Ida Ekblad

WHAT'S MY NAME? (group show)
Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin, 28 April 2016 - 5 March 2017

Ida Ekblad, installation view, Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin, 2016. photo: Jens Ziehe
Ida Ekblad, installation view, Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin, 2016. photo: Jens Ziehe

The Michel Majerus Estate is pleased to announce the group exhibition WHAT’S MY NAME? opening on the occasion of this year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin.

In the year 2000, Michel Majerus created the video work michel majerus in which his own name flashes before the viewer in a myriad of colors and arrangements in the typographical style of techno party flyers. Majerus then translated a selection of stills from this video into large-format paintings, titling the works mm. Functioning as a marker of territory, much like tags in graffiti culture, the artist's portrayal of his own name can also be seen as a gesture of self-assertion, self-understanding, and a declaration of authorship that positions him in relation to his contemporaries within the discipline of fine art. Drawing on Majerus’ mm works, this year's exhibition brings together works that transform the visual and gestural components of signatures into artistic content, simultaneously bringing this very act into question.

Josh Smith became known for his so-called name paintings in which he used various reconfigurations of his “all-American name” as the subject of paintings, collages, and posters, positing these new arrangements as possibilities for abstraction. Similarly to Majerus, Smith uses fragments of text, symbols, and quotations, stripping them of their meaning and deploying them as pictoral elements. Ida Ekblad also employs a variety of styles, quotations, and techniques in her sculptures and images. She identified her early works with her distinctive “I.E.” signature, while her name in her latest works takes the form of a “tag," encrypted within her works’ surfaces in an almost ornamental style. Karl Holmqvist, whose artist's book WHAT’S MY NAME? (2009) lends this exhibition its title, documents the gestures of marking one’s presence in his text work. Names of renowned artist friends appear like a recurring lineup, continuously interspersed with the mantra-like sentence “the artist is present” in his textually based video work A is for A-R-A-K-A-W-A (2012). With the minimal medium of colored shoe laces, Holmqvist writes his own name in large-scale letters in the exhibition space. With her signature, Judith Bernstein marked her comeback to the New York art scene after almost 35 years: In 2011, the 74-year-old artist created a five meter-long and three meter-tall signature on the walls of the Alex Zachary Gallery. Following a scandal near the beginning of her career over a work of hers with potentially phallic associations, Judith Bernstein’s works became rarely exhibited. Only in recent years have the artist’s feminist graffiti-inspired, comic-like large format drawings and signature paintings been rediscovered.

This exhibition is curated by Christiane Rekade, the head of the Michel Majerus Estate.

Michel Majerus Estate, Berlin