New YorkSarah Ortmeyer: SPORTS CLUB NEW YORK
Opening: Thursday 23 June, 6pm-8pm
Eva Presenhuber presents SPORTS CLUB NEW YORK, an exhibition by the artist SARAH ORTMEYER, in collaboration with Dvir Gallery, Brussels | Paris | Tel Aviv.
SARAH ORTMEYER’s practice engages with the world of risk, recurrently touching the theme of chess in conversation with notions of love. The artist’s extensive oeuvre is emblematic of both a bold temperament and a subtle approach.
Her work spans from sculpture to painting to publishing, offering wild compositions that convey a romanticism of emotions, underlined with an unusual understanding of the human condition. Intriguingly, ORTMEYER is an artist who works across generations (1) and is frequently shown in exhibitions alongside modern artists such as Man Ray or Kandinsky—while taking a highly contemporary approach.
SPORTS CLUB NEW YORK is her 75th exhibition. A show embracing delicacy yet full of flames and disobedience by being unapologetically antithetic. This antithesis is presented through intrinsic nature, unexpected love encounters, and the vulnerability of shells and sportsmen.
The exhibition captures the essence of her practice with the bodies of work: GRANDMASTER Series (Chess), MONSTER Series (Eggs), EMOJI SHADOW Series (Shadows), DIABOLUS Collectio (Devils), CANUS Collectio (Grey), SILVER Collectio (Silver), and COLLECTIO Collectio (Portraits).
SPORTS CLUB NEW YORK is a step towards innocence and a story of bigger, darker tales. The simplicity of materials in the show becomes a strength while the works stay open and raw. The exhibition—mainly in silver, black, and white—bleeds out hues in the colors of the sky (GRANDMASTER paintings).
Every single piece in the show is unique.
A punk disorder, hidden behind the neat uneven disposition within each room: ORTMEYER navigates them with ease through repetition and distinctiveness only to end in freedom.
ORTMEYER introduces the exhibition with a nod to her seminal works:
GRANDMASTER and DIABOLUS paintings and a DIABOLUS projection. The entrance room is surrounded by protective guardians: embossed paintings of devil shadows in convo with GRANDMASTER chess paintings, images of skies of different colors (cloudy grey, humid beige, sunset pink) are obscured by a grid of black pigment.
Chess has often been seen as “a metaphor for the dialectic of opposites” (2) in ORTMEYER’s universe, reflecting human nature and its weakness for contradictions:
within the trap of individualism, universality with superficiality despite the uniqueness of people as living creatures.
The monumental piece LE LOVE enters the space of friendship, radical connections, and fantasy love. Deep, surprising, uncanny, and intimate interconnections and interrelations between super-talents.
ORTMEYER connects the world as a utopic and universal plan through new alliances of love between BARBRA STREISAND & BOBBY FISCHER, PEGGY OKI & TONY ALVA, JESSE WILLIAMS & SANDRA OH, among others.
What have these immensely gifted persons shared and found in common?
Altogether they radiate statuesque off the four walls. In their middle stands a large, benevolent silver DIABOLUS sculpture, the ever-shining moonlight in the room.
The exhibition concludes with a juxtaposition of DAVID paintings, small depictions of the former soccer player, David Beckham, made with pigment and binder on silver cotton on linen. A portrayal of an icon, fragile hearts and blushing cheeks leaning toward a more humane character.
The portraits are shown in dialogue with MONSTER, unique swan and deformed ostrich eggshell sculptures. The works are accompanied by GRANDMASTER.
David, the masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and historical symbol of power, youth, and independence, and David, the sports hero, each represent outdated male ideals of success. We end the show with DAVID playing another type of game, this time with eggshells in rows of penalties—is this what happens with L-O-V-E?
Sarah Ortmeyer was born in 1980 in Frankfurt, DE. Selected shows have taken place at institutions including the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, ID; Kunstverein München, Munich, DE; Belvedere21, Vienna, AT; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, PL; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, DE; MoMA PS1, New York, NY, US; Fondazione Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, IT; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, DE; and Swiss Institute, New York, NY, US. Her work has been featured in Artforum, Frieze Magazine, Kunstforum International, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, among others.
(1) Milton Glaser cut one of Ortmeyer’s COR paintings, which became the black heart logo for Performance Space New York in 2017. One year later, Ortmeyer produced a black and white silent movie with teen idol and rapper (Y.Hurn aka K.Ronaldo). From 2016 to 2021, Ortmeyer formed the drawing crew FMSO with Austrian poet Friederike Mayröcker (*1924 – † 2021).
(2) Jem Perucchini, Corvi-Mora exhibition, London, February 2022.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)