A Fair to Meddling Story is the first institutional exhibition by artists Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss who live in Berlin and New York. The exhibitions compiles group and solo works such as drawings and objects by Nick Mauss and video works by Ken Okiishi. The exhibition title refers to a short story by American author Jill Johnston who is known for her remarkable blending of critical and fictional writing.
Ken Okiishi and Nick Mauss work individually and collaboratively. Both artists share their interest in repressed aspects of modern visual culture. They take up aesthetic forms of expressions of previous times or lost utopias and place them into modern contexts. For example, they translate an art déco book cover, images of places in New York or a musical portrait of the painter Florine Stettheimer into their creative medium. However, these works aren’t solely a reference to the original materials and topics. The artists are interested in the permanent transformation of cultural meanings which is why the heterogeneous references are exposed as moments of a performative process.
Okiishi’s and Mauss‘ works are led by the questions of cultural mechanisms of communication and translations. Nick Mauss uses elements that purposely direct the spectator’s view on his fragmentary, suggestive drawings. Ken Okiishi’s video works refer to filmic works such as Larry Clark’s Kids or Woody Allen’s Manhattan. The starting point of the exhibition at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart is the collaborative installation Walking around Corona Park, thinking about the future (2005) that contains photographs of the artists exploring the World Exhibition areas of 1939 and 1964. Their search for remnants of the exhibition design lead to a reflection of the mode of social stories, nostalgia, future and aesthetic presence.
Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Galerie Neu (Berlin) published an artist book accompanying the exhibition.
Ken Okiishi (b. 1978 in Ames, Iowa, USA) and Nick Mauss (b. 1980 in New York, USA) collaborate sindce 2001 such as One Season in Hell, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York (2016). Nick Mauss currently presents a solo show at Galerie Neu, Berlin. Ken Okiishi recently exhibited at Eva’s Arche and the Feminst, Berlin.