Plague Lowinsky Gallery, New York Group
1993Whitney Biennial Exhibition Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Group
1992Zoe Leonard Paula Cooper Gallery, New York Solo
1992Zoe Leonard, Félix González-Torres, Kiki Smith, Robert Gober Jack Hanley Gallery, San FranciscoGroup
1992dOCUMENTA IX Kassel, GermanyGroup
1991From Desire: A Queer Diary Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University, New York NYGroup
1991Gullivers Travels Galerie Sophia Ungers, Cologne, Germany Group
1990Zoe Leonard. Photographien Galerie Gisela Capitain, CologneSolo
1990 Group Show Luhring Augustine, New York NYGroup
1990Group Show The Köln Show, Cologne, GermanyGroup
1989Strange Attractors: Signs of Chaos New Museum, New YorkGroup
1989First Amendment Show Sally Hawkins Gallery, New York Group
1987Consonance ISD, New York Group
1986The Hidden Surface Middendorf Gallery, WashingtonGroup
1986Group Show Simon Cerigo Gallery, New York Group
1985Zoe Leonard Greathouse, New York Solo
1985Getting Off Civilian Warfare Gallery, New York Group
1984Soon to Be A Major Motion Picture Greathouse, New YorkGroup
1984Just Appearances New Math Gallery, New York Group
1983Zoe Leonard Hogarth Gallery, Sydney, AustraliaSolo
1983Twenty-Nine Downtown Piezo Electric, New York Group
1982Times Square Show Times Square, New York Group
1980Group Show Club 57, New York Group
1979Zoe Leonard Fourth Street Photo Gallery, New York Solo