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Pamela Rosenkranz
Pamela Rosenkranz’s work takes aim at the empty centers of history, politics, and contemporary culture as a whole. It addresses the shifting philosophical and scientific meanings of the ‘natural’ and the ‘human’ during Anthropocene (the geological epoch marked by the impact of human activities on the ecosystem). Rosenkranz deploys a palette of patented icons—polyethylene water bottles, soft drinks, Ralph Lauren latex paint, JPEGs of International Klein Blue, Ilford photo paper, and ASICS sneakers—augmented by flesh-toned silicone and acrylic paint. Her insistence on the ‘naturalness’ of these seemingly unnatural materials is premised on the fact that they were all produced by human activity.

The domestication and commodification of organically occurring entities under contemporary capitalism is evoked through corporate slogans: Fiji’s “Untouched by man;” Evian’s “The most important body of water is yours;” ASICS’s anima sana in corpore sano. Rosenkranz views bottles of water as small bodies of nature, marketed as a health and beauty product that cleanses the human body from the inside out. Eternal youth and the preservation of purity are branded and sold as beauty ideals. She short-circuits this conceit by filling the branded vessels with flesh-toned silicone, a material ordinarily used to smooth the appearance of skin on camera, as though a homogenized solution of one’s own body.

The color blue, engaged through scientific and art historical discourses, is a recurrent motif. The ability to perceive blue was developed at a pre-evolutionary stage when life forms solely existed underwater, and humans remain more sensitive to it than any other color. Further, blue irises were a physical feature first developed to attract sexual partners for reproduction. “Our vision, like our other sense organs, is not abstract, but is very much influenced and shaped by the long natural history of the species that preceded humankind,” Rosenkranz notes.

The series Because they try to bore holes appropriates unauthorized reproductions of Yves Klein’s International Klein Blue (which he claimed had the capacity to cause viewers to transcend material concerns and induce a sensation of boundlessness) for opposite ends: the bubbles which populate Rosenkranz’s hand-mounted inkjet prints foreground immanence and material constraint. In contrast to Klein, she undermines the claim that art might transcend its immediate reality; here, the signification of apparent gesturality is reduced to its evolutionary and capitalist conditions of production. Rosenkranz’s universe is one in which the artist must be reduced to the physical interactions of neurochemical processes. Subjectivity itself becomes mere material.

Pamela Rosenkranz was born in Uri, Switzerland in 1979. She received her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts, Bern, in 2010, and completed an independent residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2012. She was recently nominated for the Böttcherstraße Prize, Kunsthalle Bremen, and in exhibitions at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
(Zürich), the Kunsthalle Wien, the Astrup Fearnley Museet (Oslo), and the ICA London. Forthcoming exhibitions include Between Discovery and Invention: 20 Years of Collecting, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK.
In 2013 her work was featured in the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni. Rosenkranz’s first solo exhibition in the United States, Because They Try to Bore Holes, took place at Miguel Abreu Gallery in 2012. Other solo exhibitions include My Sexuality (Karma International, 2014), Feeding, Fleeing, Fighting, Reproduction (Kunsthalle Basel, 2012), Untouched by Man (Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2010), No Core (Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, 2012), Our Sun (Swiss Institute, Venice, 2009), and This Is Not My Color / The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a two-person show with Nikolas Gambaroff, curated by Gianni Jetzer (Swiss Institute, New York, 2011). Recent group exhibitions include the 2014 Marrakech Biennale, Speculations on Anonymous Materials (Fridericianum, Kassel), Descartes’ Daughter (Swiss Institute, New York), EXPO1: New York (MoMA PS1, New York), Chat Jet: Painting <Beyond> the Medium (Künstlerhaus, Graz, Austria), the 2012 Liverpool Biennial, In the Holocene (The MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA), A Disagreeable Object (Sculpture Center, New York), When Attitudes Become Form (CCA Wattis, San Francisco), and Ghosts Before Breakfast (White Flag Project, St. Louis). Previously, her work was featured in New York to London and Back: the Medium of Contingency (Thomas Dane Gallery, London), as well as in exhibitions at institutions such as Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthaus Zürich, Kunsthaus Glarus, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst (all in Switzerland), Tate Britain, Kunstverein Bregenz (Austria), and the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berlin). Her work is held in the collections of Kunsthaus Glarus, Kunsthaus Zurich, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. A monograph on her work, No Core, was published by JRP|Ringier in 2012. 

2015 | Venice Art - PARKETT Conversations: Pamela Rosenkranz in conversation with Susanne Pfeffer 
2015 | Venice Art - Opening of the exhibition at the Pavilion of Switzerland 
2015 | Venice Art - Press conference at the Pavilion of Switzerland 
2015 | Venice Art - Salon Suisse: S.O.S. Dada – The World Is A Mess 

Image: Pamela Rosenkranz, Photo by Anon Amphorn
E_Factsheet_CV_Pamela Rosenkranz