At this year’s Art Cologne, the art museum Museum Ludwig in Cologne (Germany) presents a new acquisition. It’s an artwork by American artist Ser Serpas. Ser Serpas – memory station, she cast index bedding myself for you, gate closed bye bye yes its in people.
Art Cologne 2023, Cologne (Germany), November 16, 2023.
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Official description: The Junger Ankauf is an innovative form of collective patronage. The initiative was launched by the Young Members of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst in 2005. The procedure is quite unique: During regular meetings with the museum’s Director, Yilmaz Dziewior, and the Curator of Contemporary Art, Photography and New Media, Barbara Engelbach, the Young Members present artistic positions from their own generation and discuss these in detail. Which work is ultimately selected as an acquisition for the museum’s collection is a democratic decision among the members of the initiative, subject, of course, to the consent of the museum. The new acquisitions by the initiative are shown annually at the Art Cologne.
Ser Serpas was born in Los Angeles, California in 1995. After completing her bachelor’s degree at Columbia University in New York, she went to Europe in 2019: first to Geneva, Switzerland, where she completed her master’s degree at HEAD – Haute école d’art et de design in 2021, then to Tbilisi, Georgia and Paris, France. Serpas’s work has been shown in numerous international solo exhibitions, including at La Bourse de Commerce, Pinault Collection, Paris, 2023; the Swiss Institute, New York, 2023; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, 2022; LC Queisser, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2022. Selected group exhibitions include Tolia Astakhishvili: The First Finger, Bonner Kunstverein and Haus am Waldsee Berlin, 2023; It’s Personal, OCDChinatown, New York, 2023; Looking Back: The 13th White Columns Annual, White Columns, New York, 2023.
For the first time since the JUNGER ANKAUF was founded in 2005, an artist has been given carte blanche. In May of this year, Ser Serpas created three site-specific works of art in Cologne, which will be donated to the Museum Ludwig. With the open invitation to the young multimedia artist Ser Serpas, the initiative continues its series of progressive and contemporary positions acquired for the Museum Ludwig: three sculptures were created, as well as poem, from which the individual titles of the works are borrowed. Serpas’s residency in Cologne served as a starting point and source of inspiration. During her forays into the city, she collected the material for her works herself. The artist arranged discarded objects in cellars or garages, transforming urban found objects and bulky waste into free-standing sculptures that are held together only by gravity. This form of in-situ work has already been practiced by Serpas in connection with renowned art institutions and galleries such as Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin (2022) and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2020). The process is quick. In a short space of time, accompanied by Serpas’s carefully composed playlist, what the artist herself calls a ‘private performance’ takes place: objects take on new positions in relation to each other and in space, are nested, stacked, draped, and shaped until Serpas declares them finished. Some combinations do not work and are discarded; objects are transferred into other constellations. Intuition, dynamics, and the poem written during the residency, inscribe themselves as a soundtrack to the creation of the works. The power of subversion becomes evident as the used, sometimes damaged objects are given a second life. Familiarity and strangeness are intertwined in them. The found objects are a reflection of the city and at the same time open up new perspectives. Serpas’s unique artistic gesture is the poetry inherent in the objects, which enter into a new dialogue with each other – entangled, wedged, or turned upside down to be seen anew.