Baptiste Brossard, Helen Dowling, Sara-Lena Maierhofer
During the pandemic, people were forced to stay away—quite literally—from many everyday rituals. From big events and walkabouts to little but important gestures such as personally shaking hands by way of greeting. With many social interactions no longer possible, it became clear how important they are for a functioning society and how rituals define and facilitate our everyday life. The group exhibition RITUAL featuring artists Baptiste Brossard, Helen Dowling and Sara-Lena Maierhofer focuses on this topic, discussing the social consensus of rituals and viewing it in a broader context with other cultures. All three artists make use of time-based media such as video or photography. Ephemeral by nature, they illustrate how new rituals come about and ultimately how changeable and vulnerable they are.
Baptiste Brossard (*1994 in Toulouse, France, lives and works in Paris and Lit-et-Mixe, France) works as a sculptor and film essayist. In his artistic practice, he is interested in well-rehearsed collective performance practices and enactments. He juxtaposes scenes of German carnival processions with military parades, scenes of fashion shows with military manoeuvres. The images in his video works appear as if collaged and suggest a sense of a familiar use of media while also leaving a feeling of unease. His film essays demonstrate how well-rehearsed rituals and patterns give rise to a feeling of belonging and thus how the individual can find their place in society.
Brossard studied Fine Art at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Lyon, graduating with distinction. He has exhibited at various venues including the Cité internationale des arts and the Palais de Tokyo. In 2018 he was awarded a work scholarship in Stuttgart under the exchange programme run by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the state of Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with art3.
Helen Dowling (*1982 in Windsor, United Kingdom, lives and works in Brussels, Belgium and Delft, The Netherlands) works in a multidisciplinary practice focusing on the capacity to convey empathy and emotions through the video medium. In her videos she juxtaposes photographs and objects, basic elements such as rhythm, colour and sound so as to guide the viewer through a succession of sensations that relate to and build on each other. Understanding rituals as constant repetition, she analyses human existence in terms of its most fundamental actions, that generate familiarity through repetition. Drawing on a host of images which she finds, downloads or films herself, she creates video works with a hallucinatory quality, sending the viewer on a visual journey.
Dowling received her BA from Goldsmiths College in London and her MA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London and took part in a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam. Her recent exhibitions include “Something for the Ivory”, as part of the Rose Residency Programme with MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, the Sandra Natali Residence for Artists and Villa Delle Rose, “Open Skies”, Wiels, Brussels, “Spatial Bias”, Lesage, Brussels, “UHF Straight-To-Video Film Fest”, Antwerp. Her video, The Queen of Lemons, won the last Loop Acquisition Award in 2020.
Her current research project, funded by Sint Lucas Antwerpen, specifically addresses and critically engages with custom porn, analysing and looking at how to incorporate its production structures into the realm of video art, repurposing its acting into new diverging narratives.
Sara-Lena Maierhofer (*1982 in Freudenstadt, lives and works in Berlin) mainly uses photography and archive material to question and explore the past and present, memory and identity. She addresses questions of decolonialisation, restitution and memory culture, deploying photography as an instrument of power. By demonstrating the system of “colonial collecting mania”, as she describes it, she unmasks our Western view of the rituals of other cultures.
Maierhofer graduated in Photography and Media Art from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in 2011. Her works have been on show at the Museum für Fotografie, Berlin, FOAM Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, C/O Berlin and Deichtorhallen Hamburg and feature in various permanent collections. She has received the DZ Bank Project Scholarship for Artistic Photography and the Wüstenrot Stiftung Advancement Award for Documentary Photography as well as work scholarships from the Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn and the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg.
Curated by Madeleine Frey
The exhibition RITUAL is supported by: