David Hominal: PRICELESS / MASTERCARD

David Hominal: PRICELESS / MASTERCARD

kamel mennour, London

December 12 – January 25, 2020

Painting is first of all the liquid, aqueous material binding together the different fields of David Hominal’s practice, from performance to video, dance to sculpture. This is where he takes stock, sorts, and synthesises, but it is also where he covers over, a territory made up of a complex network of inhibitions. His disturbed, at times feverish paintings are haunted by the great historical questions of representation. Their presence is powerful, rehearsing all the grand traditions, from still life to abstraction, without, of course, ever reconciling them.

Recently, sunflowers, pineapples, onions, and finally faces have been appearing on the surface of his canvases. What emerges from the paint in the series being exhibited at kamel mennour in London are hands joined in prayer. As was already clear in his earlier series of masks, Hominal’s interest for the image makes short work of regimes of seeing, communication, and transmission. From religious tradition to emoticons, his totems are evocative of an emotive, hyper-presence of the image. In an incredibly gymnastic play between the long-past and the hyper-present, these hands are just as much Albrecht Dürer’s Praying Hands as those we add to our text messages to say ‘plz’ or ‘thnx’.

While such a tension is characteristic of David Hominal’s work in general, this is also one of his first ‘almost’ figurative series. And the ‘almost’ is important here because it is synonymous with resistance. Though the hands are a symbol of contemplation, Hominal is not at peace with painting. Ultimately, what interests him is doing, the gesture of painting—both on an historical scale, like a great repetition, and on an intimate scale, like an obsession. Copy, sequence, ritualise. NISSAN, GAZPROM, RESPECT, NO SUGAR, PRICELESS, MASTERCARD are all visual impressions, furtive images permeating us as we watch sport on TV, for instance. The title of the exhibition relates to its content like interference. The messages repeat over and over again like a song we can’t get out of our head. The praying hands are an archetype. They are universal images. Hominal is reaching for them through a form of pure cultural syncretism, a pure incarnation of representation, a pure contradiction. PRICELESS / MASTERCARD.

Born in 1976 in France, DAVID HOMINAL lives and works in Berlin. His work has been shown
in a large number of solo and group exhibitions in France, including the Palais de Tokyo and the Centre culturel suisse in Paris, the Consortium in Dijon, and Magasin in Grenoble; as well as abroad, including the Musée Jenisch in Vevey, the Centre d’édition contemporaine and the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, the Swiss Institute
and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, Fri Art in Fribourg, the Kunsthalle Bern, the Kunsthaus Zürich and the CAC–Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius.

© David Hominal. Photo. archives kamel mennour. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour, Paris/London

Richard Deacon: Deep State

Richard Deacon: Deep State

Lisson Gallery, London

20 November 2019 – 29 February 2020

“As a sculptor, I have always wondered what exactly is depth? It is shifting and ineffable. Perhaps all I can know is surface, the rest a fiction, a deep state that slips away from view.”

Richard Deacon presents his eleventh exhibition with Lisson Gallery, showing works incorporating steel, ceramics, clay, bent wood and ink on paper that evoke different senses – from memory and touch, to sight and movement. This new collection of sculptures, reliefs and drawings also inhabit different planes – from verticality to horizontality – all while shifting between two and three dimensions and passing from porosity to solidity, suggesting their fluid possibilities as either sites for bodily experience or spaces for contemplation and, as the title suggests, for deep dives into each object.

Among his major recent sculptures are the undulating, twisted forms of I Remember #5 (2018), Swell and Under the Weather #5 (both 2019). The complex arrangements of stainless steel housings and spiraling wooden beams in I Remember #5 are presented horizontally, suggesting the viewer walk along its length while following the trajectory of its delicately sinuous wooden lines. With every steamed wooden dowel ending at a different point in a tessellating grid of metal plates, there is an invitation to recall where each begins its journey and follow them to their conclusion. The upright form in pale bentwood, Under the Weather #5 (2019), represents the apotheosis of Deacon’s two-decade-long mastery of the various techniques involved in wood steaming, manipulation and construction, with only the most unobtrusive nodes of joinery completing the object’s soaring, shelter-like structure and revealing the techniques of its manufacture.

