I’ve Only Got Eyes for You

New acquisitions by the collection

25.03.2023 - 14.01.2024
Opening: 24.03.2023, 6-9 pm

Artists: Jean-Marie Appriou; Kader Attia; Halil Balabin & Merav Kamel; Huma Bhabha; Miriam Cahn; Klára Hosnedlová; Brook Hsu; Anna Hulačová; Rashid Johnson; Melike Kara; Leigh Ledare; Jonathan Lyndon Chase; Kresiah Mukwazhi; Murat Önen; Anys Reimann; Pipilotti Rist; Amy Sillman; Theresa Weber; and Ambera Wellmann.


In its new exhibition, I’ve Only Got Eyes For You, the Philara Collection is pleased to present a selection of recent acquisitions. The artists featured use collage, painting, sculpture and photography for figurative representations that address both personal and wider societal issues. With and within these works, they explore and extend definitions of the portrait. Through moments of recollecting the past and looking ahead to the future, they help us navigate the present. The debate on our roles and self-location against the background of digital realities and social conditions is multi-layered and complex. The focus of the artists in the exhibition ranges across themes of visibility and representation, and discourses on decoloniality and post-humanity, meeting these challenges with images that seek to make our reality more bearable. Some works thus renegotiate issues of stereotypical gender perceptions, sexuality, power relationships, and experience of violence, while others pursue the quest for complex identity narratives that run counter to the images that surround us every day.


Most of the works in the exhibition were acquired in the last two years; they include work by established artists, such as Kader Attia, Huma Bhabha, Miriam Cahn, Pipilotti Rist and Leigh Ledare, alongside others by internationally active younger artists, including Jean-Marie Appriou, Halil Balabin & Merav Kamel, Kresiah Mukwazhi, and Ambera Wellmann. Artists who have recently featured at the Philara Collection and other exhibition venues in the Rhineland, such as Melike Kara, Anys Reimann, Murat Önen and Theresa Weber, are also represented, some with works never previously shown.


The exhibition title is taken from Pipilotti Rist’s 1996 edition of the same name, which also bears the parenthetical subtitle Pin Down Jump Up Girl. This work comprises a hologram photo of the artist herself, mounted on plexiglass and attached with a suction cup to the screen of a television. Here Rist offers a nod towards both the entertainment value of art and the conditions governing its production and collecting. The artist foregrounds her own self-representation, which for her is not merely a means of artistic production, but also speaks to her roles as subject in society, as woman, and as artist. The title, which closely echoes that of a song by composer Harry Warren and songwriter Al Dubin, made famous through hit versions by the Flamingos and Art Garfunkel, also has relevance for presentation of the collection. The canon of a collection of contemporary art open to the public must, of necessity, be accessible and expandable, while the need to take decisions inevitably means forgoing other interesting works. As Al Dubin, the Flamingos and Art Garfunkel sing, “Maybe millions of people go by / But they all disappear from view / And I only have eyes for you”.