exhibition

alexandra bircken - units
7 Mar - 13 Apr 2008

Stedelijk Museum CS Docking Station: Alexandra Bircken - UNITS , Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum CS Docking Station: Alexandra Bircken - UNITS , Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam

Alexandra Bircken is showing a series of new works at Docking Station under the title of UNITS. These are assemblages, made with a very wide variety of materials, mounted in five metal frames. You could see these elements as ‘three-dimensional drawings’ or as windows offering a view of micro worlds in which strange collisions occur. 

Bircken’s combinations of materials and everyday objects may be called unorthodox, to say the least. She works with branches, fruit, wood, bread, knitting, clothes, papier-mâché, perspex, metals, stones, iron wire, leather, polyurethane foam and concrete. Her works are simultaneously tough and fragile, coarse and detailed. She wraps bulky pieces of stone and concrete in a soft covering of knitted wool; hangs cloth that has been dipped in wax over a skeleton of branches; displays organic materials in a web of painted iron wire and metal strips. Her assemblages hang from the ceiling, stand free in the gallery or lean against a wall. With their hybrid forms, they break through the boundaries between picture, painting and drawing.

Bircken’s work is connected to a new interest in assemblage amongst the younger generations of European and American artists. Their pieces are low-tech, modest in scale, made by hand, full of contrasts, and often so fragmented that they are almost falling apart. The work of these artists depicts the modern day as a time of material abundance, but also a period full of uncertainty and crumbling symbols.

Bircken (b. Cologne, 1967) lives and works inCologne and London. She has exhibited at venues including BQ in Cologne, Herald Street in London and the Gladstone Gallery in New York. Her work is currently on display in the exhibition Unmonumentalat the New Museum in New York, along with pieces by other contemporary artists who use assemblage and collage, including Isa Genzken and Rachel Harrison. Work by these two artists can also be seen on the ground floor of Stedelijk Museum CS in the collection display Eyes Wide Open.

The exhibition ‘Alexandra Bircken UNITS’ was curated by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, Stedelijk Museum.

With thanks to Kunststiftung NRW, Düsseldorf.