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Double Vision
Artistic Synergy Effects at the Lobby Gallery, New York

In its new exhibition Double Vision, the Lobby Gallery at Deutsche Bank in New York presents the work of international artistic partnerships. Among them are established names such as the duo Fischli and Weiss and siblings Claudia and Julia Mueller. But there also new stars in the art scene, the artists' collective assume vivid astro focus.

Fischli und Weiss, Funghi 11, 1998
Deutsche Bank Collection

Since the late '70s, Fischli and Weiss have confronted the public with bizarre sausage still lifes, filmed chain reactions and odd sculptures. Their work deliberately explores the border between absurd humor and profundity. The Swiss duo also subversively questions the roles of both viewer and artist. Their photo series Funghi from the Deutsche Bank Collection shows close-up images of mushrooms sprouting from a forest floor. The work was generated in an idiosyncratic way: first, one of the pair photographed the mushrooms. Then the other took the camera and photographed the same motif. The result is almost psychedelic double exposures that call to mind the hallucinogenic substances in some mushrooms. The photos allow space for coincidence, thus calling the role of the artist as the sole author of an artwork into question.

Fischli und Weiss, Funghi 29, 1998
Deutsche Bank Collection

Fischli and Weiss' ironic fungal idyll can now be seen at the Lobby Gallery of Deutsche Bank New York – in an exhibition that presents an alternative to the romantic image of the artist as a lone, heroic creative genius. With Double Vision, curator Liz Christensen shows eleven international positions where teamwork and synergies define the artistic work. Whether the artists working together are siblings, romantic partners or friends, the works created are collaborations.

Mixed media installation by artist collective assume vivid astro focus
in the reception area at Deutsche Bank Wall Street

To set the mood for the show, a giant multi-media screen by Brazilian-American artists' collective assume vivid astro focus is the first thing visitors see upon entering the building on Wall Street. It's a psychedelic patchwork of ornament, color and shapes, upon which neon circles flash. assume vivid astro focus sample nearly anything in their work: wallpaper patterns, graffiti, Tibetan mandalas, soft-core porn motifs, Pink Floyd, Francis Picabia. Since its founding in 2003, the group has had a comet like rise and has shown at biennials and in museums around the world. One reason for this success is surely the group's ability to build networks and absorb very diverse influences.

Aziz + Cucher, Oda 1, 2003
Courtesy Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, NY and the Artists

Keith Haring once described collaborating on artwork as the "invention of a third consciousness – two psyches combined to produce a third, unique form of awareness." For Haring – who in the 1980s collaborated with fellow artists such as Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol – as well as for many of the participants in Double Vision, cooperation is not only about developing new artistic strategies; it's also about questioning social and moral norms.

Aziz + Cucher, Nocturn 3, 2004
Courtesy Kathleen Cullen Fine Art, NY and the Artists

Pioneers of digitally manipulated photography Anthony Aziz and Sammy Chucher have lived together since 1991. The New Yorkers attracted attention with their photo series Dystopia (1994), in which they showed human faces covered with flawless digital skin. The duo removed the mouths, nostrils and eyes from the anonymous portraits, erasing not only each unique feature, but also the sensory organs with which humans experience their surroundings. Here, digital photography anticipates the genetic manipulation of the human body. At the same time, Aziz and Cucher provided a statement on the AIDS crisis in mid-90s America, commenting on suppressed fears, speechlessness and social isolation with their Abject Art-related works. In their current project, Synaptic Bliss, from which the works shown in Double Vision originate, they venture further into the micro- and macrocosms. The cells or crystalline structures on their metal prints seem like impressionistic, toxic landscapes and dissolve the boundaries between the external and internal, the organic and artificial.

Lovett / Codagnone, I am/not you, 2004
Courtesy Emi Fontana, Milan, West of Rome, LA and the artists

As with Aziz and Chucher, the works of Lovett/Codagnone and Elmgreen and Dragset also deal with homosexual identity and alternatives to traditional roles. In their videos, performances and photo projects, Lovett/Codagnone address sexual and social power structures. Their exciting productions combine elements of the gay S&M subculture with literary, cinematic and political fragments, plumbing extreme physical and psychological circumstances. Their series of drawings entitled For You is based on a performance in which both artists held a double-edged knife in their mouths while remaining frozen in a tango move for hours. Lovett/Codagnone's latest works are about propaganda and subversive anti-propaganda and the interface between publicly regulated and autonomous cultures. Obliquities is the name of their text collage made up of writings by Antonin Artaud and Peter Handke. It forms the basis of their latest video work, currently on display at the solo show Interruption of a Course of Action at New York's P.S.1.

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