Jonathan Apelbaum | The queer last Supper
About the exhibition
Jonathan Apelbaum on his exhibition concept
The idea of this multimedia installation, in cooperation with sound designer Davide Serpico, first came to me as I thought about ways to integrate the audience into my world. I am fascinated by the idea of dissolving the boundary between the viewer and the work. My performance focuses on the intersection of berlin queer culture, gender and sexual identity. I draw inpiration from my personal experience in the Berlin’s queer scene and aim to bring this perspective to a more diverse art scene.
To start this project I developed a performance in which I invited people I met in clubs over the past years, people that I wanted to share personal ideas with and people I wanted to get to know deeply. The club culture of Berlin has encouraged me to challenge social and gender normativity and I wanted my studio to become an extension and a sort of refuge of this culture. I want to bring the powerful moments of sexual bonds and idenity exploration that present inside clubs to an artisic space.
The compleate project is meant to explore personal memories about my own identity as well as the identity of others. I conduted a series of interviews with friends where I asked them about their lives, sexuality, and dreams. From these conversations I painted their lives in text and pictures all over their naked bodies. I documented the proceses with an analog photoshoot aiming to create high quality images that invite the viewer to see the subjects in an exposed and confronting manner. At the end of the shoot all of the ink will be removed from the bodies except for one, which will stay in the participant’s body permanently.
I used these photos to create a series of cognitive paintings. Layer after layer of paint I used the images of the bodies as well as thier stories to create depth filled paintings communicating pain, growth, sex, families, trama and hope in the color coded language of oil painting. These paintings form a cube that invites the audience to become part of the artwork and view the complicated layers of the paintings.
Credits and thanks
Artistic assistant: Sara Matarozzi
Studio Manager: Eleonor Hicks
Film and photography: Charlie Forster
Artistic Assistant: Claudia Sarmiento Santana
Software development and studio partner: Thore Bartholomäus
Communication and studio partner: Odile Breffa