Warming up

— Magdalena Kita, Sophie Macpherson, Eleanor Wright


For Drop City’s collaboration with Petra Rinck Galerie the ‘summer show’ is imagined as a space for social, sexual and political agency and takes place in advance of a new and occasional programme presented by the physically and ideologically itinerant gallery model Drop City. After the summer – and in parallel to a temporary, autonomous programme «Drop City, Antwerp» within M HKA Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp – «Drop City, Düsseldorf at Lierenfelder Str. 39» will present the first in a series of artworks, events and exhibitions in its new space: three commissioned curtains by the artists Magdalena Kita, Sophie Macpherson and Eleanor Wright. 

The exhibition at Petra Rinck Galerie looks to establish a shared ground between the three artists who have been brought together through Drop City’s collaborative structure and approach to programming, where artists and collaborators are invited based on friendship and existing relationships by each of the four founders as a way of expanding dialogues around artistic research and making visible shared networks.

A group of works have been gathered for «Warming up» where visual vocabularies range from human interactions with material and living practices to intimate self-imaging. Sculptural forms and displays make reference to physical decoration and collective action, while films and images are read as diaristic, improvised or quasi-documentary accounts of narratives of material and objects’ relations to the body, and to public and private spaces. The exhibition is invoked as a space of things to come and of things that have been, both potential and actual. For instance, photographic slides from an in-production intermedia installation by Eleanor Wright describe a personal and partial response to the seemingly forgotten home and work spaces of a reclusive Athenian structural engineer, Sophie Macpherson’s video and accompanying text reflects on her ongoing thoughts and research around the transformational possibility of clothing alongside an awareness of the precarious living conditions for an unsettled majority of people, whilst Magdalena Kita’s beach towels comprise painted impressions of the artist’s body and images of her acquaintances in ambiguous moments before, during or after both private and shared erotic encounters. Works by all three artists represent distinct approaches to making but display definite shared concerns apropos the body and its interaction with material and living practices. While a performative action puts to use Kita’s towels during the opening reception – throughout the gallery and surrounding streets –  both Wright’s and Macpherson’s sculptural objects remain suggestive of a bodily proximity. Feminist sexual legacies and activism are explored as well as gentrification, living conditions and societal histories. The exhibition provides a partial map of the areas in which all three artists are working – with the space between studio, home and public space an unstable zone.

Drop City is a collaborative gallery model, established in 2014 and working between the cities of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2016 a programme of artist made objects, exhibitions, installations and performances took place throughout the private/public spaces of Hotel Ufer on Gartenstrasse. Invited by hotelier René Tilgier, «Drop City, Düsseldorf at Hotel Ufer» explored the key resource for hospitality: the sharing of space. The programme brought together artists from the city and abroad and experimented with key prevalent principles around exhibition making, duration and site-specificity. Exhibitions expanded out across multiple guest-rooms, communal areas, cities and crossed national borders and included works focussing on the temporality of the hotel experience ranging from handmade plates by Katie Schwab for the daily breakfast buffet, bathrobes by Sophie Macpherson and a permanent attic suite for hotel guests by hobbypopMUSEUM.

The upcoming programme,«Drop City Düsseldorf at Lierenfelder Str. 39» is a living and working environment which intends to traverse different rhythms of showing and engaging with art. Interspersed between life and work commitments and appearing on an occasional basis, the programme will set works against an accumulative backdrop of permanent installations, living and working situations and an evolving personal collection of chosen objects and artworks, each accordingly providing a different temporal experience, intensity and interaction.

The invitation to Kita, Macpherson and Wright to each create a curtain was conceived as a site-specific response to the new Düsseldorf location of Drop City – a live/work space which is home to Drop City co-founders artist Eleanor Wright and exhibition maker and Designer Sam Watson within in a light-industry property at Lierenfelder Strasse 39. The curtains will be shown in their own right whilst also used to create a physical framework for the public programme. The curtains serve to frame the other pieces on display and things that the inhabitants live and work with daily, playing on a long-standing assumption that décor is only ever an accessory. Lierenfelder Strasse 39 is not an exhibition space as such but, rather, plays host to numerous events and occurrences that typify both Drop City’s and Wright & Watson’s social approach to the production and presentation of art.

22 July – 2 September 2017

Petra Rinck Galerie
Birkenstraße 45
40233 Düsseldorf