NADJA VERENA MARCIN  |  The Whitney Houston BIennial
The all Women Biennial  |  March 19 - 29  |  chashama New York

New York (March 15, 2017) - Multi-disciplinary artist Nadja Verena Marcin's photographic work Bride (image above) and video / performance piece How to Undress in Front of Your Husband, will be featured in the 2017 The Whitney Houston Biennial: Greatest Love of Allthe all women biennial—which comes as a response to the awakening representation of women artists in major museums and galleries. To highlight female artists, curator and artist Christine Finley selected those from a varied range of geographic and cultural backgrounds, disciplines, methodologies, and generations. The show’s title not only playfully addresses the traditional (and concurrent) exhibit held at the Whitney Museum, but also honors a strong woman, five years since her untimely passing. Being held at chashama at XOCO 325 by DDG in New York, the exhibition opens Sunday, March 19 with a reception from 4-8pm, and runs through March 29.
Marcin's Bride marries the heavenly beauty of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia—the world’s largest and highest remote salt desert—with water, flooding the sky’s infinite reflection. The site's breathtaking beauty explains its use as a location for many international photographers—particularly Latin American wedding photographers. Marcin's breathtaking image unpacks this tradition. The bride stands in a lush, white wedding dress in the midst of a tinted lake, exalted inside of red water. Her colored dress expresses the existential aspects of femininity and female physicality, creation and fertility, guilt and suffering. As the origin of human life, the bride is characterized as a saint. Celebrated for her beauty, the assigned power converts her into an object. The holy becomes whore, and the bride, an economic commodity. Extravagant and kitsch in tone, the heavenly bride is so far over the top, that it points at an inherent contradiction. The bride, standing for family and a sense of pride and identity, is instead considered within the context of potential violence, as 90% of all marriages in Latin America are linked to physical violence. Marcin's striking image thus investigates the sacrament of as permit for this abuse.

The artist's performance and video How To Undress in Front of Your Husband is replicated from a 1960s ‘how to’ video, depicting the do’s and don’ts of female disrobing. Whereas the original video turns this quotidian action into a performance under an authoritarian male gaze, Marcin recreates the video, playing all of the characters herself in delightful self-awareness, disrupting the original ‘educational’ trajectory of this narrative, while highlighting the absurdity of its creation in the first place.

The video—part of an ongoing investigation by Marcin on the damaging effects of machismo-toned media representations—first appeared in her solo exhibition 
Cinema Pirata – How To Undress in Front of Your Husbandand received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Marcin's exhibition—covered by VICE Magazine in A Sexist 1960s Film Remake Rewrites Cinema History—considered the permitted roles and power dynamics in the production of mass media and film. Designed in collaboration with the architectural designer Terrence Schroeder, and housed within the confines of an historic feminist art space, the show also comprised Distribution Vehicle, in which Marcin's video works were screened inside the backseat of a station wagon—popping up around the neighborhood during Bushwick Open Studios—as a nod to Kunstraum’s bootleg video store (of which Marcin is also a founder). The jerry-rigged nature of the screening room was Marcin's humorously dark reference to the challenges that female filmmakers often face regarding the distribution of their work. As a gesture releasing the works from their potential patriarchal and capitalist constraints, nothing was exploited, sold, or purchased. Passers-by could only be spectators of the pieces. 

Often deflating the gendered hierarchies embedded within the film industry, much of Marcin's work reflects on the roots of our cultural behaviors, in an attempt to shift the roles and voices of the media that we currently consume. “At the core, I aim to express that the full world of gender and the breadth of its expression has the potential to exist within one person, and that person is also the almighty oppressor or oppressed—depending on how we want to see it. Just as authentic cinema comes from within a culture and not from outside, a genuine challenge to the patriarchal system needs to emerge also from the margins.” 

