Rochelle Feinstein and Shannon Ebner exhbition: Hôtel Le Lièvre
Hôtel Le Lièvre
20 March - 10 April 2021
“All these pictures are empty. They are not lonely, but they lack atmosphere. The city looks cleared out, like a lodging that has not yet found a new tenant”.1
Eugene Atget’s Paris photographs are to Walter Benjamin the first attempt to liberate photography from its portrait tradition, paving the way for a modern disenchanted gaze. The wholesome estrangement he created between man and his environment would become an inspiration for the surrealist avant-garde.
Today our daily environment appears as vacant as in Eugene Atget’s “Art dans le Vieux Paris” series, which includes a number of views of the Hotel Le Lièvre, where the Paris gallery is established. Site of an intense cultural and fashion trade, today the building’s walls witness a disruption of their usual purpose. As an attempt to counter this sense of detachment, Hotel Le Lièvre presents a series of two-person fortnightly presentations, in which an artist from the gallery invites another artist to present each a single work, looking to form a meeting ground between different positions. The continual dialogues and the rhythmical reconfigurations of the space every two weeks makes the gallery’s walls alive at a time in which the tangible world seems unattainable.
The first iteration of Hôtel Le Lièvre is dedicated to the work of Rochelle Feinstein and Shannon Ebner, who work with two contrasting artistic mediums that often share similar obsessions, like their self-reflexivity. The works participate in the opposition between the non-colours black and white, which account for distinct assumptions in painting and photography. Number One-Twenty Four, 1990, is one of Feinstein's seminal grid works in black and white. Arguing against the authorial and dominant endgame of abstraction, Feinstein creates gestural square fields of paint that blur and obliterate the grid's pristine structure. Combining pictures and written language, Strayer, 2018, evokes a time in the 1990s when, for a few years, Ebner identified more as a poet than an artist. The work introduces ideas of circularity, movement and transformation across photographic, typographic and linguistic forms, traversing different fields of writing.
1. Walter Benjamin, The Short History of Photography, 1931.