Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris

PERROTIN, Paris – Rue de Turenne

29 August – 10 October 2020

For his second exhibition at Perrotin in Paris, Izumi Kato has brought together an assembly of strange creatures so diverse that it seems as though an entire macrocosm has been summoned to bear witness to the complexity and beauty of the worlds he explores.

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Exhibition view
Courtesy of Perrotin.

The Japanese artist presents here a diversity of forms and techniques that testify to the complexification of the supernatural pantheon that he has been developing for almost two decades.

When describing the work of Izumi Kato (born in 1969, Shimane Prefecture, Japan), the first thing that inevitably comes to mind are large-eyed humanoid forms with natural protuberances, in wood, canvas, or soft vinyl. On first impression, his proliferation of strange creatures, with their variable sizes, the curious fact that none of them have feet, seem to belong to aliens. It is difficult to say whether they are hostile or benevolent.

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Courtesy of Perrotin.

2020 is the first time in a while that I have been staying in one place for this long. I enjoy building plastic models and choose old-fashioned robots, animals and beasts that I was familiar with when I was a little kid. I made lots of those model kits and I wondered if I could use them as artworks. Therefore, I make a series of sculptures and incorporate those models. In addition, the packing boxes for the plastic models in early times are so cool – although I have no idea who designed them. I make flat works and use them as inspiration.
— Izumi Kato —

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Courtesy of Perrotin.

Kato seems to want to free himself from all constraints, so that his own creativity is his only limit. It makes sense, then, that he has always been interested in art brut. In its spontaneity, its obliviousness to the codes of art history, art brut shares with his painting a simple but essential diktat: freedom. Technical freedom, to start with, as found in the portraits of Jean Dubuffet, with whose work a number of parallels could be developed here. Without holding himself to standards of excellence or quantifiable results, Kato seeks above all to freely express form and color. He seeks to sculpt the figures in his paintings so naturally and simply that he ends up forgetting his brushes and using his own fingers.

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Exhibition view
Courtesy of Perrotin.

My subjects are human figures, but I don’t emphasize the actual mechanisms of the body at all, and they are not realistic people but human forms that I produce with a large degree of freedom because they are, after all, paintings and sculptures. In other words, what interests me is not the structure of the body. Shapes or forms that appear humanoid are simply the means I used to create works of art.
— Izumi Kato —

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Exhibition view
Courtesy of Perrotin.

In nearly twenty-five years of artmaking, Kato’s work has gone through several gradual and regular shifts, manifesting no brusque turns but instead undergoing a slow change in composition and subject, technique and palette.
Without letting them speak, or even see, Kato allows these beings to exude intense emotions, notably by their postures and through the connections that are created between the viewer and these sculptures, resulting on occasions in a kind of strange vibration that makes them polarizers of energy. It is perhaps this indefinable exchange that bestows on them an aura outside time and space.

– Text by Matthieu Lelièvre

Izumi Kato @ Perrotin, Paris - Izumi Kato & Exhibition view
Courtesy of Perrotin.

Children with disturbing faces, embryos with fully developed limbs, ancestor spirits locked up in bodies with imprecise forms—the creatures summoned by Izumi Kato are as fascinating as they are enigmatic. Their anonymous silhouettes and strange faces, largely absent of features, emphasize simple forms and strong colors; their elementary representation, an oval head with two big, fathomless eyes, depicts no more than a crudely figured nose and mouth. Bringing to mind primitive arts, their expressions evoke totems and the animist belief that a spiritual force runs through living and mineral worlds alike. Embodying a primal, universal form of humanity founded less on reason than on intuition, these magical beings invite viewers to recognize themselves.

Kato graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at Musashino University in 1992. Since the 2000s, he has garnered attention as an innovative artist through exhibitions held in Japan and across the world. In 2007, he was invited to take part in the 52nd Venice Biennale International Exhibition, curated by Robert Storr.

Nan Goldin The Other Side

Nan Goldin The Other Side

Marian Goodman Gallery, PARIS / LIBRAIRIE

until 12 SEPTEMBER 2020

Marian Goodman presents for the first time, an exhibition of photographs by Nan Goldin at the Paris bookshop. The black-and-white photographs in the show depict Goldin’s friends from the early 1970s. Her roommates, Ivy and Bea, and friends, Naomi and Colette, went to the club in Boston, the Other Side, every night. Over several years Goldin shared their lives, photographing them daily. These portraits not only marked Goldin’s first forays into photography, they helped to shape and became the inspiration for an artistic career that has spanned nearly fifty years.

Nan Goldin, Roommate with teacup, Boston, 1973

Goldin recalls: “From my first night at The Other Side – the drag queen bar in Boston in the 70s – I came to life. I fell in love with one of the queens and within a few months moved in with Ivy and another friend. I was eighteen and felt like I was a queen too. Completely devoted to my friends, they became my whole world. Part of my worship of them involved photographing them. I wanted to pay homage, to show them how beautiful they were.”

