New York | Andrea Geyer: plein-air

3 Feb-11 Mar 2023


Hales is proud to announce plein-air, the gallery's fourth solo exhibition with Andrea Geyer. Continuing her cross-disciplinary practice that interweaves image and text-based research, Geyer presents two new installations that materialize the poetics of storytelling.
Geyer's work ranges across multiple media, incorporating text, photography, painting, sculpture, video and performance. She explores the complex politics of time, in the context of specific social and political situations, cultural institutions and historical events. Geyer's work continuously seeks to create spaces of critical, collective reflection on the construction of histories and ideas that are otherwise marginalized or obscured.
A child of so-called "War Children" (individuals born in the 1930s in Germany), Geyer grew up in the mountainous region of the Black Forest. Coming of age during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the artist experienced the employment of "memory culture" as a strategy for reckoning with the country's violent history, raising a collective consciousness of the past to create a vantage point for the present. Deeply shaped by this cultural condition, Geyer insists on the dangers of ignoring difficult histories, as the ideologically driven omissions of the past can lead to an inevitably volatile present.
In both of the works on view at Hales, never yet and plein-air (both 2023), Geyer takes the German forest of her childhood as a framework to explore the ways in which fascist ideologies draw on notions of 'nature' and 'natural' for their dissemination. From the turn of the 20th century to present-day, the forest has been exploited by white supremacists to justify constructs of Social Darwinism, the nuclear family, and binary gender norms. At the same time, Geyer shares her childhood experience of the forest's indifference to human norms and desires, inviting viewers to be aware not only of the ideological thickets of fascism, but also the forest's continuous, potent resilience.   
never yet (2023) is a video installation comprised of six vertical, overlapping projections on a continuous loop. Destabilizing the image of the landscape, Geyer allows the forest to reorganize itself through visual fragmentation towards a viewer. The accompanying voiceover considers the forest from historical, ideological, and somatic vantage points. Its rich layers weave the artist's personal experiences as a queer teenager foraging in the woods together with her mother's wartime stories of being a child in hiding. Also drawing on Geyer's expansive research into white nationalism's investment in nature both throughout history and in the present moment of the United States, the installation urges viewers to contemplate how right-wing ideology seeps into their everyday life.
Throughout the year 2022, Geyer collected and studied U.S. based narratives related to white nationalism, Christian nationalism, fascism, the far right, militias and neo-Nazism across various print and online news outlets. In plein-air (2023), the artist presents this research in a grid of over three-hundred silk screen and digital archival prints, juxtaposing text with abstracted images of the forest. This ghostly archive recalls some of Geyer's earlier works, such as Feeding the Ghost (2019), in which personal history, cross generational trauma, and collective memory are collapsed into a non-linear narrative.
Reflecting on nature as a vessel for individual and collective memory, Geyer exposes the seemingly silent residue of fascist ideologies still present in U.S. culture today. The works on view reveal how personal and political histories are inherently connected, despite - or perhaps precisely because of - their dichotomies.
Andrea Geyer (b. 1971, Freiburg, Germany) studied Photography and Film Design at the Fachhochschule Bielefeld and Fine Art at the Braunschweig University of Art, Germany and is a 2000 graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, NY, USA. Geyer lives and works in New York.
Geyer's work has been exhibited widely at institutions including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, USA; The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Artists Space and White Columns, in NY, USA; Contemporary Art Museum Houston, TX, USA; A Space Gallery, Toronto, Canada; KINDL - Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Red Cat and LACE, CA, USA; Tate Modern and Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, Switzerland; Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden; Generali Foundation and Secession, Vienna, Austria; HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, Austria;Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand; the Turin Biennale, Italy; the São Paulo Biennial, Brazil; and dOCUMENTA (12), Germany. International public collections with Geyer's work include the Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, USA; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, NY, USA; Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL, USA; Art Institute Chicago, IL, USA; Jewish Museum, NY, USA; Neue Galerie, MHK, Kassel; Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria; and the Federal Collection of Germany.