Curated by Alyssa Taylor Wendt
September 6 – October 5, 2019
Sanctum brings together a collection of international artists to present work in conversation around the concept of genetic memory. Long fascinated with the idea that we inherit not only DNA but fear, habits, triumph, trauma and love, among other things from our ancestors, Wendt has gathered these artists to explore how this affects our collective cultural consciousness. While the notion of trauma being passed down from previous generations has been extensively studied, she believe there is a missed opportunity to expand upon these other attributes. The idea that all of our actions and experiences affect a greater expanse of the human experience is important to consider in regards to our daily behaviors and future legacy. Are we temporary caretakers of a longer lineage of archetypal behavior? A unique living combination of elements from pieces of our ancestors? Hailing from diverse practices and working in video, installation, photography, painting and sculpture, this group of artists from Texas, Vancouver, Detroit and Hamburg, Germany created work to explore this concept. The exhibition includes an excerpt from Wendt’s latest film TMI, which she filmed this past summer in Detroit. She plans to use the resulting collaborative conversation about inherited memory to inspire the final productions of her film in the coming year.
Scott Vincent Campbell is a visual artist and curator born in New York and currently based in Detroit, MI. He received his BFA from Haverford College in 2005 and has exhibited widely in New York and throughout the Midwest. Conceptually, Campbell is interested in the difference between perception and objective reality; the disconnect between how one interprets the world around them and how it actually is. He is interested in the various reasons, as well as consequences of that schism and exploring how much of our behavior is motivated or hindered by thoughts and assertions not grounded in truth. Through drawings, collage, and mixed‑media sculpture Campbell creates distinct bodies of work that each address specific mental, social, or cultural constructs that are manifestations of this dissonance. While each series has its own particular subject matter, they all revolve around this overarching theme; this dichotomy of true vs. false, rational vs. irrational, and all the gray that can exist in between. Aesthetically, Campbell is inspired by semiotics and African-American material culture. By using symbols, reclaimed objects, and other vernacular forms, Campbell taps into the physical shapes that people use to define both their space and larger culture with. He mines these familiar items and references for their existing associations, qualities, and embedded narratives in order to craft a dialogue of his own making. Campbell is fascinated by the process in which we imbue objects and symbols with meaning. Objects carry their own power and his goal is to construct, combine, and present them in ways that set the stage for certain conversations. He strives to make works that lie at the intersection of drawing and symbol, sculpture and object, performance and ritual.In 2016 Campbell was awarded an artist residency at Red Bull Arts Detroit, and in 2017 was the inaugural Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. He recently closed his second solo show with M Contemporary Art, and was included in a group exhibition at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI.
Cordula Ditz lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. In her diverse body of work, she puts installation, sculpture, painting, performance, sound and video on par within a common frame of reference. In her collages, she explores how cultural constructions emphasize masculine power and exclude and silence women and other marginalized groups. Aspects of oppression, vulnerability and loss of control appear side by side with historic examples of resistance. Ditz has exhibited internationally including: Deichtorhallen/ Falckenberg Collection, Hamburg, Germany (2019) Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg (2019) Galerie im Marstall, Ahrensburg, Germany (2019). Back to Athens, Athens, Greece (2018), Conradi, Hamburg, Germany (2018), Cave, Detroit (2017) Conradi, Brussels, Belgium (2018), Art Rotterdam, Netherlands (2015), Art Cinema OffOff, Filmfest Gent, Belgium (2015), Kunstverein Hamburg, Germany (2014), Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany (2014), Edith Russ Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, Germany (2012) and Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany (2007).
