Atong Atem, Everything in Remission, and Vittoria di Stefano, The Palace at 4pm
⬤ Atong Atem, Everything in Remission, Gertrude Contemporary 12 Feb - 27 Mar 2022 ⬤ Vittoria di Stefano, The Palace at 4pm, Gertrude Contemporary 12 Feb - 27 Mar 2022
One of the true pleasures of an exhibition is the surprise of seeing what happens when things are put together in a space. Even the most seasoned artists and curators, I’m betting, can never really be sure what new associations will be produced or what artworks will actually say when they are brought into conversation. The two solo exhibitions on show at Gertrude Contemporary, Atong Atem’s Everything in Remission and Vittoria di Stefano’s The Palace at 4pm, seem very different on the surface. However, a shared photographic sensibility, emerging from an impulse towards staging and display, is evident in their juxtaposition. Both artists, it seems to me, have a foundational interest in how the self is formed by its environment and how meaning is produced through association. Precisely staged figure-ground relationships are prominent in both shows. Where Atem’s photographic portraits set her human subjects into context, folding them into rich mise-en-scènes, Di Stefano’s sculptural works deploy the surrealist tactic of spatially isolating a series of charged fetish-objects and body surrogates.