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Josh Smith & Sophie von Hellermann
 
Josh Smith (born 1978, lives and works in New York) has recently gained a wide acclaim for paintings that seem to turn Abstract Expressionism into cartoon-like forms of appropriation. He first became known for the works in which he used his name as a motif on the canvas, an ironic act of self marketing. His later "abstractions" and "palettes" further demonstrated his ability to collage manual imput and mechanical reproduction, challenging the notions of creation.
In a world of incessant flows, products, and images, Smith succeeds in offering an alternative flow that serves to break the repetition of the same. Authenticity is not to be sought in a triumphant subjectivity whose return would be signaled through signature and expressiveness, but in a frenzied search whereby subject and work are constantly co-produced and modified.

As other artists of her generation, Sophie von Hellermann (born 1978 in Munich, lives and works in New York) allows herself to draw from the history of painting and from its progressively acquired liberties in order to trace her singular path. From this singular space, she uses painting as an instrument that allows her simultaneously to appropriate and to excuse herself from reality. Each one of SvH's paintings condenses a story, and contains it perfectly within the limits of the frame, yet it is pierced full of holes from within. These empty spaces imbue her works with their evocative power : a capacity first to absorb the gaze and then to expose both the imagination and the memory to sensation. The subject-matter of her essentially narrative paintings is at the intersection of a personal and a collective history, without there being any clear boundaries between the two. Rapid execution, a prolific output, a casual style, narratives which blend history and the everyday, a permanent confusion between the trivial and the grandiose are the instruments she uses to transgress the rules of propriety in painting.

See also Josh Smith; Sophie von Hellermann.
 
(external link: smithjosh.com)
 

 
2010
texts in English and French
A facsimile of the sketchbook made by the two artists for their first duo exhibition.