She BAM! Empowering women in the arts

Since its inception last fall, the mission of the She BAM! art space is clear – provide a platform to promote the work of women. The driving concept for She BAM! is the representation of women artists, creatives, collectors, curators, gallerists, directors, and all people supporting women in the field of art.

Founder, director and gallerist Lætitia Gorsy describes her belief in the importance of women creating a space for other women as a continuous sharing of all things and a transference of power. Parallel to programming in Leipzig, upcoming plans for She BAM! include developing an Artsy page, a design studio in Los Angeles, and an exhibition production platform in Paris.

Inaugurating the new space is an exhibition of work by Leipzig-based artist Sarah Pschorn, titled My Hands Are My Eyes.

Pschorn recalls the development of the exhibition title and installation concept between her and Gorsy as “more of a collaboration, creating a show together from two artistic positions.” Inspired by the Baroque architecture of her native Dresden, Pschorn’s ceramic works are defined by an experimental approach to the malleable material of clay and its inherent history steeped in vessel and trophy forms.

Entering the space under construction at the time of my visit, I am greeted by Sarah Pschorn’s works like a cast of characters gathered on a stage. I am immediately struck by their unique attributes and individual personalities. Though instantly recognizable as ceramic vessels, the desire to anthropomorphize these intricate objects is irresistible. I felt as if I were meeting someone for the first time and noticing new qualities and characteristics revealed with each glance.

This sense of variety is reinforced through the myriad techniques and materials Pschorn uses to form each piece. Their surfaces glisten with glazes in shades of creams and pastels, detailed shimmers of real gold and platinum, or a ringed blaze of neon-colored Fimo clay. Some were pinched by hand, leaving indentations in the curved shape of the artist’s fingertips. Others were thrown on a wheel, though intentionally constructed off plumb, slouching in their postures. Still others were skillfully cobbled together from disparate bodies, fusing ceramics from slip-cast molds with found glass candy dishes created in factory assembly-line production.

Pschorn rightly refers to these works as 3D collages, an assemblage of different forms and images. Prominently featured are motifs recalling nature in images and built shapes of branches, leaves and other flora. There is also the use of text and the appearance of portraits, reminding us that all these constructions are mediated by culture.

Photo: She BAM! Art
Photo: She BAM! Art

Drawing from the work’s Baroque references, the historical and contemporary connotation of such vessels as status symbol is acknowledged.

This notion is played with through the combination of low and high materials and processes, as well as through the display at She BAM! Some of the objects are elevated upon color-complimenting pedestals or wall shelves, while others are relegated to the floor. Gorsy reminds us that all areas count:

The floor is of equal value to the walls in the creation of an immersive impression of the space. How we think about gallery spaces can come out of an activist positioning. Sometimes the smallest spaces have the biggest concept. It is not always necessary to keep with the white-cube standard.

Utilizing the intimate framework of the new space, visitors are separated from the world of objects as spectators at a distance. This controlled range of perspective functions to present the works from their best side. Pschorn relates this approach to the demonstration of status, “showing their best self, their best qualities. Although they are not all perfect.”

In her artist statement, Pschorn describes her work as “a playful discovery of the space in between joy and melancholia.” This sentiment is echoed in forms recalling elaborate fencing or bird cages, serving as allegory for contemporary feelings of entrapment, albeit within gilded confines. As our topic of discussion turned to mitigating set parameters, Pschorn noted how Gefäße are understood as containers and receptacles with prescribed forms: “The bottom is closed, the top is open, and inside we can fill it with something; I prefer to fill mine with concepts.”

Opening: Saturday, 12 January 2019
11 am to 7:30 pm – Winter Galleries Tour, Spinnerei Galleries
Exhibition on view through 9 February 2019

She BAM! HALLE 3-C / Spinnerei Galleries
Spinnereistr. 7, 04149 Leipzig
+49 159 01401465

Zeitgeschichtliches Forum's "Our History: Dictatorship and Democracy after 1945." (Photo: S. Kurraru)
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