March 19 - 29, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, March 19, 4-8pm

325 West Broadway 

New York, NY 10013

Participating Artists
Marzena Abrahamik, Nick Alciati, Aurora Andrews, Storm Ascher, Amna Asghar, Karen Azoulay, Ingrid Baars, Isabelle Baldwin, Meegan Barnes, Chloe Bass, Rachelle Beaudoin, Elizabeth Bick, Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Genevieve Bormes, Mitsuko Brooks, Jude Broughan, Lauren Camarata, Maureen Catbagan, Tara L. Cavanaugh, Natalee Cayton, Alana Celii, Sophia Chai, Kiran Chandra, Shahrzad Changalvaee, Jesse Chun, Maxi Cohen, Liz Collins, Daryl Daniels, Desiree Des, Cat Del Buono, Patricia Domínguez, Liz Dosta, Jessie Edelman, Melissa Eder, Ari Elefterin, Zoe Elefterin, Sessa Englund, Deanna Erdmann, Florencia Escudero, Gianna Leo Falcon, Caroline Falby, Gianna Leo Falcon, Adriana Farmiga, Angel Favorite, C. Finley, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Becky Flanders, Britta Fluevog, Lucy Fradkin, Mary Goldthwaite, Daniela Gomez, Christina Graham, Sophie Grant, Kira Nam Greene, Dana Grossmann, Megan Hays, Clarity Haynes, Patrice Helmar, Sarah Heinemann, Haley Hughes, Lorra Jackson, Emily Janowick, Robin Kang, Miatta Kawinzi, Ambre Kelly, Jenny Kemp, Sylbee Kim, Orrie King, Amy Khoshbin, Rya Kleinpeter, Dominika Ksel, Elana Langer, Kristina Lee, Phoebe Legere, Mia Legg, Alexandra "Sasha" Lerman, Liz Ligouri, Natalie Lomonte, Marissa Long, Tora López, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Nadja Verena Marcin, Nicole Maloof, Maripol, Chanel Matsunami Govreau, Saira McLaren, Glendalys Medina, LuLu Meng, Qiana Mestrich, Tracy Molis, Sharon Molloy, Linda Montano, Sarah Moran, Gala Mukomolova, Jasmine Murrell, Qinza Najm, Amanda Nedham, Alex Nuñez, Alexis O'Hara, Keri Oldham, Nasrah Omar, Francena Ottley, Juliana Paciulli, Megan Pahmier, Valincy-Jean Patelli, Amanda Turner Pohan, Heather Powell, Tamika Rivera, Michelle Rogers, Kate Rubens, Katie Rubright, Doraelia Ruiz, Nomi Ruiz, Victoria Sambunaris, Rachel Schmidhofer, Eddy Segal, Salpy Semerdjian, Talia Shulze, Lauryn Siegel,  Susan Silas, Tabitha Soren, Maria Stabio, Tara Strongosky, Maureen St. Vincent, Constanza Alarcon Tennen, Karen Tepaz, Katie Urban, Gabriela Vainsencher, Beka Venezia, Margeaux Walter, Anastasia Warren, Nichole Washington, Lauryn Welch, Saskia Wilson-Brown, Suzanne Wright, Shaina Yang, and more…



German-born artist Nadja Verena Marcin lives and works in New York. In her performance-based work, Marcin examines the constructed persona, looking at the way the artist is an implicit figure. By creating a “theater of cinema” in which the audience can be immersed, Marcin brings awareness through a hyperbolic interpretation of relatable scenarios, enacting symbolic actions, catalyzing the visibility of hidden codes. Her work appropriates familiar imagery, and mirrors the ambiguities of human behavior and psychological mechanism. Marcin graduated from the Visual Art Department of New Genre, School of the Arts at Columbia University, New York in 2010, after obtaining a Diploma of Fine Arts from the Department of New Media at Academy of Fine Arts Münster. She has taught and lectured at P.I. Arts Center, New York, City College of New York and Brooklyn College. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Abrons Art Center, New York; Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow; Human Resources, Los Angeles; ZKM- Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Middle Gate Geel’13, Belgium; Dortmunder Kunstverein; VOLTA 9, Basel; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; amongst many others. She has received grants, residencies, and prizes such as the Fulbright Award; DAAD Grant; Int. Artist Career Development Grant, Artworks Int; Film Production Grant, NRW Film-und Medienstiftung; Prize for ‘Art and Language,' Kunststiftung Sparkasse UnnaKamen; ISCP Residency; Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; Arbeitsstipendium, Kunststiftung Bonn; and Franklin Furnace Grant.


IMAGES, top to bottom: Nadja Verena Marcin, Bride, 2015, C-Print, 41 x 31 in. / 105 x 79 cm.; Stills from How to Undress in Front of Your Husband, 2016, Video/Performance, 13 min, 4K digital cinema. All images copyrighted © Nadja Verena Marcin.

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