Josephine Meckseper

Untitled (2012)

Edition of 100
Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo rag 308 gsm
71.5 x 51 cm (28 x 20 in)
Accompanied by a numbered certificate signed by the artist
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Josephine Meckseper's 'Untitled' (2012) is comprised of several sheets of paper swept with expansive brushstrokes, interlaid with two crumpled american flags, a crushed Pepsi can, and several layers of a multi-coloured, reflective material similar to Mylar. This discordant collage, with its disparate elements intercepting each other at harsh angles, creates a shallow depth of field and seems to force the image outwards into the viewer's plane. It is a surprisingly aggressive image, oblique but forceful. The contrast of shapes and textures - glossy and slick, rough and lush, metallic and harsh, are visually sumptuous and, like all of Meckseper's collages and vitrine sculptures, the work seeks to challenge ingrained perspectives. Stating that she wants to "bring out the paradoxes inherent in manic consumption" Meckseper describes the significance of the objects she includes in her vitrines and collages is that they are easily exchangeable. "This is a key to the work - the objects are mere signs of capitalism. The reason for their existence is in anticipation of their own destruction. They are meant to trigger a resemblance to the way store windows appear just before they are smashed by demonstrators. They represent targets for potential violence."
Josephine Meckseper makes collages, shelves and vitrines that resemble store windows, with disparate objects on display apparently for consumption. Her works reconstruct the worlds of contemporary advertising and fashion as a way of critiquing the political implications of the iconography of consumer culture. During her time in Los Angeles during the 1990s, while she was studying at CalArts, she became interested in situationist strategies and staged happenings with fellow students that revolved around the techniques of "turning things on their heads and adding fuel to the fire." This desire to upend unquestioned assumptions about the political underpinning of contemporary culture continues through her work, which, as the artist puts it, "mimics retail aesthetics in order to activate the commercial zone into a political one."

Josephine Meckseper was born in 1964 in Lilienthal, Germany. She lives and works in New York.