Double Prosecco by José Moñú & Joelle Lehmann
This site-specific installation merges two distinctive practices of photography and painting to evoke an ambiance reflecting encounters with New York City.
The exhibition Double Prosecco brings together works by Joëlle Lehmann and José Moñú – two artists currently participating in the Residency Unlimited program. For the ACE Hotel Gallery, the artists have conceived a site-specific installation, playfully merging their distinctive practices of photography and painting to evoke an ambiance reflecting their encounters with New York City. The richness of the city’s visual and audio stimuli, its constant flux and exhilarating rhythm is echoed in both the bountiful installation as well as the exhibition’s title, Double Prosecco, a humorous metaphor for the sensory and mental overload one often encounters on the New York City streets.
About Joëlle Lehmann
Joëlle Lehmann is a Swiss-born photographer who takes a personal, spontaneous approach to the act of taking photographs, capturing small episodes of contemporary ways of living. She documents her road trips and other travels, the intersections of artificial and natural environments, her family members and people she randomly encounters.
Lehmann’s photographs are made using most common, consumer-grade photographic equipment, challenging the technical perfection usually associated with artistic photography. Through various ways of displaying her photographs, whether in an artist’s book form, a magazine layout or as a display on gallery walls, Lehmann investigates new meanings created through their juxtaposition, suggesting various readings to viewers.
Her most recent body of work, both reflective and whimsical, is focused on recording the overabundance of textual messages in the urban surrounding, from commercial signage and street graffiti to body tattoos and phrases from T-shirts. For the ACE Hotel wall installation, the artist combines these textual messages with recently taken photographs in a visually engaging collage which, in the artist’s words, “aims to reveal beauty in chaos and imperfection of the city.”
About José Moñú
Spanish artist José Moñú is known for his painted portraits in which abstraction and figuration coexist and entwine in a highly dynamic manner. Stemming from the artist’s studies of the rich history of portraiture painting, his acrylic on canvas pieces investigate the potential of colors in revealing the emotional states of the depicted characters –people affected by the accelerated pace and strains of 21st century life.
The faces of Moñú’s characters melt, twirl, drip and distort, recalling both caricature-style illustrations from mass media and the eerie visions of previous generations of expressionist painters. The choice of bright and strong colors further emphasizes their energy. Through numerous layers of paint that in some segments achieve the sculptural properties of a relief, Moñú’s work veritably bursts from canvas surface into the surrounding space.
The works on view at ACE Hotel are the artist’s most recent paintings, inspired by his New York City encounters as well as individual experiences of pandemic life. These paintings are complemented by several pages from his sketchbook that are unevenly distributed across the gallery walls –a diligent visual diary of the artist’s daily impressions of the city, galvanized by Moñú’s personal feelings and observations.