Monday, December 5, 2011 at 6pm
VCU Student Commons Theater
907 Floyd Ave.
Mika Rottenberg was born in Buenos Aires in 1976, and holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (2000) and an MFA from Columbia University (2004). She lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include a monographic exhibition at de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (2011); M – Museum Leuven, Belgium (2011); the debut of Squeeze at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2010); La Maison Rouge, Paris (2009); KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin (2006); and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2004). Her work has been exhibited in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Irresistible Force, Tate Modern, London (2007); The Shapes of Space, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007); Uncertain States of America: American Art in the Third Millenium (multiple venues, 2005-2006); New Work/New Acquisitions, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005) and Greater New York 2005, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. She has participated in the 2nd Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Argentina (2009), the Moscow Biennial (2007), the Herzliya Biennial , and the Busan Biennial (2006). Her work is in the collections of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art; The Diana Berezdivin Collection; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; and The Julia Stoschek Collection. In 2004 she was awarded a grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and in 2006 she became the first recipient of the Cartier Award in conjunction with the Frieze Art Fair. The first major monograph on Mika Rottenberg, published by Gregory R. Miller & Co. and de Appel Arts Centre, is available this fall from D.A.P. In November 2011 as part of Performa 11 she will present a new commissioned work in collaboration with Jon Kessler at Nicole Klagsbrun Project, New York.
“Video installation artist Mika Rottenberg envisions the female body as a microcosm of larger societal issues such as labor and class inequities. In her short films, women cast for their notable physical features and talents perform perfunctory factory-line duties, manufacturing inane items worth less than the labor required to make them. Her homemade machinery and decor are functional but crudely constructed. These contraptions, operating by pedal, conveyor belt, paddle, rubber band, or string, are reminiscent of Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s kinetic props, though the human interaction in her works adds a carnivalesque element to Rottenberg’s environments, the physical comedy implicit in her narratives recalling Eleanor Antin’s filmed performances. The bright colors of Rottenberg’s self-contained sets don’t disguise the close quarters in which her characters work or mitigate the sense of claustrophobia induced by a dead-end job. A blue-collar work ethic is conjured through the women’s uniforms, ranging from diner-waitress dresses to jogging suits. Her cast often use several body parts at once, reminding the viewer of the feminine capacity for multitasking while it suggests an ironic futility in her sweatshop-like situations.”