Addie Wagenknecht, everyday the same again
Addie Wagenknecht, every day the same again
October 16–November 13, 2021
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11 AM–6 PM
Opening reception: Saturday, October 16, 4–6 PM
bitforms gallery is pleased to present every day the same again, Addie Wagenknecht’s third solo exhibition. Wagenknecht frequently repurposes systems with an ethos of hacker culture, usurping materials—such as cosmetics, surveillance devices, Roombas, and pharmaceuticals—of their inherent function to encourage the tension between expression and the programmed role of devices. The artist has long examined elements of visibility and identity, and in the continuing tide of Covid-19 she positions this exhibition as an inquiry towards America as both a foreigner and a citizen. The pandemic acts as a lens and guiding structure for Wagenknecht’s studies from across the Atlantic.
American Flag 1–3 is a sterile installation of three pedestals mounted with archival paper. Above each plinth, ink slowly drips from IVs. Over time, this performance reveals an abstracted image as red ink pools and cascades into blue puddles. Negative space completes the configuration, an inky rendering of the American flag. Jasper Johns’ seminal flag paintings, in particular Three Flags (1958), served as great inspiration to Wagenknecht during this period of study. Nested inside one another, Johns’ composition highlights the structure of the flag as an object as well as a national emblem. Wagenknecht echoes this approach by favoring process over end result, refiguring America drop by drop.
The exhibition continues online with a series of videos prompted by the artist’s 2017 web-based work, Believe Me. Inspired by Donald Trump’s most spoken words of that year, the interactive piece simulates the fractured viewpoint of browsing images on a shattered smartphone screen. Believe Me 1.2–1.4 implements the American flag as a source image. Throughout each video sections of stars and stripes flicker, splinter, and rearrange in a procedure that personifies Wagenknecht’s current consideration of the United States. every day the same again extends the artist’s investigation of the flag as a totem of the American Dream and its shattered utopias. She writes:
“Like a cracked screen, we often view the world via and by it for months or years before we ever bother to try to fix it. America is hard to see, and as an artist, I think you need this constant sense of being able to escape and vanish and feel. People always ask me where I consider home. Home, like America, is a complicated word. I have spent the last 5 years looking at America and trying to figure out how to renegotiate it: science is no longer considered fact, feelings have become politicized, colors have become politicized, everything has become a weapon. Even existing online—the private is public and the public is private and everything is political.”
Believe Me 1.2–1.4 are minted with NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to signify the artwork’s blockchain certification. Each token’s permanence marks an immutable moment, in this case commemorating the artist’s ruptured view of the United States. This memorial sharply contrasts the display of ephemeral works on paper, which are given the chance to evolve. As arteries of pigment commingle in American Flag 1–3, blended colors dry in poetic figuration. What America may look like at first, disparate tracks of red and blue, assemble into an aggregate landscape.