A series of ceramic pieces, another medium Deacon has long been associated with, likewise alternate between the vertical – for a number of glazed wall-based works, collectively titled Flat (2018-19,) that resemble lustrous abstract paintings embedded directly into the wall – and the horizontal, for dark clay plinths which sit somewhere between monumental earthenware, non-functional furniture and sculptural support. Indeed, Deacon has previously experimented with ceramics on an architectural scale for his frieze of 39 polychromatic sculptures on the façade of One Eagle Place in Piccadilly with Eric Parry Architects (2013) and has recently completed another major architectural collaboration with Serbian artist Mrdjan Bajic, to construct From There to Here (2006-19), a 200m pedestrian bridgeway over Belgrade’s Sava River connecting the Kalemegdan fortress with a towering sculptural form.

While the artist describes his own process as protean and not fixed: “sometimes it’s a consequence of accident and sometimes it’s a consequence of intention or past history and sometimes it’s a combination of all those things,” Deacon’s ability to translate between one type of material and one set of propositions to multiple others, has resulted in his own unique sculptural language – one that speaks simultaneously in different registers and communicates between industry and craft or between geometry and nature. “Changing materials from one work to the next is a way of beginning again each time – and thus of finishing what had gone before.”

Deacon’s linguistic twists and turns extend to his titles, as seen in the large floor-based work called Swell (2019), which consists of ideographic waves of steel, traversing the space like an ocean-bound liner. The exhibition title is indeed also a play on words, between the political inference of a ‘Deep State’ – the hidden and intersecting internal agencies that operate within governments – and his hard-won approach to revealing the internecine workings of each sculptural or imagistic form. His verbal approach to aesthetics is further explored in a new book being published to coincide with the exhibition, entitled ‘I wanted to talk about the future but I ended up thinking about the past’. First delivered as a lecture, this volume provides a historical sweep of the art of sculpture from Paleolithic handaxes to 3D printers, all while revealing some of Deacon’s own ideas on authorship, authenticity and appropriation.

RESURRECT, Quercus Robur, 1810-2019 / Rachael Louise Bailey & Johnny Woodford

RESURRECT, Quercus Robur, 1810-2019 / Rachael Louise Bailey & Johnny Woodford

Alice Black, London

16 November – 20 December 2019

Harbouring strong environmental underpinnings, ‘Resurrect’ is intended to shine a critical spotlight on the crucial role of trees in our time of climate crisis and on the nature of human intervention in the natural world.

Quercus Robur, 1810-2019 once stood on the edge of woodland in West Sussex, where starved of light it fell before its time. Discovered in the Spring of this year and with the agreement of the land-owners, Bailey and Woodford removed the 200 year old Oak, limb by limb, beginning the careful process of deconstruction and reconstruction.

Rachael Louise Bailey (b. 1975) lives and works between Kent and Brighton, UK. She studied at ‘Statuaria Arte School of Sculpture’, residency, Cararra, Italy (2004); ‘Direct Carving Stone and Wood’, Formation Professionnel-Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, France (2010-14); ‘Conception de jardin dans le paysage’, Formation Professionnel – Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage’, Versailles, France (2006-08). The genesis for Bailey’s work is in the exploration and transformation of overlooked or discarded material that is often deemed to be of little value or significance yet has long lasting environmental consequences. Through her manipulation of these materials, Bailey shines an unsparing spotlight on the unfortunate anthropocentric realities of our time. In 2019 Bailey won the Fondation Francois Schneider, Contemporary Talents International Art Award as well as the An Lanntair ‘Island Going Residency’ in the Outer Hebrides.

Johnny Woodford (b. 1962) studied at Brighton University with a BA in Fine Art (1985-1988). Since graduating, Woodford has worked primarily with wood. In 1994 he bought six acres of Sussex woodland which has been and remains the focus of his attention. When not working on the land he spends his time split between making sculpture and building structures. Work produced this year include a series of carved and burnt walls for the Andy Sturgeon garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and a puppet theatre commissioned by Cleve West for Christ church CE in south London.

