Cut out of a belly, your face met air
You dropped onto the floor with the rest of the entrails
Circling the drain, lapping up the seepage
and I had a little bone stuck in my teeth
Salted and stiffening, where are you from?
anywhere, or not at all
Full moon baths during Pisces season
Maker your skin and my scales glint, crack dry in the light
We are always shedding, gleaming, grimacing
licking briny tears from your eyes
visiting each other in our dreams
as you’re eddying on the bank
from the shore I watch you turn
a poem by Christina Gigliotti for the exhibition Brine
We are pleased to present our first solo exhibition of New York artist Elizabeth Jaeger (born in San Francisco in 1988, lives in New York) as part of Gallery Weekend Berlin, welcoming her into the gallery’s program.
With her sculptures, ceramic objects, and installations, Elizabeth Jaeger succeeds in exploring the relationship between corporeality, perception, and consciousness, between sensation and emotion. Often beginning with the feel of personal experience, something consciously lived through or an observation of a situation, her works conjure a "bigger picture" with a phenomenological quality. Her materials are simple, but haptic and auratically charged: clay, ceramics, plaster, steel, silk and glass show and "preserve" the "imprint" that the artist considers elementary and manual.
If earlier series by the artist focused on a direct engagement with the representation and (socio) cultural gaze on the female body and figuration, Elizabeth Jaeger has recently been working with an ambivalent formal language all her own. Borrowed from amorphous shapes and fantasy, abstract forms based on flora and fauna are combined with strictly geometric steel constructions and thus given a psychological dimension: they are physical objects and at the same time vessels for the “soul” and the world of thoughts. In this way, Jaeger opens a gaze on complex structures between organic objects made with the human hand and questions material and ideational binaries. Her sculptures become organic, viscerally treated “material,” existential intellectual games on thingly truths and the possibility of embodying an emphatic and critical spirit.
"Brine" evokes associations of emptiness, rotting, death, hollowness. In her new series of sculptures Elizabeth Jaeger explores in an almost archaeological fashion the dead and live essence of things, spanning an arch from the phenomenon of the ancient lacyrmonies or tear vessel through natural observation to the human condition against the backdrop of current global problems.
The artist presents fragile, vase-like glass vessels, hand blown, glittering, beautiful and yet otherworldly, in an expansive and yet concentrated fashion. Dark steel constructions allow the smooth, semi-transparent glass creatures to hover, revealing sharp copper sets of teeth—sometimes right at eye level.
The title of the exhibition has a virtually climatic effect on the atmosphere of the space: brine as a substance used to preserve, to shock freeze, but also as a byproduct of industrial manufacturing processes — the gallery space as an abandoned place of refuge. The fragile, mutated animal objects seem to epitomize exhaustion and escapism, the hollow body as a social statement. At the same time, their emphatic beauty and absolute dignity is manifest. As if they had a capacity to persevere and an inherent knowledge that goes beyond their (momentary) stillness.
The objects and sculptures in "Brine" rely on the one hand on the dynamism of their materialities and the play between familiar form and abstract refraction on the other. In the process, they openly express their political content and their emotional urgency. Their special quality lies in this very immediacy.
Elizabeth Jaeger (born in 1988) attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and École Nationale Supérieur des Arts in Nancy.
Her most recent exhibitions include the solo show Hours (2019), Pommel (2017) and Six Thirty (2014) at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York, 8:30 (2015) at And Now, Dallas, and Music Stand at Eli Ping in New York.
Her works have also been on view in numerous group shows, such as Mirror Cells at the Whitney Musuem of American Art, Greater New York at MoMA’s PS1, Practice: Fantasy Can Invent Nothing Newat Sculpture Center, NY, Zombies: Pay Attention! at Aspen Art Museum, and most recently Dreamers Awakeat White Cube, London , Sticky Fingers, Arsenal Contemporary, and the Sun and the Rainfall II, Galleria Zero, Milan, and per-so-nae, Klemm's, Berlin. Her works have been featured in the following publications: Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramics in Contemporary Art (Phaidon, 2017), Dreamers Awake (White Cube, 2017), Eros C’Est La Vie (Totem, 2013) and How Other People See Me (Publication Studio, 2011).
Elizabeth Jaeger is the cofounder of Peradam, a publisher of artists’s books, together with Sam Cate-Gumpert.