What is the role of memory in our personal identity and how memory is being used for the construction of national identities? Individual and common memory has been a focus of many conceptual artists in the recent years, and many pieces of art were created as a way to understand the power of memory and different memory narratives. The list of solo and group exhibitions of the works by Andrea Geyer is quite impressive. She participated in a large number of shows, including solo and group exhibitions, while the list of her projects and works is remarkable as well. Her work focuses on the questions dealing with memory, identity, gender, class, ideology. The Thomas Zander Gallery in Cologne organizes the show of Andrea Geyer, entitled Time Fold.
Andrea Geyer was born in Germany, but she lives and works in New York. She once said that the social and political contexts of both Germany and the United States largely influenced her work and her thinking. In Germany the tensions between economic welfare and the common memory of war and Nazism created a context in which Geyer began to think about the role of memory in society, ideology and politics. On the other hand, her moving to the United States brought some other elements of social and political dynamics to her attention. Events such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, War in Iraq, the “Occupy” movement – all of them inspired Geyer to go deeper in exploring the complex intersections between ideology, identity, politics and every-day life. Postmodern scholars and their philosophy (i.e. Judith Butler) inspired her theoretical thinking, and consequently her artistic concepts. Geyer uses a wide range of artistic mediums in her works, including photography, video, sound, ink drawing and many others.
Andrea Geyer has already exhibited in Thomas Zander Gallery, when the visitors had an opportunity to see her work Spiral Lands. The concept is based on the relation between identity and land in North America. She travelled to the American Southwest with her camera, where she made landscape photographs with the purpose to represent the social injustice the Native Americans have been facing. They also show the products of the discourse created by the dominant Western historiography on the territories where Native Americans have been living. However, it’s not only the photographs that show the existence of different narratives. She also exhibited the comments she had made during the trip, combining them with quotations from treaties, academic texts or philosophical comments. All pieces exhibited together represent a totality of the concept. As it is the case with some other Geyer’s works, the examples of injustice, repression, violence and colonialization have the central role in her concepts, while her approach to these cases is characterized by deep and coherent theoretical knowledge on the role of ideology, history, memory and identity in shaping the image of one society. The main works at the exhibition Time Fold are part of the Past Strangers series. It is a series of photographs taken at the Museum of the Modern Art's (in New York) Painting and Sculpture Conversation Lab. They depict various artworks from the museum's collections. By taking the artworks out of their historically determined exhibition space, Geyer's photographs open up new perspectives, primarily emphasizing their materiality and visual language.
As mentioned before, this is not the first time the Thomas Zander Gallery and Andrea Geyer collaborate. This time, the gallery organizes a show Time Fold. The exhibition of the work by Andrea Geyer will be on view at the Thomas Zander Gallery in Cologne, between February 21st and April 4th.
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All images © Andrea Geyer, courtesy Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne
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