press release

VW (VeneKlasen/Werner) is proud to announce "Teatr Laboratorium", a project by New York artist Spencer Sweeney (b. Philadelphia, 1973).

From 13 March Spencer Sweeney will inhabit the gallery, transforming the space into a workshop, laboratory, studio and stage. Collaboration and experimentation are the hallmarks of Sweeney's multidisciplinary work. Initiated by the artist, but never fully under his control, "Teatr Laboratorium" is an ongoing project comprised of painting, sculpture, video, music, drama, "happenings" and more. It expands a project begun last fall at Gavin Brown's enterprise in New York. The seemingly disparate elements explored there by Sweeney and his collaborators comprised an evolving "play in three acts", ultimately forming the basis of "Teatr Laboratorium". At VW the project culminates in a rock opera performed in the gallery 23 April.

"Teatr Laboratorium" borrows its name from the radically innovative "theater laboratory" of Jerzy Grotowski, the highly experimental Polish director whose groundbreaking theater work in the 1960s redefined our concepts of performance and creativity. Like Grotowski, Sweeney aims "to tear away the masks behind which we hide daily", allowing the artist and the audience to reach a deeper level of experience. Sweeney's "Teatr Laboratorium" lays bare the creative act, in real time, embracing both the pleasures and pains of the creative process. A dizzying array of sources and referents inform "Teatr Laboratorium", from The Tibetan Book of the Dead to the theories of Douglas R. Hofstadter; from Artaud's "Théâtre de la Cruauté" to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"; from Jean Cocteau to Lou Reed. All is fair game for Sweeney, who trusts intuition above all and who holds faith in the ineffable spark of inspiration which is the source of any creative act.

"Teatr Laboratorium" is Sweeney's first solo exhibition in Germany. Recent exhibitions include Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; and Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco. Sweeney was included in "That Was Then...This Is Now" at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in 2008, and he participated in "Day for Night", the 2006 Whitney Biennial. He lives and works in New York City.

On April 3rd Spencer will perform with Andrew W.K. at VW and on April 23 Endless Boogie will give a concert. Performances are expected throughout the run of "Teatr Laboratorium" and visitors to the gallery are encouraged to check often for updated event information.

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Spencer Sweeney
"Teatr Laboratorium"