SPARK Art Fair
MARX HALLE, Vienna, Austria
24 JUNE - 27 JUNE 2021

At SPARK Art Fair, KÖNIG GALERIE is showing the two artists Ulay and Jeremy Shaw in juxtaposition. Although they come from two different generations of artists, numerous parallels and thematic connections can be found in their works. Both Ulay and Jeremy Shaw find their expression mainly in the media of photography and video, Ulay also through performance, which they adapt in a variety of ways. Both artists use bodies as the starting point for their work. Ulay uses his own body as a means to explore his own self and questions of identity and sexuality, thus coining the term performative photography. Staging himself as the subject of his works, he saw the process of photography with the Polaroid camera as a performative act that he carried out without an audience. Ulay captured the intimate, fleeting moments for eternity with the help of the Polaroids. Jeremy Shaw's works show anonymous people in pictures that the artist found in newspaper archives. The protagonists of his works are in ecstatic states of consciousness, whether triggered by substances or spiritual rapture remains unclear. Photographed by the artist through a prism, their figures appear distorted to convey an idea of this subjective experience.

Ulay and Jeremy Shaw are united in their search for the ecstatic, the state that transports the body into a new realm. Both artists use the camera as an investigative tool, but each manipulates reality in his own way.

Born as Frank Uwe Laysiepen in 1943 in Solingen, Germany, Ulay was formally trained as a photographer, and between 1968 and 1971, worked extensively as a consultant for Polaroid. In the early period of his artistic activity (1968–1976) he undertook a thematic search for understandings of the notions of identity and the body on both the personal and communal levels, mainly through series of Polaroid photographs, aphorisms, visual and concrete poetry, and intimate performances. Ulay died in 2020 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Jeremy Shaw (1977 North Vancouver, Canada) works in a variety of media to explore altered states and the cultural and scientific practices that aspire to map transcendental experience. Often combining and amplifying strategies of verité filmmaking, conceptual art, music video and scientific research, he creates a post-documentary space that complicates expectations of the moving image as a form of testimony. Shaw has had solo exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA PS1, New York, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, and MOCA, Toronto, and been featured in international surveys such as the 57th Venice Biennale, and Manifesta 11, Zurich. In 2016 he was awarded the Sobey Art Award and in 2018 was artist-in-residence at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Works by Shaw are held in public collections worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Tate Modern, London.
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  • ULAY - Hermaphrodite (from the series Renais sense), 1972
    ULAY - Hermaphrodite (from the series Renais sense), 1972
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