Kelley Walker

27 April - 9 June 2018

Capitain Petzel is pleased to announce the third solo exhibition of New York artist Kelley Walker at the gallery for this year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin.


Kelley Walker’s exploration of image culture in advertising of the 1970s and 1980s is the starting point for the works on view. In his works Kelley Walker explores how popular iconography is filtered by time, reinvented, and continually recycled through private and public contexts. His work is driven by a kind of tireless auto-cannibalization of images, a method that bears striking parallels to how we consume media images and art.


For the exhibition, the artist has realized several large-scale screen prints, based on an advertisement for the legendary Pioneer PL-518 turntable. Nine years ago, in Walker’s first exhibition at the gallery, he referenced the same Pioneer advertisement starring Andy Warhol in the year 1973. For Walker the turntable is also associated to the New York disco scene of the 1970s, to which his work »Circle in circle« from 2006 refers. The work is a disco ball cast in chocolate and therefore unable to scatter light as a regular disco ball.


»You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvin’s? Nothing,«
This quote from the famous jeans campaign by Calvin Klein from the early 1980’s, shot by Richard Avedon and featuring the then fifteen-year-old Brooke Shields, created a major controversy in the US media. Walker takes this campaign that epitomizes a shift in the visual culture of that period to explore how iconic imagery of popular culture can reflect change in the social and cultural texture. At the start of the campaign, the conservative Reagan administration was still in its infancy, but the social impact of the campaign and the similarities between the then prevailing zeitgeist and that of today are unmistakable to Walker, revealing the entire spectrum from hypocritical optimism to downright defamatory bigotry.


The third body of work in the exhibition consists of four vertical and three horizontally installed screen prints and collage compositions on canvas from Walker’s series of »brick works.« Their basic structure consists of scanned individual bricks arranged in an indexical formation and then printed onto canvas using the CMYK printing process. The mortar for the bricks is a collage of Vogue magazines from 1980. These panels hover between illusionism and flatness, as each of the twenty centimeter wide strips of canvas simultaneously represents a brick wall and a variation on an abstract raster screen.


Kelley Walker (* 1969, Columbus, Georgia) lives and works in New York. His works have been exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions at, among others, MAMCO, Geneva (2017); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2016); and Manchester Art Gallery (2012). His 2007 exhibition at Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble toured to Wiels Contemporary Art Center in Brussels in the same year.

Installation Views