I hate painters.

Anna Martinez


Space/Void 2019.

New work by Berlin-based Katja Strunz and Indianapolis artist Anna Martinez - two artists whose work addresses dimensionality, culture, and constructs. Opening reception and artist talk moderated by Shelley Selim, design curtator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, on November 6, 2019. Presented by Indianapolis Contemporary in partnership with Ash and Elm Cider Co., Goethe Institut Chicago, and fabrication support by Ignition Arts, LLC. Exhibition photography by Anna Powell Denton.

Russian Constructivism is inarguably one of the most influential Western art movements of the 20th century. Its artists were committed to construction rather than composition, a truth to materials, and reflecting the disorienting changes brought about by modern life. In the words of El Lissitzky, one of the group’s most famous members: “We believe that the elements in the chemical formula of our creative work, problem, invention, and art, correspond to the challenges of our age.”

Over a century later, Constructivism has much to bear on contemporary life and artistic practice. Berlin-based Katja Strunz and Indianapolis-based Anna Martinez are two such artists whose work variously engage the movement’s legacies, updated for our current, and perhaps even more disorienting, moment.

Strunz takes on the spatial and temporal as key concepts in her work, with the physical act of construction and material truth as guiding principles. The folding and collapsing of her chosen medium — here, the bright, heavy metal bonnets of cars — point to Strunz’s long-standing interest in the inevitable fate of objects. The crumpled, near-total destruction of vehicular elements evidences a history of motion, accident, and causation that hurls the past forward into the present.

Martinez, meanwhile, focuses her attention on commodification and the mass consumption of objects. Her installations — or, late capitalist still lifes — are a palimpsest of the visual merchandising strategies embedded in retail displays. Engaging the histories of design, fashion, photography, and architecture, Martinez’s collages, sculptures, and installations are constructed through careful consideration of viewership, which is to say, consumership.

Through divergent strategies, Strunz and Martinez both participate in the discourse of our current moment––“the challenges of our age”––by producing work which deftly reflects the dynamism, anxiety, consumption, and destruction that we can’t seem to stop, or, at the very least, look away from. -Text by Elizabeth Smith.