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

Jannis Kounellis at Almine Rech Gallery, London

Jannis Kounellis at Almine Rech Gallery, London

Jannis Kounellis
Almine Rech Gallery
London, Grosvenor Hill

Almine Rech presents a new exhibition of works by Jannis Kounellis. This is the Artist’s first exhibition in the United Kingdom since his passing, in February 2017. Comprising works Kounellis made between 1960 and 2014, the exhibition intends to act as an extensive overview of the Artist’s career.

Jannis Kounellis moved to Rome in 1956, where he enrolled at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. While still a student, Kounellis was given his first exhibition, L’Alfabeto di Kounellis, at the “Galleria La Tartaruga”. There he exhibited monochrome works featuring large stencilled letters. Belonging to this series is Untitled, 1960, a work consisting of the letter Z repeated three times over. Referencing both the alphabetical signifiers and typefaces used on merchant ships for packaged cargo, Kounellis’ Alfabeti (Alphabet Paintings), are also concerned with the street signage the artist would have been exposed to in Rome, as can be noted in Remo, 1961. Decontextualising a letter, number or symbol through isolation, and placing it onto a white support, Kounellis’ intention was to focus the viewer’s attention on these marks, as if, by populating a surface, they were floating away, being cast adrift. In 1963, as the Alfabeti had become a recognised style, Kounellis began working with landscapes, and drawing his reference points from the physical world. This can be seen in Black Rose, 1965-66, a seminal work painted with Ducotone, a water-based wall paint, on large canvas measuring over two metres in length and width. Black Rose, 1965-66 emerges as a pivotal example of Kounellis’ role as a founding father of Arte Povera. Its organic shape is presented in matt black, reflecting Kounellis’ sculptural practice in painterly form. Compositionally, the work draws from the alchemical classification of elements, namely of fire, as well as demonstrating Arte Povera’s drive to abandon colour, perceived by Kounellis as alien to the context of post-war Italy.

Acting as a testimony to Jannis Kounellis’ interest in everyday materials to denote natural elements, Untitled, 1991, is made out of a lightbulb, steel and lead, the first and oldest metal in alchemy, and a symbol of purification. In a dialogue with ancient scientific teachings and centuries-old systems of belief, Kounellis can be observed transcribing these cultures into his own visual language, one which places him in direct conversation with artists such as Cy Twombly, Joseph Beuys, Giuseppe Penone, amongst many others who, with him, had worked since the 1950s on creating a new approach to artmaking, following the Second World War. Characteristic of Kounellis’ installation practice, two steel and coal works from 2013 and 2014 demonstrate the artist’s exploration around the weight of energy points and how these may impact space. Indeed, the piles of coal framed by Kounellis’ identifiable steel supports also function as a link to notions of smoke, an ever-present subject in his practice, as well as fire and industry. A link can also be seen between these two works and Kounellis’ personal relationship with the sea and with peripatetic travelling, specifically the Homeric notion of Nostos, the journey of a hero returning home by sea from Troy. Throughout the artist’s career, references abound to his birthplace, the Greek port of Piraeus, the former heart of the Greek shipping industry, and to transportation vessels, with Kounellis emerging as an Odysseus-like figure, on a constant voyage. The exhibition is completed with a further three works from 2014. Featuring jute, red oil and painted eggshell respectively, these artworks are concerned with the juxtaposition of precariousness and fragility with the robust iron surface which they are each comprised of. These works, which are amongst Kounellis’ final ones conjure ideas of creation and destruction, and see the artist continue in his pursuit for art in everyday life.

