Issue No. 18 - Humanity

Kahn and Selesnick: Truppe Fledermaus & The Carnival at the End of the World at Yancey Richardson Gallery

Image above: A Ship of Fools, 2014, Archival Pigment Print, (c) Kahn & Selesnick, Courtesy of artists and Yancey Richardson, New York The latest collaboration between Kahn and Selesnick at Yancey Richardson presents a blend of sculpture, photography, and printed ephemera documenting the activities of a fictitious cabaret troupe: Truppe Fledermaus (Bat Troupe). The installation operates with a calculated logic both in concept and aesthetic. Printed posters advertising the imaginary company fill one wall, lush photographs of characters from the show appear opposite, and sculptures associated with the group activate the floor space.

A Ship of FoolsBridge, Archival Pigment Print, 2013, (c) Kahn & Selesnick, Courtesy of artists and Yancey Richardson, New York

Truppe Fledermaus continues the duo’s efforts to address social and environmental issues with imagery steeped in eclectic fantasy. This tendency is best observed in the photographs included in the show titled 100 Views of a Drowning World, a dark nod to the “floating world” of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Unlike the vibrant scenes characteristic of their Japanese counterparts, the views documenting Truppe Fledermaus reveal soggy atmospheres in muted tones. Kahn and Selesnick’s world is saturated by whimsical characters that could well have crawled out of a Max Ernst painting onto the set of a Wes Anderson film.


Bridge, Archival Pigment Print, 2013, (c) Kahn & Selesnick, Courtesy of artists and Yancey Richardson, New York

The rounded tops and tempered contrast of the photographs lend an antique air to their presence in the gallery. They offer views of an imaginary past or a dystopian future where dapper gentlemen live in harmony with grotesque swamp creatures. Despite the apocalyptic undertones of the show, visitors can’t help leaving the space without a morbid wish that Truppe Fledermaus would visit a desolate landscape near them next.

Text by Cory Rice

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