All images > Courtesy of Alice Black, London and the artists

Benode Behari Mukherjee, After Sight

Benode Behari Mukherjee After Sight

David Zwirner, London

January 10 – February 22, 2020

A pioneering Indian modernist, Mukherjee blended imagery and iconography from Indian life with a signature visual style influenced by Indian, East Asian, and Western art practices and traditions. Mukherjee studied with the celebrated artist Nandalal Bose as one of the first students at the renowned Kala Bhavana, the fine-arts institute founded by the poet Rabindranath Tagore at Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, West Bengal. The curriculum of Kala Bhavana was structured similarly to that of the German Bauhaus (Tagore travelled to Europe often, and he visited the Weimar Bauhaus in 1921), with students encouraged to explore form and style in an open manner with various mentors. Rather than depicting mythological or nationalistic imagery, common themes and subjects among Indian artists at this time, Mukherjee examined nature and his immediate surroundings. He created works in a variety of media, from graphite drawings to wall frescoes, all of which exhibit a deeply modernist yet highly individualistic and contextually specific sensibility towards form, colour, and composition. As art historian Juliet Reynolds writes: ‘[Mukherjee’s] attempt… was to reconcile Indian folk and classical art with far-eastern calligraphic painting, European early-Renaissance conventions and modern idioms.’ After finishing his studies in 1925, Mukherjee joined the faculty at Kala Bhavana, becoming a major influence on subsequent generations of Indian artists. In 1936 and 1937, he spent time in Japan and China and was taken with the landscape and calligraphic traditions of those visual cultures. Born blind in one eye and myopic in the other, the artist lost his eyesight completely in 1957. Rather than ceasing to produce visual art, Mukherjee expanded his practice, continuing not only to create drawings but also to explore more tactile media, such as sculpture and especially collage.  

Benode Behari Mukherjee, Reclining Man, n.d. (detail). © Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation. Photo by Nemai Ghosh

On view will be a range of these late period collages. Evoking the style and format of Henri Matisse’s paper cutouts, Mukherjee’s collages are nevertheless thoroughly distinctive and emblematic of the artist’s own experience and style. He created these works by shaping and organising his figures through touch and deciding on and dictating specific colours for the compositions from memory. The collages also reveal how the artist continued, even after losing his eyesight, to depict subjects and imagery that he had encountered throughout his life—from street processions to Bengali theatre—all rendered from memory in a bold, joyous, and vibrant style. Reclining Man exemplifies Mukherjee’s sensibility. The work depicts a figure with orange skin wearing blue clothing and resting his head against his hand with his knees bent. Though presented in a natural pose, the figure’s body extends diagonally from one corner of the composition to the other, actively drawing the viewer’s eye across the surface of the collage. Pointed blue and red lines match the shape of the bent body, further reinforcing the contained energy within the work. Several collages are entirely abstract, and even in some of the figurative compositions, imagery tenuously balances between the formal components and the representational whole. Collage with Fish (1958) features elements of a traditional still life, yet they are rendered as simple geometric shapes and forms. Collage material fills negative space, visually and materially playing with figure-ground distinctions. Also on view will be a selection of the artist’s felt-tip pen and charcoal drawings. These works exhibit Mukherjee’s remarkable control and energy, underscoring his connection to his media and his ability to grasp spatial order and compositional balance through gesture and the movement of his pen, rather than sight. Emerging from the artist’s deep intuition and understanding of form, a series of dynamic, gestural lines become animals parading through space or figures strolling while holding umbrellas, among other subjects. Highly playful, inventive, and evocative, the works on view testify to the deep connection between Mukherjee and his craft. 

Jimmy DeSana and the Sex Appeal of the Inorganic

Jimmy DeSana and the Sex Appeal of the Inorganic

The bodies in Jimmy DeSana’s photographs are posed with objects. These objects are not simply props for human eroticism: rather, it seems as if the object is using the body for its own satisfaction, as if the bodies are not there for the sake of our enjoyment as viewers but rather for the things that are the agents of their poses.

