Eau de Cologne
March 27–April 12, 2019
Eau de Cologne began as a series of exhibitions and three publications, organized by Monika Sprüth between 1985 and 1989, which sought to create a new dialogue around contemporary art. The exhibitions introduced a select group of young women artists, each of whom individually represented powerful attitudes and practices. Through Eau de Cologne, they established a discourse around art, feminism and power that continues to be profoundly relevant. Then, as now, their work tackled questions of authority, messaging and influence in society in subtle and expansive ways, and today they count among the best-known artists working internationally. It is with great pleasure that Sprüth Magers stages a new iteration of this celebrated project in Hong Kong at H Queen’s — Eau de Cologne’s very first presentation in Asia.
This exhibition features five of the artists who participated in the original project in 1985 in Cologne, Germany, and who have been represented by the gallery ever since: Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman and Rosemarie Trockel. Holzer’s text-based works, in the form of signs, plaques, and posters, as well as Kruger’s iconic blend of text and image, often presented in stark black and white, challenge viewers with statements about life and society that demand we rethink concepts as essential as truth, power, love, and belief. Trockel likewise investigates cultural codes and social roles, as well as the longstanding hierarchy between craft and fine art that materializes in her vibrant wool paintings. Roles and subversion are equally the domain of Sherman, whose photographs feature the artist in series of identity-bending costumes and situations. Lawler, also through photography, questions the very nature of art objects by examining how their presentation affects their reception and meaning.