Goldin, Nan, The Other Side, Steidl, Germany, 2019, page 5

Nan Goldin, Roommate in the kitchen, Boston, 1972

In 1978 Goldin moved to New York City and continued in the following decades to photograph the LGBTQ+ communities, in Paris, Berlin, New York and Asia. Photographs documenting the daily lives of her friends and the club world from 1972 to 2010 are included in the acclaimed slideshow The Other Side (1994-2019), created by Goldin as a tribute to beauty, courage and freedom.

Nan Goldin, Roommate in her chair, Boston, 1972

An expanded and updated version of the publication The Other Side (originally published in 1992) was released last year by Steidl, and will be available at the bookshop alongside a broad selection of books dedicated to Goldin’s photography.

Nan Goldin, Best friends going out, Boston, 1973
Nan Goldin, Roommate after the bar at home, Boston, 1973

Nan Goldin lives and works between New York and Berlin. Her work has been the subject of numerous major exhibitions, and in particular of two retrospectives: one organized in 1996 by the Whitney Museum of American Art and another, in 2001, by the Centre Pompidou, Paris and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Last year she was commissioned for the Château de Versailles exhibition Visible/Invisible a large site-specific photographic installation. Recent solo exhibitions include Sirens, Marian Goodman Gallery London, UK, 2019; The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2019; Fata Morgana, Château d’Hardelot, Condette, France, 2018; Weekend Plans, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 2017; Nan Goldin, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME, USA, 2017; The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, 2016. In 2004, following a commission from the Festival d’Automne, Goldin presented for the first time, her major multimedia installation, Sisters, Saints and Sibyls (2004), at La Chapelle de la Salpêtrière, Paris. Nan Goldin has been the recipient of numerous awards including most recently the Ruth Baumgarte Award, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, 2019 and The Centenary Medal, London, 2018. Goldin was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in 2007 and received into the French Legion of Honour in 2006.

Rhythms and Vibrations / Galerie Lelong & Co.

Rhythms and Vibrations / Galerie Lelong & Co.

Galerie Lelong & Co., Paris.

4 June – 24 July 2020

Right from the start of abstract art, there was a split between two lines, indicating seemingly opposed tendencies: on the one hand a structured and economical art, often proscribing curves, seeming to privilege the cerebral and programmatic, and on the other, a warmer and more informal art in which spontaneity and sensitivity imposed their rhythm. Yet these two lines have never ceased overlapping and enriching each other.
In the case of many painters, they co-exist or succeed one another.

Etel Adnan - Se perdre dans le désert
Oil on canvas, 2020; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Etel Adnan
It is through the minimalist simplicity of her forms as well as through the sincerity of her colours that Etel Adnan’s full originality expresses itself. Revealed by the Kassel Documenta in 2012, Adnan, who was already a well-known poet published in many languages, has won an absolutely singular place in the art world. Her paintings have the force and self-evidence of a haiku.

James Brown - Salt Cardinals 11
Painting on linen, 1990; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

James Brown
By pasting the back of an old road map onto his canvas, James Brown relies on the orthogonal structure given by the map’s folds to suspend an abstract, supple and mysterious figure. James Brown’s work, which was revealed in the early 80’s, at the same time as Basquiat and Keith Haring, immediately met with an international recognition for its treatment of the figure. James Brown, who had been living in Mexico since many years, passed away at the beginning of the year in a car accident.

Nicola De Maria - Felicitàa AA
Mixed media on canvas , 1986; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Nicola De Maria
For Nicola De Maria, given their proportions, his small vertical paintings represent heads. That being the case, all that occurs on the surface, those points of colour interlinked by connections, the scratchings in the live material of the paint, is supposed to be the dream inhabiting this head. After a brief but intense international career in the 80s, Nicola Di Maria retired to Turino where, in isolation and calm, he pursues a secret and inspired work.

Günther Förg - Untitled
Acrylic on canvas, 2002; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Günther Förg
Grids, spots, drippings, none has better explored the infinite array of marks a paintbrush can make on a canvas as has Günther Förg. With irony and intelligence, he revisits art history, evoking through a form or a colour such or such another of his masters. The work chosen here is emblematic of our subject: the confrontation on the same surface of geometric rhythms and an informal and fluid space. Recently a major retrospective of Förg’s work was held at the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam, followed by one at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Samuel Levi Jones - House of Leaves
Portfolios on canvas, 2020; Coutesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Samuel Levi Jones
The formal description of Samuel Levi Jones’ work – cloth strips of varied width, length and colour, sewn together as in a patchwork – is not enough to reveal the painter’s aim. By having a closer look, one realizes that this surface is composed of fragments from the bindings ripped off scientific or legal books. It is the academic knowledge these books transmit which the American artist intends, through this iconoclastic gesture, to question and deconstruct. From these rags, he makes a coat of arms. The Museum of Indianapolis (USA) dedicated an exhibition to the artist in 2019.

