Helen Mirra

Dates: January 10 – Feb 14, 2009
Live performance: Saturday, Jan 10, 17:00-  *entrance free
Opening reception: Saturday, Jan 10, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Kyoto, is pleased to announce our second exhibition, the debut solo exhibition in Japan of American artist Helen Mirra. Mirra, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is presently an artist in residence at the Stiftung Laurenz-Haus, Basel, Switzerland. Mirra has exhibited extensively – a selection of solo exhibitions includes DAAD Galerie, Berlin, Dallas Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Renaissance Society, Chicago; a selection of group exhibitions includes the National Museum, Oslo, MARTa Herford, Germany, White Columns, New York, Kunstverein Hamburg, the 50th Venice Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam.

Helen Mirra’s exhibition consists of a series of 18 color photographs. There are nine images, and each image has been printed twice, once in reverse. The informal photographs are of trees in the woods with a birdhouse among them. The exhibition is in both spaces of the gallery, with each photograph out of sight from its mirror image.

Mirra made the photographs at Waldau, a psychiatric clinic outside of Bern, Switzerland, once home to writer Robert Walser. Walser’s mikrogrammen – extremely small hand-written texts – served as the foundation for a series of Mirra’s recent paintings on scrap plywood.

This photographic series is distinct within Mirra’s practice. Where Mirra’s works typically involve a reductive abstraction – Mirra consistently employs muted colors of a tone referencing natural phenomenon in a series of wall and floor works presented in a serial manner, often incorporating scrap material or found text presented in an indexical form – the present work begins with photographic representation and ultimately prompts a movement towards abstraction. The physical distance between each exhibited photograph and its double – Mirra specifying, generally, that it should not be possible to view both images at the same time from the same standing point – introduces a conceptual gap as an essential element of the project. The content of each image, when understood within Mirra’s and, more generally, a contemporary context, leads towards the consideration of further abstract issues of a photographic and wider interest.
*On the evening of the opening, Mirra along with Ernst Karel, will perform live. Please contact the gallery for further details.
Performance: Helen Mirra (percussion) and Ernst Karel (Swiss mountain transport systems location recordings)