News — 12 Jan 2018
The Stedelijk Museum presents the first museum solo exhibition of Stefan Tcherepnin (Boston, 1977). Tcherepnin is an artist whose work employs immersive staged environments. Of prime importance to the artist’s practice is the viewer’s felt experience, challenging the conceptual mandate of contemporary art. This emphasis informs Stefan Tcherepnin: The Mad Masters, which occupies a large gallery in the museum’s ground floor.
The exhibition follows moments as experienced by four enormous sculptural creatures, as they move within the orbit of a dramatic centerpiece suspended from the ceiling: a glass clown face. The monsters’ journeys are depicted on a video projected onto the gallery wall.
The stuffed furry creatures are a recurring element in Tcherepnin’s performances, videos and sculptures. In The Mad Masters, the endearing monsters are trapped in a miniature world, as if on display in a natural history museum dioramas. The central glass object is inspired by the head in George C. Tilyou’s Steeplechase Park gate, an amusement park on Coney Island in Brooklyn, where Tcherepnin lives.
Hovering like a clairvoyant amulet, the kaleidoscopic lens contains fragments of potential pasts and futures. The glass displays a hypothetical map of a future United States, the borders of its US territories eroded by climate change. And superimposed are details of the Kazimir Malevich Suprematist composition Self-Portrait in Two Dimensions (1915), which belongs to the Stedelijk collection.
A video projected onto the gallery wall chronicles the monsters’ journeys through the four seasons. Like a musical composition, the individual elements work in synchrony, merging to create a total experience that transcends the boundaries of language.
About the artist
Stefan Tcherepnin lives and works in Brooklyn (NY). His visual artistic practice is shaped by his background in music composition and performance. Tcherepnin’s approach is collaborative, drawing on the artist’s professional network of artist and musician friends. Their collaborative performances often take place within Tcherepnin’s installations. The artist composed the music for The Mad Masters video with musician Lewis Wallace Blanchard III, with whom he forms the musical duo Existential Blowfish.
Stefan Tcherepnin: The Mad Masters is curated by Karen Archey, curator of Contemporary Art, Time-based Media, and builds on a longstanding collaboration between the Stedelijk Museum and the artist.
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Stefan Tcherepnin: The Mad Masters is made possible in part by the generous support of main benefactor Ammodo.