Sean Scully - Raphael
Oil on linen, 2004; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Sean Scully
The luminous vibration of the many superposed layers of paint breathes life into the orthogonal structures which compose the framework of Sean Scully’s “Wall of Light” series. A major retrospective, for which Galerie Lelong is lending a seminal work, was to open this spring at the Fort Worth Museum. The new dates of the show have not been fixed yet.

Juan Uslé - Soñé que revelabas (Huang He)
Vinyl, dispersion, acrylic and dry pigment on canvas, 2017; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Juan Uslé
It is by listening, at night, to the rhythm of his heartbeats that Juan Uslé deposits each brushstroke, the succession of which form the intrigue of the paintings he calls Soñe que revelabas. Juan Uslé, who currently works in Cantabria and New York, just received in March 2020 the Florence and Daniel Guerlain Foundation Prize for Drawing.

Fabienne Verdier - Autumn Scape
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 2019; Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Fabienne Verdier
By handling with all the strength of her body, a large suspended paintbrush conceived by herself, across the canvas, Fabienne Verdier on it deposits the trace, the flux, the energy she concentrates in her movement.
Control and freedom, premeditation and improvisation are here intimately linked. Following the huge success of her exhibition at the Musée Granet of Aix-en-Provence last summer, Fabienne Verdier is preparing for the Unterlinden Museum of Colmar in 2022 a series of paintings which will be a dialogue with Grünewald and Schongauer, the two artists whose masterpieces the museum hosts.

CHIHARU SHIOTA / Inner Universe

CHIHARU SHIOTA / Inner Universe

Templon, Paris – Grenier Saint Lazare

MAY 30 – JULY 25, 2020

This summer, Galerie Templon will be filled with the spectacular woven work of Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. One onsite installation and a series of new sculptures explore the “Inner Universe” that some may see as the mind, others as consciousness, and which transcends the body, connecting beings to each other.

Chiharu Shiota – State of Being (Anatomy Book)
Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Famous for her monumental site-specific installations and skilful weaving of thread that spreads through space, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has spent years questioning the notion of surface and the traditional boundaries of painting. With Inner Universe, she invites us on a poetic journey examining the secret ties between the finiteness of existence and eternity.

Chiharu Shiota – In the Hand
2020; BRONZE AND METAL WIRE; 13,5 X 21,5 X 29,5 CM

Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

Inner Universe opens with a series of her signature sculptures of red, white and black threads. The mysterious boxes deconstruct our conception of the body: levitating clothes, anatomy books, personal belongings. As if crystallized in these tight weavings, they bear witness to everyday life while raising universal, metaphysical questions. As the artist explains: “the thread separates us from this physical presence within the object, but at the same time, this structure allows me to create a new space. Piling up layer after layer of cut, tangled and knotted thread creates the entirety of the universe bound to this frame.”

Chiharu Shiota – In the Hand
2020; BRONZE AND METAL WIRE – Courtesy of Galerie Templon.

This palpable detachment from earthly life is countered by a new set of sculptures made of imperishable materials. Blown-glass Cells suggest almost abstract forms of cells and organs bursting with life, while the In the Hand bronzes, moulds of her own hands, seem to bring the material alive. On the walls, her woven Skin canvases cover the space with skin that is both microscopic and cosmic.

Chiharu Shiota – Cell
2020; MIXED MEDIA; 36 X 36 X 36 CM – Courtesy of Galerie Templon

In the main room, some bronze sculptures representing parts of the artist family’s bodies are placed on the floor. “I want to scatter pieces of my relative’s body on the ground; their absence is thus embodied, and each of these parts evokes much more than an entire body could ever do.” Chiharu Shiota thus seeks to give us a glimpse of the complex relationships between beings and the potentially eternal interdependence of consciousnesses.

Chiharu Shiota – Cell
2020; MIXED MEDIA; 20 X 30 X 23 CM – Courtesy of Galerie Templon

Born in Osaka, Japan, in 1972, Chiharu Shiota has been living and working in Berlin since 1999. After a degree in painting at Seika university in Kyoto, Chiharu Shiota turned to performance and pursued her artistic studies in Berlin. Chiharu Shiota is an internationally renowned artist whose work has been exhibited for twenty years. She represented Japan at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Her work has been the subject of numerous museum solo exhibitions including: in 2017, Infinity Lines, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia (USA), Under the Skin, Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (Germany) and Direction, KODE-Art Museums of Bergen, Bergen (Norway); in 2018, The Butterfly Dream, Museum of Kyoto (Japan), The Distance, Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg (Sweden), Embodied, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (Australia) and Where are we going?, Le Bon Marché, Paris (France), and in 2019, Beyond Memory, Gropius Bau, Berlin (Germany) and The Soul Trembles, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (Japan).

