Freezer Burn, Hauser and Wirth, New York

Drawing its title from the antithesis inherent to the making and the experience of art, Freezer Burn focuses on the idea that artists are able to experience powerful forms of life and subsequently transform them into subtle yet potent sensorial realities, expanding the smallest sentiment into a world of its own. Organised by Hungarian-born, New York based artist Rita Ackermann, this group exhibition unites the work of 15 individual practitioners, each exploring the juxtaposing emotions of freeze and burn.

Opening on 8 November, Hauser & Wirth invites its viewers into a secret community of artists, all of whom have recurrently revisited a shared territory of creative thought and practice. The line-up includes Hans Bellmer, Lizzi Bougatsos, Antoine Catala, Bernadette Corporation, Martin Eder, Mark Gonzales, Dan Graham, Mike Kelley, Lee Lozano, Lily Ludlow, Paul McCarthy, Jason Rhoades, Colin Snapp, Daniel Turner, Ian Wallace, Emily Sundblad and Matt Sweeney. With each artists’ work drawing its viewer into a space of contemplation and emotion away from sentiments felt in their everyday realities, this humorous but symbolically profound exhibition seeks to highlight art’s potential as an entrance to another life. In Donatien Grau’s accompanying Freezer Burn text, emotions of intensity, beauty and violence are associated with “the new birth of intensified existence” offered by the artist’s creative hand.

In endeavouring to engage with audiences on a personal level, the work presented seeks to alter the thoughts, attitudes and feelings of the viewer, with the hope that they will experience a meditative rebirth – something that will accompany them in a context beyond the gallery walls. With this process comes the artist’s own reward: the promise of survival. In Freezer Burn, art is approached as a medley of controverting themes that collectively, sit fittingly together : “Art is a form of estrangement and yet it is the most acute awareness. It is a contradiction that nonetheless builds up coherence. It is discretion, and it is exposure. With art, you exist on your own, and yet you are part of community, whether you are an artist or a viewer – or both at the same time.”

Alongside the notion of rebirth is the theme of line. Connections and lines are drawn from artist to artist, as Freezer Burn reflects on the long-standing network of practitioners and contributors who engage with each other through discussion and collaborations. Links are also drawn between individuals, connected to each other by human narratives. These lines can be physical in the form of drawing, they can be sensorial in the feeling of existence, they can be political in the context of community, they can be intellectual in the understanding of the world, and they can be chronological in the perspective of history. In today’s society, we live in a network of multiple lines: when we are not aware of this network, we end up caught up in it. Freezer Burn reflects on the clarity and moment of freedom art offers its viewers and artists alike.

Freezer Burn, 8 November – 20 December, Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, New York City.

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1. Dan Graham Two half cylinders 2000. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.