BERLIN — We wouldn’t expect anything less from from Los-Angeles-based husband and wife artist duo Pentti Monkonen and Liz Craft. Their joint exhibition Neue Welt (March 18 – April 28, 2017) at LISZT gallery features a bizarre menagerie including a large phallus bike rack, an small adobe style compartmentalized complex and several ceramic tiles in the shape of text bubbles showcasing everything from a toilet roll holder to a salty ceramic quip. The exhibition is housed in a grungy-looking space covered floor-to-ceiling in wheat colored ceramic tile.
The duo’s ‘press release,’ which can often be a self-serving exegesis, also has a role to play in the exhibition. The release is merely a transcription the lyrics of Tears for Fears’ ‘Mad World,’ replacing the chorus line’s ‘Mad World’ with their ‘Neue Welt,’ which, translated from German, means ‘New World.’ The press release ends with the lyrics at ‘Hallo Teacher,’ according to Contemporary Art Daily.
The exhibition, perhaps, serves as thinly veiled social and political commentary without necessarily pointing fingers. Both artists are known for their work examining marginalized and counterculture populations, gentrification and women.
The works’ exhibition space dissolves observers’ expectations of where and how art ‘should’ be perceived, and the objects themselves serve to evoke notions of social marginalization deepening feelings of alienation and disenfranchisement. This theme is manifested throughout the space in different ways: a tab-dosing frog and a nonessential object (toilet roll holder), tiny, multi-family housing with its palatable Pueblo Revival fauxdobe facade and a final “You Do Not Belong” misfeasance of an art-as-object bike rack.
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