Gabriel Rico / Nature Loves to hide

Gabriel Rico / Nature Loves to hide

Perrotin, Paris.

May 23 – August 14, 2020

Gabriel Rico’s formulas are brief and precise expressions to make, solve or achieve something concrete. Thus, they are processes helping to resolve problems or carry out tasks with a series of symbols and rules.
The big difference between mathematical formulas and Rico’s is that our artist’s symbols are “things”; objects steeped in value for being real by their very nature. Therefore, these applications are not intended to be a symbolic or abstract representation of a real being but the synthesis or fusion of things that exist on the material plane. Here, we are reversing the raditional process of representation, experimenting with absurd procedures, then, instead of ignoring reality, taking the physical nature of these objects and combining them to see what happens.

Who reckons the close of his life among the boons of the nature? (The Jealous God),
2018; 75 × 190 × 340 cm; Coyote, petrified wood, wire, plastic hand, glass bottle, ceramic, volcanic stone, sponge, neon, mirror, brass – Courtesy of Perrotin and the artist.

Perrotin presents Gabriel Rico’s Nature Loves to Hide. Thirteen works are installed across four gallery spaces, hosting two wall installations, seven assemblages with a strong sculptural element and a mural packed with “formulas” arranged across a vast wall. Together, these works form an experience of delirium and dialectical tension. Unlike the direct abstraction we form when establishing the overall meaning of something, and contrary to the “clarity” of the identity principle which defines an object based on the images we associate with it, these operations are fundamentally visual – the synthesis of objects that do not evoke a conventional image but, first and foremost, a simple material presence.

GABRIEL RICO – To be Preserved without scandal and corruption
2020; 436 × 120 × 300 cm; Volcanic stone, rope, taxidermy axis deer, fiberglass column
Courtesy of Perrotin and the artist.

For example, the II Mural piece presents a series of commonplace objects and a handful of arrows (similar to the if and only if arrows in positional logic) pictured on the white expanse of the wall. The link between these volumes and the graphite symbols is puzzling. And though we cannot clearly decipher his general codes, they are nonetheless eloquent and intuitively legible. A Husserlian épochè is at play where the material nature and physical force of “things” manifests without intervention. The symbols of if and only if are logical connectives more difficult to assimilate and connect with colloquial language. Here, they serve to make “connections” between the objects, linking these products and suggesting a certain type of value. In reality, there is no logical–rational meaning and they produce only the effect of absurd connection. Shaped by the same principles is XXVI – More robust nature… more robust geometry which presents three parts: a stone, a small round cover in rusty tin and a crooked tree branch which are linked by a neon light running along the edge and unifying the items. The fluorescent gleam passes through each of these objects, ultimately connecting them.

GABRIEL RICO – II Mural, from the series –Reducción objetiva orquestada (2016 – 2021)
2020; 350 × 400 × 17 cm; Mixed media, brass, neon – Courtesy of Perrotin and the artist.

We also have works such as Unity & Uniformity (La Mitla de hérétiques) where more than 200 roughly hewn brass plates are arranged in a space approximately three meters in diameter, representing the fullscale feathers of Mesoamerican birds. The structure presents a regular pattern that repeats and multiplies over and over, thus creating a perfect visual texture. Interestingly, of these feathers arranged on the wall, only two are from real birds. Despite the color and material contrast between the roughly hewn metal and the real feathers, the oppositional effect is almost imperceptible owing to the scale of the ensemble. This playful touch forces us to question the powerful landscape produced by the artificial sheets and appreciate the uniqueness of a pair of natural keratin feathers.

GABRIEL RICO – II from the series – Unity & Uniformity (La Mitla des hérétiques)
2020; 320 × 325 cm; Feathers, brass – Courtesy of Perrotin and the artist.

To conclude these descriptions, we have one of the large-scale installations entitled Crudelitatem (I will say the Romans that spread upon the world but it was the world that spread upon the Romans). This large piece is full of marble sand which covers the entire expanse of one of the gallery’s rooms. In the center of this arid landscape rises the trunk of a withered fiberglass tree with a bee’s honeycomb in traditional ceramic suspended from a single, rickety side branch. With a series of cylindrical rings with varying radii, the honeycomb overflows with abundant honey which trickles down and drips, thus bathing the human skull at the foot of the tree with succulent sweetness. It appears as though the dead man finally stopped to receive the food he had long waited for.
The cryptic sense of this visual fable is effective, causing amusement
and a wicked exasperation. This installation functions like a dark tale that
confronts us at the denouement with our own mortality but not before
offering an absurd and sickly sweet reward.

