For his first solo show at Nosbaum Reding, Mike Bourscheid (born in 1984, lives and works in Luxembourg and Vancouver, Canada) presents a series of installations, drawings and photograms with hints of an equestrian theme: saddle, harness and helmet take centre stage in a setting reminiscent of a medieval tournament, whose putative winner will take home a crown that doubles up as a vase – a nod to the artist’s recent exhibition Thank you so much for the flowers in the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.
But as the exhibition title in the form of an anagram (and palindrome!) suggests, Bourscheid likes to upend the conventional order of things. Donning a lemon-coloured leotard, his champion rider is cast in the dubious role of the horse, or the flag-bearer at best – a consenting victim rather than fearless competitor in a contest whose rules elude him (and us). Referring to the appendages and prosthetics in the artist’s work, Kimberly Phillips, curator at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, reminds us that in his performances, ‘these costume-objects often become actors in their own right, functioning simultaneously as ritualistic semaphores and as theatrical props.’
A master of red herrings and double-entendre, Bourscheid here locates male identity somewhere between sadomasochistic contraption and comical quest for the Holy Grail. For those who doubt the outcome of this solitary duel, the photograms illustrate the fate awaiting its sceptical protagonist: all that remains is the protective coat of mail, a seemingly random concatenation of rings whose spectral gravitas is undermined by the white shadow of the shoes worn by the unfortunate gentle man when he kicked the bucket.
As part of the exhibition, the artist will present a new performance entitled no lemon, no melon during the opening on Thursday 22 February 2018, and during the ‘Midi de l’Art’ guided tour by the Friends of the Museums Luxembourg on Friday 23 February 2018.
Mike Bourscheid, no lemon, no melon, 2018
Copyright Mike Bourscheid