Nudes in the Forest
We are delighted to invite you on Tuesday, February 6, starting 7 pm, to the opening of Elijah Burgher’s first solo show in Europe, Nudes in the Forest.
Elijah Burgher’s artistic endeavour is infused with magic, employing occult iconographies from different esoteric systems in creating his specific abstract language and his own formal and meaningful grammar of emblems and sigils, symbols of wishes and desires. His projects develop like rituals of enchantment with references from mysticism, literature, from art’s history as well as his personal one.
On this occasion Burgher has envisioned a site-specific environment made of three interrelated elements: the Nudes and the Chants – works on paper created with the printmaking process of pressure printing – inside the architecture of the symbolical spaces emanated by wall paintings of magical sigils. For these sigils – which are significant forms, abstractions imbued with language, desire, magic and mythology – Elijah Burgher follows a method devised by the early 20th century British artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare. The manner in which Burgher uses this mystical process in order to create a form-content unity relates to his interest in experiments with written text and language, such as Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs’s cut-ups, Henri Michaux’s asemic writing, Lettrism.
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“Titles are important, they’re like breadcrumb trails. The nude is an age-old subject of art. Most crucially for me, the nude has frequently served as a vehicle for expressing love, desire, and beauty, as well as erotic frenzy, terror and pain. The sigils represent desire too, and, like an aroused or arousing nude, they appear in the red alphabet blushing, hot and bothered, full-frontal or spread-eagle, totally naked. I am hoping that the title will be reminiscent of the well-known Baudelaire poem, “Correspondences”, which features the phrase, “forêts de symboles,” usually translated into english as “symbol forest” or “forest of symbols,” but also “cabalistic wood.” I enjoy contemplating being lost in a forest of symbols, of going for a walk in Grunewald, for instance, and seeing the tree branches spell out strange signs, or, alternatively, experiencing Kottbusser Tor, so full of blinking signage, as a wilderness, a place in which to lose oneself. Chants, of course, are simple, repetitive songs or intonations used in ritual. I enjoy the implication that the Chants are the voices of the Nudes, or that there are chanting voices in the forest.“
Elijah Burgher (b. 1978, Kingston, NY, USA) is an American artist living and working in Berlin, Germany. His works have been exhibited in solo and group shows in various contexts among which the 2017 The Nothing That Is: A Drawing Show in 5 Parts, The Carnegie, Covington, the 2016 HOMOCCULT 2.0, Mexico City, the 2015 AA Bronson’s Sacre du Printemps, Grazer Kunstverein, the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2014 Gwangju Biennial and The Temptation of AA Bronson at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam. In 2011 he was a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Fire Island Artist Residency. He received a MFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY.
The exhibition can be visited until March 31, Wednesday-Saturday, 12-18, or by appointment outside the visiting hours.
photo credits: Cătălin Georgescu