Jimmy DeSana, Extension Cord, 1979

Sometimes the poses suggest the arched body of the hysteric in the photographs that were taken at the hospital of La Salpêtrière in Paris towards the end of the 19th century. What is uncertain and perhaps unknowable is the extent to which the supposed hysterics who were the subjects of these photographs staged their attacks for an audience, a master, or the camera. Who exactly is manipulating whom? DeSana’s photographs don’t quite equate to pornography or glamour shoots, nor to Warhol’s passive-aggressive manipulation of his subjects. It feels more as if the photographer has been invited in to commemorate some phantasy of the one who is posing or is working with a friend to do something a bit bad together. Rather than publicity or glamour, there is a sense of collusion in the privacy of the home or the apartment, with the effect that an imagined domestic ideal is disrupted.

Jimmy DeSana Gauze, 1979

In the classic Freudian account, the fetish is supposed to put a stop to the anxiety of castration, the eye halts on something adjacent to the lack, like hair or a shoe. This is to inscribe fetishism within a gender binary on the basis of having or not having. But what of a fetishism that doesn’t fit this model? A fetishism not predicated on lack but on the production of enjoyment in sameness? The objects in DeSana’s photographs are not occlusions of lack, not metaphorical but rather metonymic, together with bodies one thing beside another, one thing touching another. Caught, by the photograph, ​in flagrante​.

Jimmy DeSana Lipstick, 1985

DeSana’s photographs have tended to be seen in relation to the American archive of low grade 70s pornography, suburban self-portrayals, punk imagery and so on. But we could also place his work in the context of European surrealism, the tableau drawings of Pierre Klossowski, and above all the photographic scenes of Hans Bellmer’s doll. A moment involving some kind of perverse pleasure is frozen. What is the significance of this ‘freeze’? It is, surely, the moment of fascination when time becomes timeless. In traditional art the transformation of the temporal into the timeless is achieved through form. This idea is sometimes applied to sanctify the pornographic as art. However, this does not seem to be DeSana’s way. Rather, what we see is a frozen moment in a performance shared between bodies, clothes, prosthetics and objects.

Jimmy DeSana Purse, 1979

What justifies halting that moment rather than any other? It is, surely, fascination. It is the viewer who is bewitched and brought to a standstill ​by ​what is given to be seen. We realise that in such moments it is not so much information or knowledge that we want of the image, but that moment of fascination that interrupts the flow of the performance and rivets us. Think of the body of the sexually ambivalent young male florist in Rachilde’s novel ​Monsieur Venus (1884) that is initially draped with artificial flowers that he has made so skilfully. The eroticism is displaced to the inorganic object that mimics the organic. So when Raoule de Venerande touches the ‘golden floss’ of the ‘real’ hair on Jacques’ chest, it excites her just as if it were artificial.

installation view at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London

Some of DeSana’s photographs show scenarios with connotations of masochism. For Mario Perniola, writing on the novels of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch in his book ​The Sex Appeal of the Inorganic (2000, trans. 2004), ‘What masochism and neutral sexuality have in common is the will to give oneself absolutely as a thing that feels, the irresistible drive to establish a relation in which it is always possible to arouse and maintain sexual excitement.’ (p. 41) ‘Organic’ sex comes to an end, whereas ‘inorganic’ sex goes on forever. This is why DeSana’s photographs are not strictly speaking pornographic: they are not means to a masturbatory end. Their ‘timelessness’ is the forever of inorganic sex. This is the basis of the relation of bodies to things in the photographs. Perniola goes on: ‘In the look, in fact, the experience of clothing as body is prolonged, extended and radicalized in that of the body as clothing.’ (p. 46) Rather than the body coming to life in sex, it is sentient clothing that feels; rather than the things attached being extensions of the body, it is the body that is their extension, and that does their bidding — further, the body becomes thing in its desire to transcend the momentary in the very moment that is the photograph.

