V1 Gallery presents
Sleep and Repeat
A solo exhibition by Stephen Powers
V1 Gallery proudly presents Sleep and Repeat, a solo exhibition by Stephen Powers.
Stephen Powers is legendary on the American art scene. He has collaborated with some of the most progressive artists and curators in the States, created a seminal magazine and written two influential books. Now he is coming to V1 Gallery with his first solo exhibition in Europe: Sleep and Repeat.
In Sleep and Repeat Stephen Powers extends the fleeting everyday to a timeless state of society. Using the clear-cut symbols of the commercial world, Powers detourns the trivial daily routine in the modern Western world. The consciousness of the fact that repetition not only has an impact on one's existence from day to day, but also from year to year and life to life, is conceived in a return to an iconography from the past and not least the use of the old fashioned hand painted enamel signs as medium.
In Sleep and Repeat the great existentialist choices are blurred by a habit-forming and uncomplicated routine: Wake, Work, Wait, Work, Wank, Work, Want, Wane. However, it soon becomes obvious that under the polished surface the apparently unreflective action is problematic and claustrophobic. The weekdays are no longer called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Mundane, Duesday, Whensday, Thirsty, Frieday, Sadderday and Someday. Unpaid bills, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food and post-it notes interweave with anger, insecurity, hate, jealousy, longing and fear of death. Power's paintings are full to the brim with unrealized dreams and ambitions, worries, defeats and empty advice from self-help books. And the colourful objects and people float in the works like fragments of thoughts in a pitch-black and inscrutable universe.
Stephen Powers belongs to the generation of artists that dissolved the contrast between street and gallery in the early nineties which is also the reason for his alias ESPO (Exterior Surface Painting Outreach). From the beginning of his career he has practised the power of words and the dialogue with the viewer. Powers calls his visual expression Emotional Response Icons, and he has compared his artistic activity with emotional cave painting, wherein he recounts and sums up the human condition in easy-to-recall and easy-to-grasp pictures. Lately Powers has explored narrative stories in his painting installations. This is also the case in Sleep and Repeat.
Stephen Powers (f. Philadelphia, 1969) has had solo exhibitions at Deitch Projects (2005), Alleged Annex (2003) and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2007). He has participated in group exhibitions at Luggage Store (2005), Deitch Projects (2002) and the seminal Beautiful Losers-exhibition which has toured the world since 2004. Powers different collaborations with Barry McGee and Todd James have been exhibited at Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Deitch Projects in New York, The Venice Biennial in Venice and Parco Gallery in Tokyo. Powers conceived the idea for Creative Time's project Dreamland Artist Club, in which more than forty artists (Powers included) painted signs and fun fair rides in the infamous amusement park on Coney Island in New York. And last but not least he created On The Go Magazine (1989-1997) and has written The Art of Getting Over (1999) and First and Fifteenth (2006).Download PDF