GABRIEL RICO – Crudelitatem (I will say the romans that spread upon the world but it was the world that spread upon the romans).
2016/2020; 195 × 330 × 412 cm; Ceramic, fiberglass, sand. – Courtesy of Perrotin and the artist

If language is a formalized system of signs creating all manner of interactions, then this is the socialization tool we have to communicate and generally learn. To make this possible, it is first vital that it operate according to strict rules and general codes. However, this does not always happen as expressions emerge that break with logical order.
Psychoanalysis and surrealism have explored symbolic applications that develop according to more complex and playful connections.

Contemporary hermeneutics, especially the interpretations triggered by French post-structuralism, offer plenty with which to interpret these “figures” so they need not remain in a dark and indecipherable place. Somehow, the right questions emerge to challenge this type of construction. Thus, there are QUESTIONS that rebuke from an unusual perspective and
give unique meaning to these products. These are the questions asked
by Gabriel Rico in this exhibition for Perrotin Paris.

Patrick Charpenel, Executive Director of Museo del Barrio, New York

Gabriel Rico lives and works in Guadalajara. He studied at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Guadalajara.

Recent exhibitions have taken place at: The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA (2019), The group exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times, Venice Biennial, Italy (2019), the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, the Power Station, Dallas (both 2017); Gyeonggi Creation Center, Ansan-do, South Korea, Fundación Calosa, Irapuato, Mexico (both 2016); MAZ Zapopan Art Museum, Mexico, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Seoul, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (all 2015); and Ex-Escuela de Cristo, Aguascalientes, Mexico (2014).

PENNY GORING Escape from Blood Castle

PENNY GORING Escape from Blood Castle

Campoli Presti, Paris

until 14 July 2020

Campoli Presti presents Escape from Blood Castle, Penny Goring’s first exhibition with the gallery. A series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos respond to personal and universal traumas such as grief, violence, addiction, ageing, chronic pain and fear, increasingly exacerbated by the incessant expansion of economic relations into our private realm. The exhibition title evokes a “solve it yourself” puzzle adventure book from the 80s and the impossibility to think our experiences outside capitalist terms.

Goring’s drawings and paintings are based on autobiographical experiences yet reference symbolist traditions within her own gloomy, girlish universe. Her “Art Hell” drawings expand on recurrent motifs such as malevolent landscapes, anthropomorphic flowers, scatological weeping and the double figure of Penny and Amelia, an ex-lover who died young from a heroin overdose. In her paintings, precision is key: flat backgrounds become fields of colour, trapping dismembered or distorted female figures at various stages of attempted escape.

Installation view Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti London/Paris.
Installation view Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti London/Paris.
Penny Goring
Grief Doll, 2019
126 x 35.5 x 21 cm / 49.6 x 14 x 8.3 inches

Made with fabric and vintage thread, all sewn by hand, Goring’s doll sculptures reference, amongst other things, children’s imagery and our attachment to transitional objects. The dolls of Escape from Blood Castle are manifestly marked by their damage, amputation, and mending, referencing the body as a receptacle and target for trauma and suffering.

Installation view Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti London/Paris.
Installation view Courtesy of the artist and Campoli Presti London/Paris.

The poem Escape from Blood Castle continues Goring’s raw, confrontational style, and operates as a marker for the exhibition itself. The juxtaposition between the text, the videos, the works’ titles and their reappearing motifs recall the arrangement of her works online, in which all her media perform without hierarchies, resisting strategy.

Bleedy Doll, 2019
165 x 44 x 12 cm / 65 x 17.3 x 4.7 inches

Penny Goring (born 1962 in London, UK) graduated in 1994 from Kingston School of Art in London with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art (Painting). Goring makes drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos, and poems that access recurring personal trauma visions, and by layering these with grief, anxiety, imagination and rage, the subsequent invented mythologies become explorations of the contemporary state of emergency – where violence is commonplace, structural, intimate, where loss of freedoms is forgotten or keenly lamented, and there is no rescue or escape. Goring has exhibited at, amongst others, ICA, London;; Tate St. Ives; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw;; South London Gallery and Arcadia Missa, London. Goring lives and works in London.

Sarah Sze at Gagosian Paris

Sarah Sze at Gagosian Paris

Gagosian, Paris

Sat 23 May 2020 to Sat 18 Jul 2020

Sculpture spills from its edge into the world in this very complex way that isn’t bound by the frame. In painting, the world spills into the frame, and sometimes we confuse that frame with the world.
—Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze – Ripple (Times Zero)
2020; Oil, acrylic, acrylic polymers, ink, aluminum, archival paper, oil stick, pencil, graphite, string, pushpin, diabond, and wood; 289.6 × 362 cm – © Sarah Sze. Photo: Rob McKeever

Gagosian is presenting new works by Sarah Sze and this is her first solo exhibition in Paris since her presentation at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain more than two decades ago.