Michael Newman

Jimmy DeSana and the Sex Appeal of the Inorganic will be on view at Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London from 31 October 2019 until 1 February 2020

Doug Aitken: Return to the Real

Doug Aitken: Return to the Real

Victoria Miro presents Return to the Real, an exhibition of new works by Doug Aitken. Conceived as a unified composition of sound, light, form and movement, the exhibition explores our rapidly changing relationships to one another and the world around us in an age dominated by technology.

From 2 Oct to 20 Dec 2019 / VICTORIA MIRO / LONDON

‘We are living in a new era, one of complete connectivity, where screen space has become seemingly equal to the physical landscape. This surreal shift in evolution brings us into uncharted waters, a new frontier, one for which we are not fully prepared. These artworks question how we navigate a world of increasing speed and transition, the direction of where we can go and how we can confront the future.’

– Doug Aitken 

A starting point for this exhibition is the idea of the contemporary individual and the ways in which humans are continuously both in and out of sync. Diametrically opposed notions of connectivity and freedom, collectivity and isolation are highlighted, reminding us how this new frontier is being shaped and is transforming our lives in real time and, in many ways, defining our generation. The exhibition creates a fragmented narrative of today’s unprecedented digital landscape, in which artworks function like signposts, inviting the viewer to pause, stop and evaluate their surroundings. Traditional sculptural forms are transformed. In the ground floor gallery, a figure, crystallised in translucent acrylic, appears resting at a wooden table, shopping bags discarded on the floor, a phone just out of reach. Caught in the midst of a silent moment, this is not a heroic figure but a candid snapshot of an individual frozen as if time had stopped. From the hollowed core of the sculpture, light emanates and pulses in shifting colours, choreographed together with an original audio composition of layered vocals which spreads throughout the space. Surrounding the figure are several large lightboxes that reveal new and synthetic landscapes, in which repetition renders unfamiliar commonplace domestic imagery, such as beds and swimming pools. In another work, the wing of a plane extends towards the horizon in a manner that is both seductive and disorienting. This is a portrait of a modern landscape in transition, suspended between the physical world and the world of the screen.

In the first-floor gallery we see a young woman paused in an introspective moment, her form carved from Zebrino marble. Upon closer inspection we notice that the figure is split in half, its interior revealing a chamber of faceted mirror that causes reflected light to flow through and beyond the body. This luminous kaleidoscopic effect responds to the interplay of a dynamic light wall situated behind the sculpture. Flickering with the speed of the external world, yet held in a moment of quiet contemplation, the figure fluctuates between motion and stillness. This is a restless exhibition where diverse mediums merge together seamlessly. Minimal in design, several sonic sculptures hang from the ceiling. Composed of reflective steel chimes, they slowly rotate, playing music when activated. Within these works is housed a finely tuned musical scale allowing each sculpture to create continuously changing arrangements, while its mirrored surface abstracts its surrounding environment. On the terrace of the waterside garden is a freestanding sculpture which also features a number of mirrored chimes, each representing a different note on the musical scale, that gradually ascend and descend in a sequence of musical patterns. A living artwork, the sculpture creates hypnotic sounds as the wind moves through it and, at other times, falls into silence. It embodies the fluidity of time by creating an evolving experience, a soundscape in which harmonies are composed and recomposed anew, unique for each visitor.

