OTTO ZOO is pleased to present an exhibition dedicated to works on paper by French artist Gregory Forstner (his second show at the gallery), and a project room, Red Square, by young American artist Kandis Williams, who is exhibiting her work in Italy for the first time.
Gregory Forstner is a passionate and instinctive painter. His canvases inspired by the vast production of grotesque culture and by European expressionism aesthetics, represent the everyday man’s myths, rêveries and digressions. His drawings on paper remain close to the principal themes of his work and to the humorous and caricature structure of his archetypal and mythological characters: human kind depicted in a reverse mode where animals take advantage of a situation, the Hôtesses de l’air, the divers, the fishermen, Icarus, Daedalus, Bacchus.
At OTTO ZOO, two series of charcoal drawings are presented: the first one, Hôtesses de l’air, gathers portraits of women wearing masks; their often desolate gaze contrasts with the sumptuous style of their clothes and make-up; the second one, dedicated to Bacchus and the Bacchantes is structured in single representations and in group scenes illustrating farcical bacchanals, where the association with La grande bouffe by Marco Ferreri or with the fool characters by Bruegel is made explicit.
OTTO ZOO Project
The spacious collages by Kandis Williams are constructed following an apparently chaotic structure that in fact conveys a pictorial attitude. The artist works using endless archives of pulp images from the web and the press, collected to investigate the social and politic implications of violence, race, and the erotic. The images are then reorganized according to plastic and aesthetic criteria; where for example photographic documents are woven into elaborate braid patterns as seen in hairstyles of African immigrants in France in the 1960’s.
In the project room at OTTO ZOO, Williams will display a yearlong series of works developed from found videos of street fights online. Following Dziga Vertov’s kino-eye vision – which believes that real and extemporary images have more vigour than those created in fiction – Williams has set up her own universe of digital stills and snap-shots, spatially organized according to a Suprematist logic, where the wide pixels of the paper copy are the essence and code of her language and where forms and movements of single characters gain value that goes beyond the content and source of the video.
In collaboration with James Brittingham, Williams will also present several large collages on mylar and plastic. These image/art objects were built through a collecting and assembling narrative instances from the lives of pop divas into maiden mother crone digressions.
Gregory Forstner (Douala, Cameroon, 1975) studied at the art academies in Vienna, Nice and Paris. In 2008, he received a grant from Cultures France (French Ministry of Cultural Affairs) as part of residency program in New York. Since then, he has lived and worked in New York. In recent years, he has had solo shows at the Musée d´Art Moderne et d´Art Contemporain in Nice, at the Musée de Grenoble (The Ship of Fools), at Galerie Zink in Munich and Berlin, and Galerie Eva Hober in Paris.
Kandis Williams (Baltimore, USA, 1985) studied at Cooper Union in New York. She has exhibited her work at New Capital Projects in Chicago, Gallery I-20 in New York and Peres Project in Berlin. She has also collaborated in various mediums with Broken Dimanche Press (Publishing), James Brittingham and dancer Ligia Manuela Lewis. This year she received a grant from the EU commission to produce choreographies, and has since founded the organization tanzCOLLECTED.