Jannis Kounellis (b. 1936, Piraeus, Greece, d. 2017, Rome, Italy) is regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-war art. With a practice spanning over sixty years, Kounellis is often referred to as one of the forefathers of the Arte Povera movement – one that arose in the 1960s and played a central role in redefining artistic practice with radical and highly original sculpture, performance and installation. Influenced by artists such as Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline, and both within the context of Arte Povera and outside of it, throughout his career Kounellis interrogated and extended the boundaries of contemporary art, and in particular the possibilities of painting. Although most of his works are three-dimensional and comprised of ready-made objects (and sometimes even living things – horses, birds and humans), Kounellis always insisted he was a painter first and foremost. Works by Jannis Kounellis can be found in collections such as the Tate Modern, London, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA, New York, and Guggenheim, New York, to name but a few. Throughout his life, Kounellis was the subject of major retrospectives, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1980, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago in 1986, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Madrid, in 1996. Kounellis presented at international exhibitions such as the Paris Biennale in 1967 and in 1969, the Istanbul Biennial in 1993, the Sydney Biennial in 2008, and the Venice Biennale, where his work was exhibited nine times, in 1972, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1993 and 2015.

All images Courtesy  © Almine Rech Gallery

Chiharu Shiota, Me Somewhere Else / Blain|Southern, London

Chiharu Shiota, Me Somewhere Else / Blain|Southern, London

28 Nov 2018 – 19 Jan 2019
Blain|Southern, London

Based in Berlin, Shiota (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan) is best known for her immersive installations, such as The Key in the Hand, with which she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Using thread to ‘draw’ in three dimensions, she weaves intricate networks of yarn into and across spaces. Personal experiences are the starting points for her works, which explore the relationships between the body, memory, life and death.

The titular installation Me Somewhere Else continues Shiota’s exploration of thread as a medium but hereshe utilises the material in a markedly different way, using her fingers to knot red yarn into a vast net.Suspended from the gallery ceiling, the net is a billowing mass which rises from a pair of feet that rest onthe floor below. Cast from the artist’s own feet, their solidity and permanence contrast with the usuallyephemeral nature of her installations. The colour of blood, the red yarn is laden with symbolism, for the artist it alludes to our connectedness to each other, the interior of the body and the complex network of neural connections in the brain.

Complex questions arise around the relationship between the body and the mind; neurons firing andcausing the body to react before a conscious decision been taken has implications for cognisance. With Me Somewhere Else Shiota seeks to examine the idea that human consciousness could exist independently of the body, somewhere beyond – somewhere else. ‘I feel that my body is connected to the universe but is my consciousness as well? When my feet touch the earth, I feel connected to the world, to the universe that is spread like a net of human connections, but if I don’t feel my body anymore where do I go? Where do I go when my body is gone? When my feet do not touch the ground anymore.’

Elsewhere in the exhibition the geometry of new rhomboid sculptures echoes that found within her web installations, where seemingly haphazardly interlaced strands are in fact a network of triangles. Two dimensional canvas works further explore the artist’s use of thread as a medium. Shiota studied painting early in her education but restricted by the use of canvas and paint, she began using her own body in performance pieces, and later began to use thread as a mode for formal and conceptual expression. It allowed her to remove her physical presence yet still address the ideas that are central to her practice. Her canvases can be viewed as this journey coming full circle.

Images > Chiharu Shiota, Me Somewhere Else, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Blain|Southern. Photo Peter Mallet

Gordon Matta-Clark, Works 1970–1978 / David Zwirner / London

Gordon Matta-Clark, Works 1970–1978 / David Zwirner / London

Until 21 Dec 2018
David Zwirner / London

David Zwirner presents an exhibition of works dating from 1970 to 1978 by Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978). Marking the first solo presentation of his work at the London gallery, the exhibition will include key examples from the artist’s short but prolific career, including films, photographs, sculptures, and works on paper that illustrate his complex engagement with architecture and the many ways in which he reconfigured the spaces and materials of everyday life.

Gordon Matta-Clark creating Garbage Wall under the Brooklyn Bridge in 1970. © The Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark

A central figure of the downtown New York art scene in the 1970s, Matta-Clark pioneered a radical approach to art making that directly engaged the urban environment and the communities within it. Through his many projects—including large-scale architectural interventions in which he physically cut through buildings slated for demolition—Matta-Clark developed a singular and prodigious oeuvre that critically examined the structures of the built environment. With actions and experimentations across a wide range of media, his work transcended the genres of performance, conceptual, process, and land art, making him one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. As Roberta Smith notes, Matta-Clark ‘used his skills to reshape and transform architecture into an art of structural explication and spatial revelation.’