Doug Aitken is an American artist and filmmaker. Defying definitions of genre, he explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. He participated in both the 1997 and 2000 Whitney Biennials, and earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999 for the installation electric earth. Aitken received the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, and the 2013 Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts. In 2016 he received the Americans for the Arts National Arts Award: Outstanding Contributions to the Arts. In 2017 Aitken became the inaugural recipient of the Frontier Art Prize, a new contemporary art award that supports an artist to pursue bold projects that challenge the boundaries of knowledge and experience to reimagine the future of humanity.  Aitken’s Sleepwalkers exhibition at MoMA in 2007 transformed an entire block of Manhattan as he covered the museum’s exterior walls with projections. In 2009, his Sonic Pavilion opened to the public in the hills of Brazil at the new cultural foundation INHOTIM. Aitken presented his large-scale film and architecture installation, Frontier, on Rome’s Isola Tiberina in 2009 and in Basel in 2010. Black Mirror featured a video installation and a live theatre performance on a uniquely designed barge floating off Athens and Hydra Island, Greece in 2011. Commissioned and produced by the LUMA Foundation in 2012, Altered Earth explored the ever-changing landscape of Arles, France through moving image, sound and architecture. Also in 2012, “SONG 1” wrapped the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC in 360-degree panoramic video projections, transforming the concrete exterior into an audiovisual spectacle. In 2013, Aitken created “MIRROR” at the Seattle Art Museum, which utilized hundreds of hours of footage changing in real time in response to the life around it, transforming the museum exterior into a living kaleidoscope.

Aitken curated Station to Station, which took place over three weeks in September 2013. A train, designed as a moving light sculpture, broadcast content to a global audience as it traveled from New York City to San Francisco making nine stops along the way for a series of happenings. A feature film and a book about the project were released in 2015. Station to Station next took over the Barbican Centre in London for 30 days in the summer of 2015, a month-long happening featuring over 100 artists, musicians, dancers, designers and other creative figures.  In September 2016, a major survey of Aitken’s work opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles. The survey exhibition subsequently traveled to The Modern, Fort Worth in May 2017. December 2016 marked the installation one of his most ambitious projects to date, a trio of Underwater Pavilions tethered to the seabed off the coast of Catalina Island, California. This project was followed in 2017 by Mirage, a site-specific sculpture that takes the form of a home completely covered in mirrors and set in the heart of the Californian desert. Mirage has subsequently been installed in Detroit, MI (2018) and is currently on view in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Launched in July 2019 New Horizon, a nomadic art installation accompanied by a series of live events and experiences, took place across the state of Massachusetts (12–28 July 2019), all centred around a mirror-surfaced hot air balloon and gondola that vividly contrasted with the natural settings of New England.Doug Aitken, Inside Out, 2019, installation view from Return to the Real at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London, 2 October – 20 December 2019 © Doug Aitken. Courtesy Victoria Miro

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye at Camden Arts Centre, London

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye at Camden Arts Centre, London

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye

5 July – 15 September 2019

Camden Arts Centre, London

This is the first UK exhibition of celebrated American painter Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007). The exhibition highlights a dramatic decade that saw Murray’s work dominate the art scene of 1980s New York. Her innovative paintings paved the way for a revival of the medium that included Julian Schnabel, David Salle and Anselm Kiefer. This landmark exhibition will focus on her vibrant, monumental, multi-panel and three-dimensional paintings and innovative works on paper from the 1980s and early 1990s. Absorbing influences from Arp to late Kandinsky, as well as her contemporaries — including Warhol and the Chicago Minimalists—Murray was part of a group of like-minded artists who rejected the hard-edged painting style of the previous generation in late 1960s New York.  On view are signature paintings including Wake Up, from 1981, featuring a shattering coffee cup across three canvases that plays between illusion and the literal. This use of domestic imagery—the focus in so many of her most celebrated works—led critics to brand her a “woman painter.” In response Murray said: “Cézanne painted cups and saucers and apples, and no one assumed he spent a lot of time in the kitchen.”

Elizabeth Murray, Wake Up, 1981, Oil on canvas (three parts), 111 1/8 x 105 5/8 x 3 3/4 in. (281.94 x 267.97 x 9.5 cm), Collection of the Murray-Holman Family Trust, courtesy Pace Gallery, New York. © The Murray-Holman Family Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS 2019
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The exhibition also includes Sandpaper Fate, from 1993, a wild, towering, and expressive work that combines figuration and abstraction. Neither works have been exhibited in Europe.

Timely and revealing this exhibition is a unique opportunity to see and reassess the exhilarating three-dimensional paintings from this influential but previously undervalued, artist.

