The Science of Freedom: Curated by Saša Bogojev

June 6 - July 13, 2024 New York
Installation Views
The Science of Freedom: Curated by Sasa Bogojev, June 6 – July 13, 2024. Courtesy of the artist and albertz benda, New York. Photo: Thomas Müller
Press release

NEW YORK, NY: From June 6th to July 13th, 2024, albertz benda is delighted to present The Science of Freedom, a group presentation featuring works by Marria Pratts, Teresa Murta, Etsu Egami, Merveille Kelekele Kelekele, Ben Quilty, and Joseba Eskubi. Borrowing the title from Joseph Beuys' poetical definition of art, the exhibition, curated by Saša Bogojev, introduces a range of approaches to value and employ art’s otherwise unattainable sense of liberation.


Throughout history, artists, theorists, and thinkers have often associated art with freedom. As it evolved from mimetic representations of the world to an appreciation of nonexistent, fabricated, or abstract forms, its traditional definition transformed into what Joseph Beuys identified as The Science of Freedom. For painters, the core of their practice became the ability to express themselves beyond words or gestures and give shape to feelings, thoughts, or ideas while developing a new language. Often compared to alchemy, painting's transformative force allows concrete entities to be replaced by ambiguous shapes and intangible, indescribable matters to take form. Amalgamation of seemingly abstract, fluid lines of diluted oils can be stacked into a shape of familiar face. Blotches of dabbed paint could form esoteric compositions reminiscent of native ancient iconographies. This is how Japanese-born Etsu Egami portrays one of her art personal heroes (Rainbow - Keith Haring, 2024), and Merveille Kelekele Kelekele immortalizes his everyday life experiences from Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kanjuji, the First of a Cursed Family, 2024). 


So, it's this intersection of form and anti-form, representation and imagination, factuality and reverie, where the painters featured in this exhibition thrive. While creating universally relatable or challenging content, they emphasize the medium's near-infinite potential. Perhaps as a reaction to the era of lightspeed tech evolution and the constant change of communication and representation? A response to the urge to create new images unlike the ones recognized in the daily visual overload we're exposed to? Or a way to convey nameless "things" to the existing vocabulary and standard comprehension systems? Harnessing the process-based nature of their practices, the artists featured in this exhibition honor the behavior of their chosen materials (Marria Pratts), the unmediated, expressive approach to mark-making (Ben Quilty), and the continual challenge of ideas about representation and abstraction (Teresa Murta, Joseba Eskubi). They’re exploring and employing their right to act, speak, or think by dreaming, devising, and constructing new worlds. They’re eccentric visionaries scrutinizing the near-limitless field of painterly freedom.