A peerless bricoleur, Sze gleans objects and images from worlds both physical and digital, assembling them into complex multimedia installations that prompt microscopic observation while evoking a macroscopic perspective on the infinite. In recent years she has returned to painting—the medium in which she first trained—producing works that translate her processes of sculptural accumulation into the making of collaged paintings that are detailed, dynamic, and highly textural.

Sarah Sze – Plein Air (Times Zero); 2020 (detail)
Mixed media, including wood, stainless steel, video projectors, archival paper, toothpicks, clamps, ruler, and tripods, installation dimensions variable – © Sarah Sze

Just as the postwar affichistes elevated the accumulated visual grit of everyday urban life to the status of a painting, Sze’s large-scale panel paintings collapse multiple forms of picture making into an intricate but unified visual language. In some, photographic scraps are torn and visibly taped to the surfaces, resulting in abstracted tableaux that conjure pixelation while retaining the aura of the analog and the handmade. Sze layers paint over and under these jagged paper geometries, weaving them into each composition in sweeping arcs, thrumming lines, and shimmering gradients. In others, the textures are pure trompe l’oeil, achieved solely through photographic collage.

Sarah Sze – Blind Spot (Times Zero)
2020; Oil, acrylic, acrylic polymers, ink, aluminum, diabond, and wood; 262.3 × 327.7 cm.
© Sarah Sze. Photo: Rob McKeever

In a series of four small paintings partly inspired by Piet Mondrian’s phasing of a tree motif into total abstraction, Sze begins with a seed image: a manipulated digital photograph of one of her previous paintings or sculptures, which then becomes the foundation for a new work. In this generative and recursive process, decisions made in one composition resonate in connected visual constellations that either persist or decay with the passage of time.

Sarah Sze – Poke (Times Zero)
2020; Oil, acrylic, acrylic polymers, ink, aluminum, archival paper, graphite, diabond, and wood, 187.3 × 124.8 cm – © Sarah Sze. Photo: Rob McKeever

Alongside these new paintings, Sze presents a new multimedia installation entitled Plein Air (Times Zero) (2020), a reference to French Impressionist painting that describes her own earliest forays into the medium in her formative years. Citing the Russian Constructivist notion of the “kiosk” as a key inspiration, the installation is conceived as a portable station for the interchange of images and the exchange of information. Plein Air (Times Zero) combines intricate assemblage and video projection, functioning as a kind of tool or portal that pulls images from the world and presents them in the gallery space in a transformed state. Thus, moving and static images are enmeshed with sculpture and architecture in a loop that conflates input and output, production and consumption.

Sarah Sze – Picture Perfect (Times Zero)
2020; Oil, acrylic, acrylic polymers, ink, aluminum, archival paper, graphite, diabond, and wood; 215.9 × 327.7 cm – © Sarah Sze. Photo: Rob McKeever

Also on view is Double Wishbone (2020), a barely there sculpture comprised of delicate steel chains linked with “pure paint,” Sze’s term for a ribbon of dried paint that is the autonomous trace of her process. Suspended in the stairwell of the Paris gallery, with other iterations dispersed around the space casting faint shadows, Double Wishbone invokes Marcel Duchamp’s Hat Rack (1917/1964) as well as his concept of inframince—conjured by a pane of painted glass seen from the unpainted side, or the smell of cigarette smoke mingling with that of the mouth exhaling it.

Sarah Sze – Quartet (Mondrian Suite)
2019; Oil, acrylic, acrylic polymers, ink, aluminum, archival paper, graphite, diabond, and wood, in 4 parts, overall dimensions variable – © Sarah Sze. Photo: Rob McKeever

This year, the Public Art Fund commissioned Sze to create a permanent large-scale artwork at LaGuardia Airport, New York. In December the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris will present her second solo exhibition of new work. She is also preparing a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.



Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris

Wed 20 May 2020 to Sat 27 Jun 2020

Galerie Max Hetzler presents an exhibition with new oil paintings by Ida Ekblad.

2020, Oil on belgian linen, 220 x 180 cm;
Photo Uli Holz © Ida Ekblad, Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin I Paris I London

Ida Ekblad explains that she has tried to copy in oil what she recently achieved in her signature puff and plastisol works. In oil there is another world of pigment. Ekblad uses the highest quality paint with no fillers, pure cold pressed linseed, which makes the colors extremely varied. Puff turns matte when heated and dried, but these oils are saturated and shiny, vibrant, almost freaky.