Elizabeth Murray (b. 1940, Chicago; d. 2007, Washington County, New York) earned a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (1962) and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland (1964). Her work is held in over sixty public collections in the United States and has been the subject of over eighty solo exhibitions worldwide. Her retrospective, Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings, jointly organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center, MIT, Cambridge, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened in 1987, and travelled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Des Moines Art Center; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, closing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1988. In 2005, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a retrospective that travelled to Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain. Her work was featured at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007.

Murray was the recipient of numerous academic and institutional honours, including an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (1984), to which she was elected as a member in 1992. She was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting, New York (1986), and was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1999).

The Interaction of Colour at ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY, London

The Interaction of Colour at ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY, London

from 7 september to 26 october 2019

ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY,

London

Anni Albers | Josef Albers | Polly Apfelbaum | Rana Begum | Michael Craig-Martin | Carlos Cruz-Diez | Ian Davenport | Patrick Heron | Ellsworth Kelly | Sol LeWitt | Bridget Riley

In 1963 Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) published one of the most influential art and design books of the twentieth century, Interaction of Color, as a handbook and teaching aid for his experimental way of observing, studying and teaching colour. It was the culmination of his groundbreaking courses first begun at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and later at Yale, Connecticut, and was to have a marked effect on subsequent generations of artists. In his teaching and writing, Albers eschewed the historical approach to colour theory as a logical, formal scientific analysis, instead focusing on the unique behavioral properties of colour based on observation and practical application. For Albers, the nature of colour was an ever shifting paradigm, whose properties were relative and fluid.

Rana Begum No. 861, 2018
A set of 15 etchings withchine collé on Somerset and Canson Mi-Teintes paper
Paper 32.4 x 27.3 cm / Image 24.8 x 19.6 cm (each)
Edition of 20
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Albers radical teaching was to have a direct influence on the numerous artists who studied on his courses, but also came at a time when there was a wider discourse underway about the nature of representation. Geometric abstraction as a vehicle for exploring the relationship of colours was being practiced internationally by artists aligned to a diverse array of movements including Pop, Op, and Minimalism, and still is today by many contemporary artists. This exhibition traces a period of over 50 years and includes prints and drawings by artists from Josef Albers to Bridget Riley, which will be exhibited together with a new site-specific installation by Rana Begum.

Lucy Jones, Landscape and Inscape / Flowers Gallery, London

Lucy Jones, Landscape and Inscape / Flowers Gallery, London

Lucy Jones, Landscape and Inscape
Flowers Gallery, LONDON
23 May – 6 Jul 2019

British artist Lucy Jones is renowned for her raw, wild landscapes and distinctively provocative self-portraits, characterised by expressive brushwork and vibrant colour. Balancing an intricate rendering of line and space in her landscapes with the powerful simplicity of her portraits, Jones’s paintings conduct a journey through both interior landscapes and the external world beyond.

Lucy Jones, Hot Summer Sun, 2018 – Oil on canvas

Landscapes and Inscapes, an exhibition of new landscape and portrait paintings includes a portrait of artist Grayson Perry, commissioned by the Attenborough Arts Centre (University of Leicester) which will be displayed for the first time. The exhibition also coincides with a the publication of a new book, Awkward Beauty published by Elephant (23 May 2019). Awkward Beauty is the first publication to draw together both her portraits and landscape paintings from the past twenty-five years. In her self-portraits, (for example With a Handicap Like Yours…) Jones’s revealing and defiant portrayal of her own body addresses ideas of femininity, aging and disability. Both personal and political, they address both the fragility and strength of the body, and society’s way of viewing difference in others. In recent years, Jones has also turned her attention to creating portraits of other people, working with male subjects close to her.

Lucy Jones, A Slow Sluggish River, 2019

Writer and Art Critic Philip Vann has described Jones’s transformative vision of humanity as showing “the inextricable dignity and vulnerability of other people, friends, loved ones and the artist herself – explored with a rare, expansive clarity, vibrancy and originality”.

