Bortolami is pleased to announce Fortune, Jutta Koether’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, coinciding with a reprint of the artist’s 1987 novella f. On view from May 9 through June 6, 2015, this exhibition presents a new series of paintings that both reference and depart from the allegorical figure of Fortune’s wheel.(1)
Fortune is a continuation of Koether’s last two solo exhibitions in 2014; Champrovent at Reena Spaulings Fine Art in New York and Maquis at Galerie Francesca Pia in Zurich, Switzerland. Koether conceived of the installations in direct conversation with each gallery’s environs. Each series traces a circuitous path, casting a sidelong glance toward the unrealized goals and desires of past creators. The paintings do not occupy the space; they live through it. The paintings might be participants, responding to their surroundings as any viewer.
(1) The metaphor of the wheel of Fortune began with the Greeks, starting with Pindar’s Olympian odes in the fifth century, BCE. The literary allusions to the wheel began as a metaphor for the wandering soul, oscillating from a lower existence to a higher one, as a point on a spinning wheel will inevitably travel the circle’s circumference. The magic wheel appeared on Greek amphora and coins as early as the third century BCE. In the ninth century, during the Roman Empire, Fortuna the goddess became more present as shrines were built in her name. To the Romans, Fortuna was a goddess who absorbed all others—a goddess of the state and individual, of classes both high and low.
The wheel of Fortune became a far more common visual motif in the medieval age, increasingly ubiquitous and ominous. Appearing both delicately miniature in illuminated manuscripts and towering in the gleaming glass of cathedral windows, the wheel served as a constant reminder of Fortuna’s grasp on medieval denizens. Fortuna might also appear two-faced, Janus-like in her unpredictability. And she loomed large, dwarfing the poor souls strapped to her indifferent wheel. Each quarter of the wheel represented a stage; I shall reign, I reign, I have reigned, and I have no Kingdom. Merciless Fortuna was often depicted blindfolded and without Justice’s scale, impartial to what was right or fair. She favored no one, and her wheel’s stages suggesting the role of chance in time’s passage. A roll of the dice or a spin of the wheel determined the future, present, the past, and oblivion.
Artist: Jutta Koether
Venue: Bortolami, New York
Exhibition Title: Fortune
Date: May 9 – June 6, 2015
Text (press release) and images, provided by the event.
©Bortolami, New York