2020, Oil on belgian linen; 180 x 140 cm.
Photo Uli Holz © Ida Ekblad, Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin I Paris I London

Ekblad adds that for this show she has reached back into the 80-ies of her childhood and tried to strike a “Vangelis chord”, a wet neon noir but without the clichés. Clouds of noble gas, laser shapes and ionized helium. She calls it a “Phildickian reality-flip”; an archive of sweet memories is everted and turned into a paranoid delirium. A crisp landscape, a plein-air TRON, translucent, fluorescent but also upside down and slippery, trippy, nauseating. Ida Ekblad tries to process these “sights” through her Scheveningen rose, cobalt violet, ruby red, and the Old Holland green, she is overdoing it, exaggerating it, “adding a sour Vermillion”. She lets the oils build up, sediment, smear and mushroom. She is “pouring out the juice, adding sauce, always more sauce”.

2020, Oil on belgian linen; 180 x 140 cm.
Photo Uli Holz © Ida Ekblad, Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin I Paris I London

The artist talks about “filtering Jean Michel Jarre” through a deviant manga feed, pink synth orgies, a feeling of watching full movies in the reflection of Gargoyles ANSI sunglasses – Starman, Flight of the Navigator. A neon casino where you cash in more than you lose. Cigarette smoke curling. She sees Daryl Hannah’s blonde wig and airbrushed eyes. Tiled bathrooms and bulb-lit, jam-packed medicine cabinets. Android dreams. Dark flasks with deep medicine.

2020, Oil on belgian linen; 220 x 180 cm.
Photo Uli Holz © Ida Ekblad, Courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin I Paris I London

Ida Ekblad (1980, Oslo)
Lives and works in Oslo, Norway. In June 2020, her work will be presented in a solo exhibition at the Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo. Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale (2017) and has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including Kunsthalle Zurich, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (both 2019); Kunstverein Braunschweig (2018); Kunsthaus Hamburg (2017); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2015); National Museum of Norway – Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2013); Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Bergen Kunsthall (both 2010), among others. She participated in numerous group shows such as National Museum of Norway – Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2018); FRAC Normandie, Les Bains-Douches, Alençon (2016); Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2015 and 2012); Kunsthalle Bern (2015); Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (both 2013) and New Museum, New York (2009). Her works are in the collections of the Aishti Foundation, Beirut; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Contemporary Art Society, London; De La Cruz Collection, Miami; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson; Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; National Museum, Oslo; Preus Museum, Horten; Zabludowicz Collection, London, among others.

Erwin Wurm, Photographs at MEP – Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

Erwin Wurm, Photographs at MEP – Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

MEP, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

Until 7 Jun 2020

Due to the Covid-19 emergency the exhibition might be closed until further notice.

Erwin Wurm
Outdoor Sculpture (Taipei), 2000 
159.1 x 126.5 cm
© Erwin Wurm

Erwin Wurm is celebrated for a conceptual body of work incorporating sculpture, performance, video, drawing and photography in which he combines a sense of playfulness and a profound sense of the absurd. His work often questions our relationship to the body with irony and cynicism, frequently placing the viewer in a paradoxical relationship with objects. Although he is principally known as a sculptor, the medium of photography has always played a fundamental role in his work, both as a way of documenting and preserving ephemeral works and performances but also as a means in its own right.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (Skull) (Pullovers), 1998 
4 C-prints
Each 100 x 100 cm
© Erwin Wurm

Gathering together some 200 prints produced since the 1980s and filling the museum’s two main floors, this extensive exhibition – the first to be seen in Paris in nearly twenty years – presents a number of prints, studies and original contact sheets from the artist’s personal archive, many of them never before seen by the public. Works on display also include completely new works made by the artist expressly for the exhibition based on images from his personal archives. Together they reveal the essential role of the photographic medium in his work, delving into his process and exploring the way he conceives photography as a “sculptural” form of expression; he refers to these artworks as “photographic sculptures.”

Erwin Wurm
Spit in Someone’s Soup (Instructions on How to Be Politically Incorrect), 2003 
84 x 108 cm
© Erwin Wurm

From his very first photographic works, Wurm reinterprets the classical definition of sculpture as a three-dimensional object on a pedestal by exploring the ideas of volume, weight, structure, gravity, form and mass, starting with The Arrival of the Portuguese in South America, an experimental series from the mid-1980s, shown at the beginning of the exhibition, along with his ephemeral dust sculptures from 1990, in which he would place an object on a surface, sprinkle dust over it, then remove it to reveal the residual imprints.