A year after moving back to New York City from Ithaca, New York, where he received a degree from Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Matta-Clark executed the first Garbage Wall (1970), a temporary, stand-alone unit constructed with trash sourced from the streets. The artist intended for this wall to be rebuilt and adapted to different locations by using found garbage from the specific city in which it is made. Emerging out of his observations of, and response to, New York’s infrastructural decline and growing homeless population during the seventies, the work—executed three times during his lifetime, in addition to posthumous iterations—is representative of the artist’s overlapping commitment to art, architecture, activism, and civic engagement that was very much ahead of his time.

Using his architectural training, Matta-Clark engaged with architecture as a sculptural medium, creating new structures from buildings that were often neglected or to be torn down. His activity in the early 1970s included some of his first architectural cuts, among them Claraboya (Skylight) (1971)—represented here by a set of photographs documenting the project from various vantage points. In this project, he carved a square hole from the men’s bathroom on the basement level of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile, all the way up to the roof, installing mirrors throughout the length of the incision to bring light into the otherwise darkened space. This process of subtraction brought the outside world in and would become one of the artist’s primary working methods, informing significant future projects such as Bronx Floors(1972/1973), Splitting (1974), Bingo (1974), Day’s End (1975), Conical Intersect(1975), Office Baroque (1977), and Circus (1978).

Films and photographs are among the only surviving records of Matta-Clark’s ephemeral projects; they were used by the artist not only for documentation, but also as an essential means to explore some of the major ideas underpinning his practice. On view will be a selection of newly remastered films by Matta-Clark documenting some of his seminal works, including Splitting, in which he made a vertical slice through a suburban home slated for demolition in Englewood, New Jersey.

In 1973, Matta-Clark witnessed a growing graffiti culture in New York; enlivened by the changing urban environment and the proliferation of street art, he began photographing tags throughout the city, selectively hand-colouring some of the resulting prints to bring out the vibrancy of the graffiti. Matta-Clark continued to experiment with colour in his photographs later toward the end of his career, making large-format Cibachrome prints, then a relatively new process made from colour transparencies, which he favoured for its deeply saturated hues. Cutting up and collaging 35-millimetre slides, which he then enlarged, gave the artist the opportunity to express in more detail notions of scale and perspective and to describe the vertiginous instability that often resulted from his architectural cuts.

As with his photographs, Matta-Clark used paper as both a material for drawing and a surface for cutting. His energetic drawings of trees and arrows, some of which will be on view, illustrate his interest in imagining natural alternatives to the urban landscape and relate to his broader interest in creating ‘breathing cities’ in treetops as well as below ground. As Elisabeth Sussman notes, ‘his was a life of intense creative energy directed at changing the surrounding environment, at expanding the imaginative possibilities of the places and the conditions in which we live our lives.’2 With his Cut Drawings, Matta-Clark physically cut through stacks of paper, cardboard, or gesso, miming his signature approach to buildings. Rethinking architecture and urban planning through the medium of paper, as well as films, photographs, sculpture, and performance, Matta-Clark set out to address the needs of communities, and through a systematic process of dismantling, suggest alternatives to the built environment.

1 Roberta Smith, ‘Back in the Bronx: Gordon Matta-Clark, Rogue Sculptor’, The New York Times (January 11, 2018), accessed online.
2 Elisabeth Sussman, ‘The Mind Is Vast and Ever Present’, in Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure, ed. Elisabeth Sussman. Exh. cat. (New York and New Haven, Connecticut: Whitney Museum of American Art and Yale University Press, 2007), p. 13.

Small is Beautiful: the 36th edition of the annual exhibition at Flowers Gallery in London

Small is Beautiful: the 36th edition of the annual exhibition at Flowers Gallery in London

29 November 2018 – 5 January 2019
Flowers Gallery / London

Flowers Gallery announce the 36th edition of the annual Small is Beautiful exhibition.

