Björn Meyer-Ebrecht: Uprising at Owen James Gallery is a spare exhibition comprised of seven wooden platforms and three ink-on-paper drawings. Meyer-Ebrecht’s style is both cerebral and playful, and uses the viewer’s intellectual and physical experiences to activate the works in the exhibition. Though Meyer-Ebrecht’s objects are colorful and visually enticing, Uprising requires sustained contemplation to decipher its quiet political comments.
Positioned at standard eye level and masterfully using the space, the drawings hung on the wall initially dominate the viewer’s attention. The platforms’ simple construction, as well as a note in the press release that viewers may sit on them, further directs focus to the wall work. “Untitled (Audience),” “Untitled (Ceiling),” and “Untitled (Stairs),” all from 2019, depict the nouns in their titles. Meyer-Ebrecht draws depth expertly; viewing the works feels like peering into a world that expands directly from our vantage point — as if climbing a staircase, peering up at a roof, or glancing across the aisle at a theater.
Meyer-Ebrecht positions the viewer as the origin point of a two-dimensional drawing that portrays a three-dimensional world. The viewer’s presence in the exhibition space therefore expands the depth of each drawing to encompass the viewer and the gallery. In this sense, the viewer’s very act of existence activates an explicit spatial relationship between all objects, placing each drawing in conversation with the other works.
The platforms, more enigmatic than the works on paper, are of varying heights, and perhaps designed to look homemade. They’re crudely painted in primary colors. Some are the ideal height of a seat, others of a footstool. They’re playful and lack pretension; at their most basic, they provide a welcome place to sit. Formally, they contrast with the ink drawings, which demonstrates deft artistic skill. However, once one grasps Meyer-Ebrecht’s suggestion that the viewer activate the space, the platforms make sense as objects that invite interaction.
The title Uprising has clear political connotations and provides further clues to understanding the exhibition. All of the works evoke either sitting down or standing up: an audience is sitting down; one looks up at a ceiling; one climbs stairs, either up or down; and one either sits down on a platform, in repose, or stands on it, to elevate one’s vantage point, or one’s voice. Meyer-Ebrecht’s objects provide a stage, and the viewer is the actor who must perform the uprising. A political comment perhaps lies in this potentiality, as there is no uprising without a decision to act. This ambiguity — sitting or standing, being active or passive — born of spatial relationships is pregnant with possibility, and Meyer-Ebrecht’s touch is light enough to let it evolve differently for each viewer.
Björn Meyer-Ebrecht: Uprising continues at Owen James Gallery (59 Wooster Street, 2nd Floor, Soho, Manhattan) through June 1.
Once denounced as “women’s work” with no artistic merit, embroidery is experiencing a revival, with a feminist punch.
Inspired by the journey made by the epic hero Homer’s Odyssey, a show at Villa Carmignac combines myth with contemporary issues.
This new kunsthaus in Potsdam shows modern and contemporary works of art from East Germany in what was once a terrace restaurant.
Courtney Stephens’s documentary on women’s travels from the 1920s to ’50s presents not just personal glimpses into daily life a century ago but also documents of colonialism.
Laura Larson’s City of Incurable Women draws from archival materials to speculate on the lives of women who were famously hospitalized for hysteria throughout history.
The Philadelphia organization offers artists on-site access to recovered materials, studio space, construction equipment, a $1,000 stipend, and more.
The company is asking users to verify their bank details via Plaid, a fintech company that recently settled a privacy class action lawsuit.
Each artist will receive $190,000 in cash and benefits from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship over a three-year period.
Drawn to Life at the Ackland in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, showcases 17th-century Dutch drawings of landscapes, portraits, preparatory studies, and biblical and historical scenes.
The 1,000-year-old Cañada de la Virgen ceremonial site will be protected from encroaching development.
A total of 24 board members stepped down from their posts after the art center’s parent company allegedly attempted to terminate 12 of their colleagues.
A group of artists and writers denounced the center for hosting Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the country’s former dictator.