Beili Liu is a visual artist who creates material and process-driven, site‑responsive installations. Oftentimes embodying transience, fragility, and the passage of time, Liu’s immersive installations are engaged with multifaceted dichotomies: lightness contrasted with heft, fierceness countered by resilience, and chaos balanced by quiet order. Working with commonplace materials and elements such as thread, scissors, paper, stone, fire, and water, Liu manipulates their intrinsic qualities to extrapolate complex cultural narratives.Liu’s work has been exhibited in Asia, Europe and across the United States. She has held solo exhibitions at venues such as the Hå Gamle Prestegard, Norwegian National Art and Culture Center (2016, 2011), Hua Gallery, London, UK (2012), Galerie An Der Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2011), Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center, Shanghai (2009), and the Chinese Culture Foundation, San Francisco (2015, 2008). Liu’s work has been showcased in group exhibitions at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2012), Hamburg Art Week, Germany (2012), the Kaunas Biennale, Lithuania (2011), and the 23rd and 25th Miniartextil International Contemporary Fiber Art exhibitions in Como, Italy (2015, 2013), among many others. Beili Liu is a 2016 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant recipient. Liu has been designated the 2018 Texas State Artist in 3D medium by the Texas State Legislature and the Texas Commission on The Arts.Born in Jilin, China, Beili Liu now lives and works in Austin, Texas. Liu received her MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a Professor of Art at the University of Texas at Austin.
Birthe Piontek was born and raised in Germany and moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography. Her art practice explores the relationship between memory and identity, with a special interest in female identity and its representation in our society. She works primarily with photography, but also other mediums like installation, sculpture and collage to investigate to what degree our complex identities can be visualized. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. Her project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. Her most recent work, Abendlied (Engl. Evening Song), received the Edward Burtynsky Grant in 2018 and was published in April 2019. She is the Assistant Professor of Photography at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and is a member of the artist collective Piece of Cake Project.
Alyssa Taylor Wendt works as a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker and curator that works in Austin, Texas and Detroit, Michigan. Her recent projects reference themes of ritual, animism, interactivity, monuments, mysticism, the primordial, architecture and the palimpsestic nature of history using video, sculpture, staged photographs, sound and performance. Earning her BA from NYU and MFA from Bard College, she has shown and performed internationally since 2004. Her recent three-channel video installation H A I N T premiered at the Visual Arts Center at UT Austin and she is currently working on a new video piece about inherited memory. Transplanted to Texas from NYC, she has shown in numerous national and international exhibitions including: Women and Their Work, Austin (2015); Co-Lab Projects, Austin (2012, 2010); Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia (2011); and Babel Gallery, Norway (2009). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2018); Wassaic Project, New York (2018); DEMO Gallery, Austin (2017); Third Man Records, Detroit (2016); Northern-Southern Gallery, Austin (2015); New Museum for Contemporary Art, NY (2011); and Miami Art Basel (2008), among others. She has performed at The Museum of Art and Design, NY (2013), Deitch Projects, NY (2005) and Fusebox Festival, Austin (2012). She is also a recipient of numerous awards, including Official Winner of the International Istanbul Film Festival Award for H A I N T (2018) and the City of Austin Cultural Council Grant (2015-2019). She currently serves on the board of two non-profit arts organizations, serves as a curator for numerous exhibitions and is a member of the ICOSA art collective in Austin.
Jaime Zuverza is an Austin-based visual artist and musician best known for creating gig posters, album art, and promotional materials for a variety of musicians and music related events, both local and international. He graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in painting and printmaking and he continues to create work in both these fields. Recently, he has produced murals for Austin businesses as well as fashion lines. His visual aesthetic echoes a range of influences from comic book art and 1980s animation to Surrealism and religious iconography. Zuverza's prints and wall sized paintings focus on the depiction of the inner landscapes of the self, which emerge from the blending of high and low. These scenes can be described as snapshots that capture the transient flashes experienced in hypnagogic states. Within these flashes can be found heavenly underworlds where nothing is at rest, where all things vibrate in varying degrees of friendliness and chaos. Zuverza's work is rooted in grotesque visions of both body and spirit. Body parts are disassembled and reassembled, the self is shattered and re-figured. The landscape of his southwest upbringing creates a backdrop for these feverish visions: desert skies, ragged canyons, Gulf Coast palms, and the furtive creatures that inhabit these spaces.