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blank projects is pleased to present Sitcom, Gerda Scheepers’ third solo exhibition with the gallery. Comprising a series of new wall-based installations and sculptures, Sitcom represents an apex moment in Scheepers’ ongoing experimentation with techniques of collage and découpage.

As with the list of artwork titles arranged in the form of a poem, Scheepers uses collaging methods, drawn from Modernist traditions of sculpture and painting, as visual and linguistic instruments to both disrupt the continuum of the familiar and enable a continuum between apparently disparate registers. Simultaneously, she employs collage as a tool to didactically, and sometimes humorously, imitate the brutal fragmentation brought on by life’s daily efforts.

The exhibition’s title is reflective of this in that a sitcom, or situation comedy, is defined as an episodic comedy genre in which the lives of a cast of characters are played out in the context of a (familiar) shared environment – a suburban home, office – but with unlikely or even outlandish disruptions to their daily routines. The usual format of a sitcom has each episode broken up into a series of comical standalone scenes, which are often resolved in the final scene when disparate narratives are brought together by coincidence, in a comedic climax.

Sharing the title Sitcom is a group of sculptures, each representing an element of a deconstructed couch – the couch being a ubiquitous feature of sitcom sets – onto which Scheepers has découpaged the fabric silhouettes of body parts, sprawled in animated positions, like scenic freeze-frames. Other works on the show include map-like wall installations: pieces of fabric stretched into place, their shapes reminiscent of unlikely maps or floorplans with subtly marked surfaces that, in Scheepers’ words, act as “spaces of buffering, temporary addresses for things more distinct than concrete”.

According to Scheepers, “the studio functions somehow as a capsule, where possibilities and restrictions play themselves out. The materials that accumulate there are collected over longer periods in a ‘gathering’ phase, while the show is being conceptualized. Budget and deadline are very much tools determining aspects of process in the studio too, and soon the works have to make do with what is available. They enter a struggle between possibilities and limitations and sometimes simply my inabilities. The actual moment of starting the execution of a work always feels like a very unlikely physical activity to engage in, it doesn’t feel right. It’s through a certain endurance and interaction with this moment that the works develop”.

The materials Scheepers has used in this exhibition have come from an almost bland sculptural “palette”: basic art materials and processes like framing, as well as materials associated with domestic crafts. Instead, their specificity is developed through their application. Some of these materials are the residue of previous efforts or failures, but through having escaped the bin they have a legitimacy and identity of their own.

 

Gerda Scheepers (b. Tzaneen, 1979) lives and works in Cape Town after having lived in Berlin for many years. She graduated from the Dusseldorf Art Academy in 2005 and won the Art Cologne Preis fur junge Kunst in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include PSYCHO SOCIO SURFACE (2014), A Social Life (Of Image) (Mary Mary Gallery, 2013), Modal Approach and Accent (2012) and Low and partial: Romantic Comedy (Kunstverein Nuremberg, Germany, 2012). In 2012, Scheepers was awarded the Marianne-Defet- Malerei-Stipendium, and her work will be presented by blank projects at Liste Art Fair Basel later this year.

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