EXHIBITION OPENING | ARTIST TALK
MARTIN ROTH IN CONVERSATION WITH KATE SUTTON & DANIEL BOZHKOV
WEDNESDAY, MAY 03 2017, 06:00 PM - 07:00 PM
In May 2017 I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM │ARTIST TALK & BOOK PRESENTATION
Martin Roth in conversation with Kate Sutton and Daniel Bozhkov
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM │OPENING RECEPTION
In the framework of the opening of Martin Roth's new installation at the ACFNY, the artist will discuss his work with the art writer Kate Sutton and artist Daniel Bozhkov. Roth will also present his recently published book In the spring of 2017 Martin Roth published a selection of his works.
In his latest installation for the Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Martin Roth has created a retreat. Viewers, upon descending to the subterranean gallery, emerge into a simulated forest clearing. Trees, depicted on wallpaper, cover the walls. In the middle of the space, seven tons of soil and sand support over 200 lavender plants growing under fluorescent light. This uncanny sanctuary at the ACFNY in Midtown Manhattan is facilitated by the most unlikely of sources: tweets.
Roth has created a system by which the strength of the grow lights above the rows of lavender plants increases in direct relationship to the tweets of powerful public opinion shapers: as these statements are retweeted with greater frequency, the lights get stronger. Through this system, the lavender plants become a kind of a perverse index of the politico-cultural climate, metamorphosing these conditions by their thriving.
The pace and tenor of the current political discourse, blasted out through social media 24/7 without respite, affects our psyche in a profound way. The lavender plant is known for its calming properties, and it is commonly used to treat sleep disorders and depression. The plant's restorative effect in Roth's installation at the ACFNY offers a reprieve against the heightened anxiety of our current moment. As controversy builds, the scent of lavender becomes stronger. What this amounts to is a kind of lush bunker; Roth's refuge at once affords the viewer escape from the world and reminds them of its instability.
By spatializing the data generated by the Twitter accounts, Roth’s eerie simulation makes explicit the convergence of the psychical structures that undergird our politics and the felt life of the American every day. Today’s media culture has surpassed the time of response; indeed, it has transcended even the time of media. We exist in one interminable present wherein the actions of a few agents have immediate, pervasive, and grave consequence. Like many of Roth's previous works, In May 2017 I cultivated a piece of land in Midtown Manhattan nurtured by tweets is a kind of processual refuge whereby the slow temporality of plant life allows for a site of contemplative calm. The viewer’s sense of smell is the primary means of apprehending Roth’s installation; the work enters the viewer, alerting the body politic to an insidious undercurrent of anxiety.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Martin Roth (b. 1977, Graz Austria) received an MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2011, and previous to that, studied at Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts and SOMA, Mexico City. Roth has exhibited internationally, including group exhibitions at: The Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Kuenstlerhaus and mumok, Vienna, Austria; Kunstraum, New York, NY; and solo shows at Capital Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Biquini Wax, Mexico City, Mexico; and Louis B. James, New York, NY. Roth lives and works in New York. www.martinroth.at
Kate Sutton is a writer from Nashville, Tennessee, currently based in Zagreb, Croatia, after nearly a decade in Russia, where, among other activities, she served as curator of the non-profit art space Baibakov Art Projects. In addition to writing articles and reviews for magazines including Artforum, Bidoun, Frieze, The Hollywood Reporter, Ibraaz, and LEAP, Sutton is a regular contributor to Artforum.com. In 2013, she was recognized with an Art Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Daniel Bozhkov is an artist based in New York City. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize of the American Academy, 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, and grants from Andy Warhol Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been presented in international exhibitions such as the 6th Liverpool Biennial, 6th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 9th Istanbul Biennale in Turkey, 1st Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art in Russia, 9th Baltic Triennial in Vilnius, Lithuania; Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, U.K, and O.K. Centrum für Gegenwartskunst, Linz, Austria. Daniel Bozhkov is an Associate Professor of Art at Hunter College, New York City, and has taught as a lecturer at Columbia University, Yale University School of Art, Cooper Union, as well as a visiting artist at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, and Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.