Julie Cockburn, Wobble 3, 2018, hand embroidery on found photograph, 17.2cm x 12.2cm. © Julie Cockburn, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York

Small is Beautiful was first established at Flowers Gallery in 1974, presenting works by selected contemporary artists at a fixed scale, each piece measuring no more than 7 x 9 inches (18 x 23 cm). On display will be works by more than 100 British and international artists, offering a rare opportunity to purchase smaller pieces by well-known names and discover new talents working across a range of media. This year’s edition will include works by celebrated gallery artists, with examples including paintings by Tom Phillips RA and the late abstract painter Jack Smith, dating from the 1970s. Alongside, will be works on paper produced this year by British Pop Artist Derek Boshier (now living and working in the USA), from a series titled ‘Donald Trump Says…’. Artists selected to participate in Small is Beautiful for the first time include Alice Irwin, a recent MA graduate in printmaking from the Royal College of Art, whose sculptures and prints were displayed in a solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park earlier this Autumn. Also on view will be works by two artists from Flowers Gallery’s 2018 Artist of the Day programme, including original miniature tapestries with hand embroidery by Charlotte Edey, and photographs by Clare Price, coinciding with her solo exhibition Fragility Spills, at ASC Gallery, London.

Martin Creed / Toast at Hauser & Wirth / London

Martin Creed / Toast at Hauser & Wirth / London

30 Nov 2018 – 9 Feb 2019
Hauser & Wirth / London

Martin Creed has become known for hugely varied work which is by turns uncompromising, entertaining, shocking and beautiful. The exhibition “Toast” at Hauser & Wirth London includes new sculpture, painting, drawing, tapestry, video, live action and music.

Work No. 3071 Peanut Butter On Toast Martin Creed 2018 Patinated bronze, gold 3.8 x 6.5 x 8 cm / 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 3 1/8 in © Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018

Creed’s many films and videos, including most recently ‘Work No. 2811: What the fuck am I doing?’ (2017), ‘Work No. 2656: Understanding’ (2016), and his infamous ‘Work No. 610: Sick Film’ (2006), a film of people being sick, shot elegantly on 35mm film.

Music, talks and theatrical presentations are an important element of Creed’s work. These include ‘Words And Music’, his improvised one-person show which ran at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017, and frequent concerts and recordings – such as the album ‘Thoughts Lined Up’ (Telephone Records 2016) – and several orchestral pieces: ‘Work No. 1375’ (2012), commissioned by London Sinfonietta, and most recently ‘Work No. 3025’ (2018), for String Quartet, commissioned by David Roberts Art Foundation.

The frequently exhibited balloon sculptures, filling half the air in a room, enjoyed by children and adults alike. The first from the series was ‘Work No. 200: Half the air in a given space’ (1998).

Creed’s music for the opening of the London Olympics, ‘Work No. 1197: All the Bells in a Country Rung as Quickly and Loudly as Possible for Three Minutes’ (2012), made with the participation of people country-wide on the morning of the Olympic opening ceremony (even Big Ben joined in).

The much-loved Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh, a public staircase joining two streets made with more than a hundred different types of marble, ‘Work No. 1059’ (2010). There are a number of other Creed marble floors, including at the Jumex Museum, Mexico City ‘Work No. 1051’ (2013) and at Sketch restaurant in London, ‘Work No. 1347’ (2012).

His array of reassuring signs saying EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, currently installed in Edinburgh and London (Tate Modern) UK, Christchurch NZ, Detroit MI, Vancouver BC, and now also in Doha QA.

And his spectacular spinning monuments such as ‘Work No. 1357: MOTHERS’ (2012) (Fort Worth USA) and ‘Work No. 2630: UNDERSTANDING’ (2016) (New York USA), commissioned by Public Art Fund.

‘Work No. 850’ (2008), in which athletes sprinted through Tate Britain every one minute.

‘Work No. 409’, Creed’s popular Singing Lift which goes ‘Ooh’ going up and ‘Aah’ coming down, on show in the UK at The Royal Festival Hall in London, Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, and also at Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven NL.

‘Work No. 1020’ (2009), a dance work commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, which involves classical dancers and music played by Creed and his band.

Images > Installation view, ‘Martin Creed. Toast,’ Hauser & Wirth London, 2018 © Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018


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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