980 Madison | Merci Mercy | January 2013




JANUARY 24 – FEBRUARY 17, 2013

Curated by Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld & Christine Messineo

 NEW YORK CITY – Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld presents Merci Mercy, opening January 24, 2013 at 980 Madison Avenue in New York City. Curated by Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld and Christine Messineo, the group exhibition examines the many ways that language and text imbue narrative and meaning in contemporary art.  A central focus of the exhibition, Louise Bourgeouis’ eponymous wall panel Merci Mercy is a plain and simple plaque inscribed with the title. It encourages viewers to examine the varied and evocative meanings that the two words convey.

The act of manipulation is an undercurrent that is consistent throughout the exhibition. Jack Pierson’s sculpture, Abstract 10, repurposes rusted fragments of advertising signs to utilize words in a different way. He removes the intended meanings from the fragments and uses their new cursive collisions to demand a new reading. Paintings by Jenny Holzer reprint text from released and redacted government documents relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Holzer culled simple, yet highly charged words from the painted, smeared, off-whites of erasure. The emptied page conveys both anger and mourning.

The kinetic nature of written language permeates the exhibition. TheEnd, by Dirk Bell, is decipherable yet jumbled, seemingly cinematic in its misleading order, while Aaron Young’s sculpture conveys its virility and power not with words, but with the style of the writing. His police barricades are spray-painted with graffiti tags and pushed askew, evoking a sinister narrative.

The mechanization of writing to manifest images is another reoccurring theme. Christopher Knowles’ tool is the typewriter but constrained and often limited to the C key. Sheets of paper are pushed through the machine and his unique mathematical language. Knowles develops a way of communicating that extends beyond text to create geometric and pictorial meaning. Through a methodology dictated by the artist, Philippe Parreno derives drawings from fragments of Marilyn Monroe’s journal.  The artist imposes an algorithm in place of his hand and uses a robot to reproduce an iteration of the text multiple times.  Within this serial repetition, a ghostly trace of the original remains that reflects on loss and the original.

While each of the artists included in Merci Mercy uses different approaches, their universal medium of text reveals the strength and vitality of language.

Exhibited Artists

Darren Almond, Dirk Bell, Mark Bradford, Mel Bochner, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Peter Davies, Sam Durant, Tracey Emin, Nikolas Gambaroff, Gilbert & George, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Jenny Holzer, Rashid Johnson, Scott King, Christopher Knowles, Michael Krebber, Sean Landers, Jason Loebs, Charles Mayton, Harland Miller, Philippe Parreno, Jack Pierson, Ry Rocklen, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Ben Schumacher, Gary Simmons, Lucien Smith, Dash Snow, Kon Trubkovich and Aaron Young

About Vladimir Restin Roitfeld

Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld has collaborated with emerging and established artists to produce exhibitions, providing them with an artistically significant and commercially viable platform to promote their artwork in venues around the world. Since 2008, Roitfeld has worked with a diverse array of artists including Ouattara Wats, Nicolas Pol, Richard Hambleton. In 2011, he curated Hue & Cry at Sotheby’s S2 Gallery.

About Christine Messineo

Christine Messineo is the Director of Bortolami Gallery in New York and organizes exhibitions and projects internationally.  She is a regular contributor to Dossier Magazine and is on the Executive Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art and serves on the committees of multiple other cultural institutions and arts related nonprofits.


Media Inquires:

Adam Abdalla, Nadine Johnson & Associates

adam@nadinejohnson.com | (212) 228-5555


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