Asja Jung: Mating Season

Image: Asja Jung, Neighbor detail), acrylic on canvas, 2007 /  ©Asja Jung

Image: Asja Jung, Neighbor detail), acrylic on canvas, 2007 / ©Asja Jung

Press Release / March 13 - April 12, 2008

Black & White Gallery // Chelsea is proud to present The Proper Animal - the spring’08 season-long multidisciplinary program comprised of three successive solo exhibitions. All three participating artists utilize highly original and sometimes disturbing animal iconography which inevitably brings ethical considerations into play. The program title addresses complex issues of animal propriety in the context of human-animal power relations. Whether each artist operates in an intuitive, sub-ethical way focusing on form rather than meaning remains an open question. 

In her solo debut exhibition, Asja Jung teasingly conspires with the animal to render human authority ridiculous. Her paintings of humanoid apes in heavily ornate environments present a meeting of human and animal wherein it is hard to establish what is happening. The figures appear strangers to their surroundings. Their own bodies are reminiscent of Simon Dykes’ character in Will Self’s novel “Great Apes” - a primatomorphoised protagonist who struggles with the horrifying delusion that he is really a human trapped in a chimp's body. This discomfort can be interpreted as menacing or suggest a playful exchange between the human and animal. Jung places the particular importance of “the look” of an animal’s eyes by skillfully interpreting the troubling or even accusatory power of the animal gaze.

Asja Jung is a native of Germany and currently lives & works in Astoria, Queens. Her education combines the study of art and plastination. Prior to earning a BFA degree in 2001 at the Academy of Art in Kiel, Germany, she studied varied methods of preserving and documenting the human and animal body at the University of Bochum in Bochum, Germany and at the Virchowsche Foundation in Berlin (1994-1997).