Felix Los Angeles The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel Poolside Cabana Room 105 28 February – 3 March 2024
Esteban Jefferson Kurfürstenstraße 156, Berlin 9 March – 13 April 2024 Preview: 7 March, 6–9pm
Elizabeth McIntosh Kurfürstenstraße 24/25, Berlin 26 April – 15 June 2024
Nicole Ondre Kurfürstenstraße 156, Berlin 26 April – 15 June 2024
Oliver Laric Kurfürstenstraße 143, Berlin 26 April – 28 April 2024
Signs of Life
Moravian Gallery, Brno
21 September 2023 – 31 March 2024
A leap into the Void
GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo
2 February – 28 May 2023
Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better than the Real Real Thing
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Opens 20 March 2024
The land describes itself
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri
8 March – 4 August 2024
Tanya Leighton, Berlin
9 March – 13 April 2024
Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles
Poets of Encryption
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
17 February – 26 May 2024
J'ai pleuré devant la fin d'un manga
École municipale des beaux-arts / galerie Édouard-Manet, Gennevilliers, France
18 January – 16 March 2024
Tanya Leighton, Berlin
Solo exhibition (curated by Alberto Salvadori)
Fondazione ICA Milano
Tanya Leighton, Berlin
6 July – 17 August 2024
Motion Capture: Recent Acquisitions in Media and Performance
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
29 February – 25 August 2024
Publication: The Man Who Envied Women
Kirsty Bell, Elisabeth Lebovici, Bart van der Heide, Nana Adusei-Poku et al., published by Bierke
Kunsthal Thy, Denmark
Let’s Take Back Our Space
Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles
24 January – 9 March 2024
The Lives of Documents—Photography as Project
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
3 May 2023 – 3 March 2024
Tanya Leighton, established in 2008, is dedicated to developing a cross-disciplinary, trans-generational gallery programme with off-site projects, in collaboration with artists, filmmakers, critics, art historians, and curators. Its international exhibition programme reflects a variety of opinions and practices as well as Leighton’s associations with American and British experimental cinema, artist’s film and video, performance, minimal and conceptual art.
Director: Tanya Leighton
Associate Director, LA: Andrew McNeely
Director of Special Projects: Alana Parpal
Director, Asia: Zheng Zhang
Artist Liaison: Paula Vogels
Registrar and Exhibition Manager: Jillian Meyer
Gallery Assistant: Faye Campbell
Finance Manager: Shuai Wang
Head Technician: Dominic Samsworth
Tanya Leighton Berlin
Kurfürstenstraße 156 & 24/25
Berlin 10785 DE
Tanya Leighton Los Angeles
4654 W Washington Blvd
LA 90016 CA
Open Tuesday – Saturday
11–6pm and by appointment
Open Wednesday – Saturday
11–5pm and by appointment
A voice answering a voice
22 July – 26 August 2023, Tanya Leighton, Berlin
What has praise and fame to do with poetry? ...
Was not poetry a secret transaction, a voice answering a voice?
So that all this chatter and praise and blame and meeting people who admired one and meeting people who did not admire one was as ill suited as could be to the thing itself—a voice answering a voice.
–Virginia Woolf, ‘Orlando: A Biography’, 1928
Tanya Leighton, Berlin and Los Angeles is pleased to announce ‘A voice answering a voice’, an exhibition featuring works by Marcus Brutus, Clyde Conwell, Denzil Forrester, Stefanie Heinze, Matthew Krishanu, Joy Labinjo, Misheck Masamvu, Manuel Mathieu, Han Shen, and Zhibo Wang. Gesturing toward the exhibition as a dialogue between two cities, the show title is inspired by the eponymous heroine of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, a novel about a semi-immortal, man-turned-woman poet who embarks on a three-hundred-year quest for love, recognition, and fortune, all of which are frustrated due to the enduring patriarchy under which she lives.
Unsurprisingly, critics read ‘Orlando’ as a queer, feminist polemic on the human pursuit of meaning and desire, which for Woolf’s poet, given her near-immortality, should be achievable but is always out of reach. ‘Orlando’ is in essence about the drive to transgress the constraints imposed on the body. In turn, ‘A voice answering a voice’ highlights artists who take up the figurative line and with it explore subject formation and its transgression. Despite their diversity, each artist shares an interest in locating the line at which figuration becomes legible and legibility becomes constraint.
Legibility, here, should be understood along many dimensions—with some focusing more explicitly on identity than others. For example, Marcus Brutus’s paintings reconstruct scenes of everyday life, collaged from Afro-Caribbean visual culture, in a manner that dislocates his subjects from a specific sense of time and place. In Joy Labinjo’s work, the complexity of the Black community also takes centre stage to contemplate the multiplicity of identities her subjects occupy in order to challenge Blackness as a monolithic category. A similar consideration underpins Matthew Krishanu’s practice, which meditates on nationality and race to dwell on the artist’s upbringing as a biracial child growing up in Dhaka–his father English and his mother Bengali Indian.
For other artists, legibility takes a more formal investigation, such as Denzil Forrester, whose long interest in the kinetic energy of dancehalls transforms bodies into rhythmic masses in a manner reminiscent of Futurism’s interest in dynamism. Following suit, Han Shen’s work pursues the connection between body movement and the instincts that guide the painter’s process to explore the relationship between somatic experience and creativity. Carrying the above conversation forward is Stefanie Heinze’s abstract compositions, which she describes as mental and bodily experiences that can display a kind of otherworldliness that renders the banal strange.
Legibility can also take on a political frame, particularly when it comes to how a given political community comes to see itself as such. Manuel Mathieu’s work, for instance, draws from the collective trauma of political violence still felt within the Haitian diaspora to visually capture the sense of fracture that remains for many who survived the country’s dictatorships. Likewise, Misheck Masamvu’s paintings document life in post-independence Zimbabwe through abstract works that aim to convey the experience of oppression through affect alone.
Lastly, legibility can refer to the primordial moment when the human subject becomes legible to itself, namely the instance in which the ‘I’ that anchors “the self” is suddenly an object among other objects. In pursuit of this moment is Zhibo Wang’s votive painting; her work wrestles with longstanding questions about the dialectic between corporeality and spirituality. And for their part, Clyde Conwell’s work contemplates the space of painting itself as the original first screen onto which the self is reflected, making painting a kind of prosthesis for the body whilst using symbols instead of words to title each work.
Referring back to Woolf’s recalling of poetry as an instrument of dialogue with both oneself and a certain audience, the artists in the exhibition all make use of painting’s capacity to amount to personal languages through which the painter can firstly (and ultimately) answer their own questions and preoccupations—a poetic form of parley for self-exploration. Legible to their audiences or not, each of these vernaculars suggests painting as a way to construct or de-construct the self, or challenge, decode, and perhaps even extend it through intimate forms of conversation—a voice answering a voice.