Erwin Wurm
One Minute Sculpture, 1997 
45 x 30 cm
© Erwin Wurm

For Erwin Wurm, the human body, with its capacity to fill a sweater, occupy space and gain or lose weight is a sculpture in itself. This first part of the exhibition also presents the video and photographs for Fabio Gets Dressed (1992), in which he asked a friend to put on his entire wardrobe item by item, thus becoming transformed into a bloated human sculpture. In 59 Positions that same year, the artist and his friends pulled sweaters and other clothes over their bodies and pieces of furniture, striking ridiculous poses in 59 ways. The idea of human sculpture is also present in Palmers (1997), a photographic series intended as advertising campaign for a lingerie brand in Austria, and in the never-before-seen Gestures series from the early 2000s.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (Yellow Pullovers), 1998 (2019) 
67 C-prints, mounted on carton
140 x 100 cm
Photograph: Tadzio © Erwin Wurm

The centrepiece of the exhibition, presented on the third floor, is Wurm’s iconic One Minute Sculptures, which he began in the 1990s. In these works, which combining ephemeral sculpture, performance and relational aesthetics, he gives written or drawn instructions to participants (or to himself) to take up often absurd poses that frequently involve everyday objects such as buckets, tennis balls, fruits or sweaters. For the sixty seconds during which the pose is held, the absurdity of the situation opens up onto larger existential concerns.

Erwin Wurm
Idiot II, 2010 
92 x 74.5 cm
© Erwin Wurm

The entire series is on display, along with numerous studies and experimental new works and interactive works in which visitors can themselves become living sculptures by following the artist’s instructions. Related photographs include images from the Adelphi series (1999), of the artist performing his own One Minute Sculptures alone in a hotel room in Liverpool; indoor and outdoor performances in Appenzel (1998), Cahors (1999), Taipei (2000) or Venice (2001); and the 2005 Design Objects and Items, in which he uses these same ideas to further deconstruct the notion of sculpture by using his instructions to deform pieces of mid-century and baroque furniture and contemporary artworks.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (One Minute Sculptures), 1997 
Contact sheet
23.7 x 30.5 cm
Photograph: Vincent Fardoux © Erwin Wurm

Other instruction-based series emphasize the sociocritical aspect of Wurm’s work. In Instructions for Idleness (2001), the artist suggests “Stay in your pyjamas all day,” “Express yourself through yawning” or “Fantasize about nihilism”; in How to Be Politically Incorrect (2002-2003) he flouts social conventions (urging us for instance to “Spit in someone’s soup”). His 2012 De Profundis project combines photography and painting in nude portraits of his male colleagues inspired by poses found in Gothic and early Renaissance art, will be presented alongside his Noodle Sculptures (2016), documenting a sculpture-performance using pasta noodles, and recent large-format Polaroids, seen in the last part of the exhibition.



BACKSLASH Gallery, Paris

12 March – 18 April, 2020

The Persian word konj-kav means “curious” (literally “digging into corners”). Sépànd Danesh has been digging into corners for nearly a decade now, giving them painted form with the vertical junction of two walls meeting, floor-less and ceiling-less. In his new exhibition at Backslash, the motifs that previously adorned his corners have given way to curious characters whose mindsets and moods we feel we recognise and sense. His figures are made up of identical fragments (tiny three-dimensional pixels), bringing to mind a poem by 13th-century Persian poet Saadi:

All human beings are in truth akin.
All in creation share one origin.
When fate allots a member pangs and pains,
No ease for other members then remains.
If, unperturbed, another’s grief canst scan,
Thou are not worthy of the name of man.

This cube-based stylized technique can be compared to the artistic experiments of Pointillist painters in the early 20th century: when a pointillist painting is observed from a certain distance, the coloured dots are impossible to tell apart, creating the optical effect of blending into each other. The same principle was adopted years later to create the digital raster image with the pixel as its base unit, its smallest element. Sépànd Danesh takes us into the world of the infinitely small, with the pixellation of the figures, as well as the infinitely large, with the universalisation of human emotions.

A present, 2020. Acrylic and spray on canvas \ Acrylique et peinture sur toile. 175 x 145 cm

The artist explains his approach: “In my work, I try to tackle the question (…) by using the pixel in its oncological form, as an object for reflection devising ever-new combinations and variations.”

For his third exhibition at Backslash, Sépànd Danesh is turning the corner into an open book, proposing a fresh interpretation of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Me, my eagle and my snake narrates the adventures of a lone traveller, perched atop the mountains of enchantment, who sees all life as an eternal recurrence and metamorphosis. The love felt by this traveller, half-animal, half-superhuman, for bleak and barren nature makes the eagle and the snake ideal companions. The eagle is proud and the snake is crafty. The eagle is sharp-eyed, defies gravity and dwells among the highest peaks. The snake delivers the kiss of death, changes skin and is acquainted with the entrails of the earth.

Sépànd Danesh thoroughly dissects the figures he presents and, more specifically, the attitudes and emotions of human beings in general. The exhibition is constructed like the genome sequence of individuals along with their quirks and feelings. Sculptures and paintings are populated with strange characters in positions that are easily identifiable, conveying as they do an array of human sentiments.




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