Spotlight: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Invites Viewers to Step Inside Visual Culture’s Recent History in a New Installation at Esther Schipper

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About the Artist: French visual artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster‘s practice is influenced by a wide array of media, ranging from film and literature to philosophy and critical theory—and her works are equally multidisciplinary. Creating videos, installations, and regularly undertaking such collaborations as boutique displays for major fashion houses (not to mention a science-fiction novel in progress), Gonzalez-Foerster’s art engages with both public and private spaces. Architecture, too, is a key aspect of her practice and was the subject of her work in the 2006 São Paulo Biennial, where she presented a site-specific film and installation that saw her replicate the columns of Oscar Niemeyer’s Grand Marquise structure in (1951–54) São Paulo’s Parque Ibirapuera. The artist received the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2002, and her work has been acquired by major international institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; and M+ Museum, Hong Kong, among numerous others.

What You Need to Know: On view through December 23, 2022, Esther Schipper in Berlin is presenting the exhibition “Panoramism and the Abstract Sector,” Gonzalez-Foerster’s tenth solo exhibition with the gallery. The show features one of the artist’s constructed environments, comprising a 30-meter-long, 180-degree panoramic image above a custom-printed carpet strewn with printed pillows that look like books. The artist interprets the panorama as a timeless medium, one that began as a 19th-century precursor to cinema and stretches to today as a contemporary mode of photography. Across the installation are references to the trajectory of 20th-century visual culture, from actress and filmmaker Musidora to painter Helen Frankenthaler. Gonzalez-Foerster’s first panorama work was shown at the Vienna Secession in 2021, “Volcanic Excursion,” which took as its starting point Diego Rivera’s mural (1947).

Why We Like It: Gonzalez-Foerster’s (2022) is both a visual delight as well as an opportunity for viewers to physically explore and engage with art. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the work, which from the center extends to an individual’s full range of vision, and spend time parsing through the mass of details and pictorial information that covers every segment of the work—with the “book pillow” offered as a comfortable prop to entice viewers to linger and look longer. The mural-size image is largely chronological, starting with early references to film before transitioning to examples of midcentury movements such as Color Field painting and Abstract Expressionism before progressing to a tribute of contemporary-art world figures like Okwui Enwezor and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Overall, the work transforms the didactic and educational into something visually compelling and resplendent.

See inside the exhibition below.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

Installation view, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, (2022), at Esther Schipper, Berlin. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photo: © Andrea Rosetti.

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