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Ser Serpas, „Alice (Language) Practice 5“, 2022

Ser Serpas

Alice (Language) Practice 5 (2022)

Los Angeles-born artist Ser Serpas has a practice that, in its impressive range, resists simple categorization. Her most imposing works – some of which were on view at Barbara Weiss in Berlin for Gallery Weekend 2022 – are sculptures created from found objects. Consisting mostly of urban detritus (used mattresses, abandoned appliances, outdated furniture), the works challenge perceptions of value and assert meaning in what would otherwise be discarded or overlooked. But Serpas also paints: mainly figuratively, and mostly nudes. Never depicting her subjects’faces, these compositions immortalize what one imagines were intimate photos exchanged via dating apps or in end-to-end encrypted messages. Serpas’s practice has yet another dimension, namely an intimate engagement with language. Her edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST, “Alice (Language) Practice 5” (2022), is a print based on works included in the series of the same name exhibited at LC Queisser in Tbilisi in 2021. The words are hardly legible, and that is precisely the point. The work treads the line between figuration (here, text) and abstraction, linking it more closely to Serpas’s more conventionally figurative work than one might expect at first glance. In fact, the artist has described another textual work, “Palette Cleanser” (2020), as being like a body. Thus, one should resist the urge to decode the signifier and its signified and appreciate the work in all its corporeality.