BARNABY BARFORD, ‘MORE MORE MORE’ / David Gill Gallery, London

BARNABY BARFORD, ‘MORE MORE MORE’ / David Gill Gallery, London

BARNABY BARFORD
‘MORE MORE MORE’

David Gill Gallery, London

22nd May – 22nd June 2019

David Gill Gallery announces a new body of work by Barnaby Barford, comprising two large-scale installations, three series of works on paper in charcoal, coloured pencil, and oil bar and pastel, and a black-and-white, time-lapse film. Barford continues his exploration of the politics of happiness and our incessant need for more, seen in The Tower of Babel, 2015 [Victoria & Albert Museum] and ME WANT NOW, 2016 [David Gill Gallery], but with a new source of inspiration – the apple – nature’s ancient, primary object onto which we have long projected our myriad fears and desires.

In mythology, art history and religious symbolism, this most humble of fruits contains all the dilemmas and dualities of the human condition, epitomised by Adam and Eve’s original ‘more’ moment in the Garden of Eden. The apple is innocence and experience, sin and redemption, death and resurrection, youth and decay, love and sexuality. These tropes are repeated in secular stories from William Tell to Snow White; and the apple tree is at the heart of Pioneer folklore, dubbed ‘the great American fruit,’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Apple Tree is Barford’s most theatrical work to date. Measuring 3m x 3m x 3m, with a trunk of gnarled, twisted steel that explodes into a canopy of looped plastic branches, like an airborne scribble, the tree resembles a child’s drawing and is hung with 92 bone china apples. ‘Activated’ when an apple is bought and snapped off the branch at its stalk (engineered in prototype nylon), the installation inveigles the apple-picker in a re-enactment of the fall of mankind.

Every apple is unique, hand-finished in oil paint in a rich, Disneyesque red, and slightly larger than life, enhancing an almost cartoonish tactility, exuding temptation. Each one bares a single word – chaos, courage, pizzazz, distraction, sovereignty, elitism, fame, truth, populism, sex – bringing to mind Medieval trees of virtues and vices, decorative diagrams that depicted a moral framework. Barford’s tree is a nod to contemporary issues with morality, but it is also informed by his trademark dark humour. As we prefix the words with ‘more,’ a reaction set-up by the title of the show, they are infused with an ominous insistence; our expectations are poignant, funny and troubling. In contrast to the seductive, fairy-tale quality of the ceramic apples, the second installation, Land of Hope and Glory, is a vast, wrinkled fruit, 1.8m x 1.8m x 2m, sculpted from high density foam, covered in fibre glass, with an oak stalk and a 3-D printed calyx. This apple is painted a youthful, pale green but is now on the turn. The use of Elgar’s 1902 anthem as the title is freighted with ironic nostalgia, but it is also a call to action. We see that the deeply creviced sphere is a brain, a planet, a memento mori. The urgency of this dilapidation is reiterated in Barford’s film, shot over 2 and a half months, of a real apple, scarified with the word ‘more,’ rotting imperceptibly, until the letters have become illegible.

Barford talks of an ‘atmosphere of compulsive longing for more that surrounds us, like a fog or an invisible cage,’ and expresses this in brightly coloured drawings of apples partially obscured by impenetrable fences of words. In another series, he draws a single fruit, floating in black charcoal on white paper, with an intensity achieved by layers of drawing and rubbing out – our repetitive desires short-lived but indelible. That Barford is able to find poetry in what he clearly regards as a crisis, speaks to his belief in the possibility of goodness and change. The power of our drive for more, which mitigates against happiness and threatens the future of the Earth, also propels us to extraordinary feats of achievement. ‘Like all my work, this show is a critique of society but people respond in very different ways. They might be touched by those words on the apples and happy to participate by activating the sculpture; we all need more empathy, more emotion and more community.’ There is also a welcome lack of prescription in Barford’s practice, a humility that compels him to examine society’s ills, short-comings and anxieties in order to reflect on his own.

All Images © Courtesy David Gill Gallery and the Artist


PUBLICATION LISTED IN THE ITALIAN PRESS REGISTER BY THE SASSARI COURT OF LAW WITH REGISTRATION NUMBER 447/2017.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: ALICE ZUCCA

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