Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present recent works by New York-based artist
Amy Granat (*1976) in a solo exhibition titled "Chinacat Flowers". The show comprises
new 16 mm movies on DVD and photograms.

Since completing her art studies at Bard College, New York, Amy Granat has
participated in exhibitions at venues such as the PSI, Long Island City and the Swiss
Institute, New York. She was also represented at this year’s Whitney Biennial. The artist
mainly works with 16 mm films, photographs, and photograms, which often exert a
mutual influence, for instance when film strips are copied on photo paper. The artist has
chosen these media to reflect on classic movies and their picture carriers. Through the
use of acid, and through techniques such as scratching, cutting up, and puncturing,
selectively applied on the films, the material aspect becomes visible, adding a new
dimension to the medium: not only at the moment of projection, but also – as is the
case with the photograms – on the developed photo paper. The artist herself puts it as
follows: "Whatever kind of assault you can make on film material, I’ve done it". The
destructive element at once acquires a sense of sensuality typical of painting, for the
resulting distortions and reflections generate novel pictorial shapes. The artist explains
that for her, painting, especially that of abstract expressionism, plays an important
associative part in both watching and creating such movies.
The play on the dichotomy between original and reproduction characteristic of Granat’s
work, and the associations resulting therefrom, give birth to a unique, dream-like reality
that lends the pieces a timeless character. This is how the photogram, each of which
being a unique specimen, undermines the idea of photographic reproduction. The
absence of the camera and the method of directly copying objects on paper allow the
objects to be presented on a one-to-one scale – a relation to reality that, on this level,
cannot be achieved by photography.
Yet at the same time, the works appear more abstract than those of photography:
reduced to their essence, such as light and shadow. Experiments with photograms
took place as early as the mid-19th century, but it was not until the 1920s that this
technique gained wide popularity among artists, ranging from Man Ray to members of
the Bauhaus movement. This historical dimension can also be found in Amy Granat’s
photograms, as she uses fiber-based gelatin silver paper and which is highly durable.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by the lyrics of the Grateful Dead song "China Cat
Sunflower". The group also wrote the soundtrack for Jud Yalkut’s 1973 movie of the
same name; underground filmmaker and video artist Yalkut, who has influenced Amy
Granat’s work, is considered one of the pioneers of experimental video art.
Furthermore, Granat understands flowers as a metaphor, since their colors and shapes
represent "a bit of wild". The new photograms featured in our exhibition, too, are named
after the movie and song, and they are connected with the movies presented as DVDs
in our show. Their 16 mm film rolls can be made out on the photograms. Seen from a
certain distance, they turn into wild, abstract shapes.

The Grateful Dead:
China Cat Sunflower

Look for awhile at the China Cat Sunflower
proud-walking jingle in the midnight sun
Copper-dome Bodhi drip a silver kimono
like a crazy-quilt stargown
through a dream night wind

Kraz Kat peeking through a lace bandana
like a one-eyed Cheshire
like a diamond-eye Jack
A leaf of all colors plays
a golden string fiddle
to a double-e waterfall over my back

Comic book colors on a violin river
crying Leonardo words
from out a silk trombone
I rang a silent bell
beneath a shower of pearls
in the eagle wing palace
of the Queen Chinee

Many of the artist’s works are included in a number of public collections, such as the
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, or the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, France.

Exhibition views

Press Release_Granat_DE (48.89 KB)Press Release_Granat_ENG (49.11 KB)