Jana Sterbak. Human condition: the limits of our freedom

Nov 28 - Feb 8, 2014
via a. stradella 7-1
Raffaella Cortese is glad to present the third solo exhibition by Czech-born Canadian artist Jana Sterbak in the two gallery spaces, in Via Stradella 1 e 7. Even though she is mainly known for her performance works from the second half of the 70’s and 80’s, dealing primarily with the issues of power and sexuality, her production is characterized by great experimentation and it spreads between different media, including sculpture, installation, photography, video.

After her participation to the collective exhibition Les Papesses in Avignone, in the prestigious Pope's palace and at Lambert Foundation, some of her historical works, like the drawings from the 80’s, will be exhibited in Milan next to more recent sculptures. The show will be centered on the metaphors of the human condition, an issue Sterbak has been investigating since the early ’90, and in particular on the impossibility for the body to move because of obstructing structures, realized by the artist.

On show, some seminal works, such as Uniform (1991) and Proto-condition: Cage for sound (1994), sculptures used as cages to block and encumber movement. Some other works evoke an hypothetical employ, which is prevented by the materials they are made of, such as Spire Spine (1983) a bronze spinal canal, and Corona (2007), a crown made of bay leaves soaked. Chemise de Nuit instead is an unusual female nightgown with hair glued on the front, that suggests gender thematics Sterbak has inquired along her career.

The gallery is also proud to present Chair Apollinaire (1996), an armchair whose upholstery is made of raw dehydrated meat, which recalls another famous sculpture by Jana Sterbak, Vanitas: flesh dress for an Albino Anorectic in the collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris, and that, again, investigates the issues of the body and its different and surreal employs.

Jana Sterbak (Prague in 1955) lives and works in Montreal, Canada exhibitions in major museums worldwide, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa (NGC) (2012, 2008), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010–09), Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2012, 2011), the 50th Venice Biennal (2003), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1992). Her solo exhibition Jana Sterbak: States of Being, organized by NGC, toured across North America between 1991 and 1992. She has received important awards, including the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2012, and the Prix Antoine Guichard, France.