VITRINE is delighted to present a solo show of Luxembourg Basel-based artist Sophie Jung. The exhibition is an installation comprising new two-dimensional works, a site-responsive intervention and vocal sound work, exploring the Basler Totentanz mural, translated as ‘The Dance of Death in Basel’.
Working across text, sculpture and performance, Jung navigates politics of “re/re/representation” through romance and absurdity, replacing constrained narratives with ephemeral, polyphonic language that challenges the concept of selective silencing, present in society through conclusions in speech. She’s invested in triggering a de-categorising of concepts and a de-conceptualisation of categories, hopes for unholy alliances, cross-material solidarity and assemblages that defy resolution. Her approach to “stuff” – both legible utensil and metaphoric apparition sits somewhere between materialist responsibility and wild becoming. Her writing exists in the tradition of écriture feminine and lives as polyvocal collage, often materialised and extended collaboratively. She mixes slapstick-like narratives with reflections on the current state of the world, which is echoed in her recent works on paper.
Jung takes her lifelong fascination for the Totentanz as a questioning alternative to the unforgiving dichotomy between the states of existence-or-not: alive and dead. The Basler Totentanz mural was painted in the late Middle Ages in Basel, on the inside of a cemetery wall near the Predigerkirche Basel, and depicted the dance of death. It showed different people of varying social classes and professions of the period next to one another, with dancing skeletons in ragged cloth in-between each of them, a reminder that death dances with all of us, regardless of class and status.
The artist has often built collectively collaged text and voice sculptures in her work as an educator, orientated towards a collective creation of the plural voice, but hasn’t explicitly exhibited that facet of her practice until now. Building these sound sculptures, she often makes use of the concept of the cadavre exquis, the collaborative drawing and writing exercise that follows participants continuing a drawing they cannot see or a text they cannot follow, resulting in a final form comprised of multiple styles, multiple voices and often untraceable origins. The manifestation stands autonomously to a single act of genius and instead builds itself without the always present narrative arch or an underlying concept, but collectively through invisible acts of loyalty. The methodology of such a collaged approach to unison and to coherence within difference, is the guiding principle for the exhibition.
VITRINE London’s space - a long wall behind glass - is the ideal setting for a reimagined Totentanz; where death nor dead have lost their voice, where theres mutual pleasure in each other’s dancing limbs, where the caring stability of a chain of bodies keeps the group’s fading presence alive: a picket-line of defiant others.
Curated by Alys WIlliams
Generously supported by Swiss Cultural Fund and Swiss Embassy London, UK.
Sophie Jung (born in 1982, Luxembourg, LU) lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. She received her BFA from theRietveld Academy, Amsterdam (2011) and her MFA from Goldsmiths, London (2015). In 2015 Jung spent 6 monthsin New York at ISCP, courtesy of the Edward Steichen Award Luxembourg; she was a recipient of Matt’s Gallery’sBlackRock residency 2018. She won the Swiss Art Award in 2016 and the Manor Art Award in 2018.
She has had solo exhibitions internationally at museums, galleries and festivals including:, Kunstmuseum Basel,Basel, CH; Blain Southern, London, UK; National Gallery Prague, CZ; Block Universe, London, UK; Istituto Swizzero,Milan, IT; Swiss Institute, Paris, FR; Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna, AT; Primary, Nottingham, UK; Casino Luxembourg,LU; Kunstraum London, UK; Nosbaum Reding Projects, LU; Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, ES; Ruine München,Saarbrücken, DE; Ceri Hand Gallery, London, UK; Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich, CH; JOAN, Los Angeles, US; GalerieJoseph Tang, Paris, FR.
She has been included in group exhibitions at galleries and institutions internationally including: Palais de Tokyo,Paris, FR; Kunsthalle Basel, CH; Wysing Arts Center, Cambridge, UK; Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel, CH; David RobertsArt Foundation, London, UK; Municipal Gallery, Lisbon, PT; Supplement Gallery, New York, USA; Galerie BarbaraSeiler, Zürich, CH; SALTS, Basel, CH; ICA, London, UK; Hester, New York, USA; Oakville Galleries, Ontario, CA;Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, BE; Caustic Coastal, Manchester, UK; Jupiter Woods, London, UK; VITRINE, Basel,CH; Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp, BE; Rabouan Moussion, Paris, FR.