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Jonathan Hammer


September 18 - October 30, 2004
521 W 21 Street
Saturday, September 18, 2004

Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Jonathan Hammer: ScreenDOOR, the next exhibition at his gallery at 521 West 21st Street.

The exhibition will be the artist's fifth one-person exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery since 1994 and will include two new sculptures, both made in Barcelona over the course of the last year.

The sculptures demonstrate the artist's continued investment in marquetry and the use of leathers and animal skins as sculptural media. The first sculpture, Read 'em and Weep, is a door to a private library in a collector's home in Texas; the second, Wake Up, is a three-paneled folding screen measuring over thirteen feet long. Both are made of leather attached to a wooden base, including calf, goat, sheep, shark, stingray, ostrich leg, frog, chicken foot, lizard, alligator, snake, beaver tail, Nile perch, and salmon skins, among others. These are layered, tooled, and occasionally gilded.

Expanding on his use of elaborate marquetry work in leather, these two extravagant and opulent multi-layered objects move Hammer's work into new narrative territory, referring both to art historical trends and popular culture.

Born in 1960, Hammer lives and works in Barcelona and was formally trained as a bookbinder. His studies of Hugo Ball, mystic and founder of Zurich Dada, have evolved into a fascination with Haitian and South American voodoo practice. The artist uses skin as a playful veneer to spark thoughts on religion, literature, and history, taking us deep into an environment of mystery and confusion. Hammer's lexicon of mutant toy fragments, clowns, and alien-creatures continue to interpret themes of greed, transformation, mythology and sexuality.

Over the past fifteen years, Jonathan Hammer has had exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cologne, Berlin, Madrid and Zurich. His first one-person museum exhibition was at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1993, and the Centre d'art contemporain in Geneva organized a major exhibition of his Hugo Ball work in 1998.

Hammer's book on Dada, esotericism, and modernism in relation to his own work, Ball and Hammer, was published by Yale University Press in 2001. It includes Hammer's critical writings, a catalogue of his drawings, and his translation of Hugo Ball's 1920 novel Tenderenda the Fantast.

Jonathan Hammer: ScreenDOOR will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 521 West 21st Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues), through October 30th, 2004. Hours: Thursday and Friday,
1:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., and Saturday, 11:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

For further information or reproductions please contact Sabrina Buell at 212-243-0200.

Additional Information