State of Flux: Meriem Bennani, Nicholas Grafia, Josh Kline and Pow Martinez

January 12, 2023 – March 4, 2023

505 W 24th St
New York, NY

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

Image courtesy of the event organizer.

Silverlens New York is pleased to announce State of Flux, a group exhibition organized by independent curator Jeanette Bisschops, featuring works by Meriem Bennani, Nicholas Grafia, Josh Kline, and Pow Martinez and a US performance debut by Grafia and long-time collaborator Mikołaj Sobczak on February 10th and 11th. Continuing in the tradition of international partnerships, the gallery collaborated with Francois Ghebaly, Los Angeles and New York; 47 Canal, New York; and Peres Projects, Berlin, Seoul, and Milan. State of Flux opens on January 12, 2023.

State of Flux examines shapeshifting and humor as protective adaptations to geopolitics and the perils of contemporary existence. The show brings together four artists of the diaspora who wield absurdism to guide viewers through the streams and ruptures of our virtual and corporeal lives. Their eulogy for our solid form is a comic one, testifying to the idea of shapeshifting as an age-old trait intrinsic to humankind.

Maneuvering between the aesthetics of reality television, documentary, and animation, Meriem Bennani (b. 1988,  Rabat, Morocco; lives and works in New York) will show Guided Tour of a Spill (CAPS Interlude) (2018) for the first time in New York. The piece is the second in Bennani’s groundbreaking LIFE ON THE CAPS (trilogy), a pseudodocumentary series about a fictitious island run by the American military complex that sustains a detention camp for teleporting migrants. It is the sequence’s sensorial, lyrical interlude and an unsettling but amusing collision of geopolitics, dance, athletics, and humor.

In paintings by Nicholas Grafia (b.1990, Angeles City, Philippines; lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Paris, France), figures move fluidly between genders, skin tones, psychologies, and time as a magical subversion of global power structures. The artist’s practice spans time-based media, painting, and performance to tangle with systems of oppression and his liminal experience growing up between Europe and Southeast Asia.

On February 10th and 11th, Grafia and Mikołaj Sobczak (b. 1989, Poznań, Poland; lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) make their US performance debut, restaging Peasants. Referring to a time of exploitation and revolution, Peasants harnesses spoken word, choreography, and disguise to cast a light upon social hierarchies still present today. Sobczak’s solo show is currently on view at Kunsthalle Münster through January 2023.

Ahead of his 2023 retrospective at The Whitney, Josh Kline (b. 1979, Philadelphia, PA; lives and works in New York, NY) presents never-before-shown sculptures building on a long-term body of work in visceral critique of American social-political breakdown. Ready-mades are perverted with new upholstery cut from the uniforms of iconic Alt-Right leaders–a Barbour jacket for Steve Bannon, a polo shirt for Richard Spencer. Kline’s unequivocal practice uses emerging technologies, video, and installation to break glass on the emergencies of climate change, automation, disease, and the weakening of democracy.

On the heels of his successful solo show at Silverlens’ Manila gallery, Pow Martinez (b. Manila, Philippines, lives and works Manila) will present a number of ludicrous new paintings in his defining mischievous style. Present are iconic characters that have starred in Martinez’s narrative paintings for 20+ years—lewd cavemen, blow-up dolls, ghosts, and the specter of American camouflage. Martinez takes his inspiration primarily from YouTube, watching videos as he works and transposing the imagery in real time. Taken all together, the works poke at soft (and sometimes hard) power and the export of American pop-culture.

State of Flux is on view at the gallery through March 4, 2023.