Frieze Foundation

Mika Rottenberg

Original 1886 packaging of the ‘Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Fertilizer’
Photographer unknown

Mika Rottenberg

Cartier Award 2006
Chasing Waterfalls: The Rise and Fall of the Amazing Seven Sutherland Sisters, Part 1

‘In 1938, a fire struck a mansion near Niagara Falls. The fire not only obliterated an historical landmark but also destroyed the recipe to the greatest hair tonic ever made. The mansion was home of the Seven Sutherland Sisters, who in the late 1800s built a fortune on their unique anti-baldness cure. Their story, an embodiment of the American dream, was like none other: laboring as farm girls in the day and cultivating their hair and musical talents at night, it wasn’t long before the Sutherlands were performing on Broadway and touring the globe with P.T. Barnum. The wealth of hair adorned by the sisters, collectively totaling 37 feet, drew comparisons to their sibling in nature, Niagara Falls, often referred to as the eighth Sutherland sister.’

Mika Rottenberg, with Brandon Stickney, 2006

Mika Rottenberg’s witty and absurd video installations often feature women of extreme physical appearance placed in mundane working environments. Ranging from an assembly line of incredibly large women who spend their days transforming red finger-nail clippings into maraschino cherries, to the packaged perspiration of a female bodybuilder, Rottenberg’s work looks at identity, economy and bodily perception.

Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976) is a New York–based artist.In 2006 she exhibited a solo project at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and recent group exhibitions include ‘Greater New York’, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2005) and ‘Uncertain States of America’, which originated at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. Rottenberg was the first recipient of the Cartier Award, which was her first exhibition in the UK.

Mika Rottenberg presented a work inspired by the Seven Sutherland Sisters.

The Cartier Award 2006 selection committee was:

Hervé Chandès, director, Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Karin Eklund, director, Studio Programme, Delfina Studio Trust, Roman Ondák, artist and Polly Staple, director, Frieze Projects.

The Cartier Award, for emerging artists living outside the UK, was a major initiative in collaboration with Gasworks and sponsored by Cartier.

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