Rough Dark Diamond
September 20, 2014 – January 3, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH, 2014
Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by sculptor Mark
Handforth. Rough Dark Diamond, Handforth’s first solo gallery exhibition in Los Angeles, will consist of large-scale sculptural works installed both within the gallery and in the courtyard outside.
Mark Handforth twists mundane markers of modern life—light fixtures, roadway signs, motorcycles—into an evocative series of symbols and ciphers. Working in the fertile conceptual space between Minimalism and Surrealism, Handforth manipulates form, material, context, and especially size. Thus transformed, his chosen cultural signifiers take on a new and alien life. In his new exhibition, Handforth works from abstracted templates of simple shapes. The titular diamond, fashioned from steel pipe, is secured to floor and ceiling, framing the gallery space like a roughhewn portal or doorway. Similarly, Handforth explores variations on wire coat hangers, telephone handsets, and five-pointed stars, all recurring motifs in the artist’s own unique sculptural language. These symbols of domesticity, reappropriated and stripped of utility, exist as a series of oblique totems that read playful, provocative, and even menacing by turns.
Within Rough Dark Diamond, these works function pointedly to draw together the connection between the external and internal exhibition spaces. A light piece, consisting of translucent blue light bulbs, spreads large across the main internal gallery wall. Visible from the outside, these lights combine to form a floating blue telephone, which seems to break apart into a cosmic array. In relation to Handforth’s other heavy bronze phone sculptures, this light piece becomes a ghost in the form of a tantric light drawing; a constellation of the everyday. At this point the graphic form (the icon; the sign) breaks apart to join again with everything else in the world.
In the courtyard outside, a sculptural interpretation of a white wire hanger twists up to the sky. The work is named for Alan Watts, the British philosopher whose work incorporated Eastern mysticism with the study of psychotherapy. Himself a wonderfully inconsistent philosopher, Watts found himself in many ways inescapably empathetic to the connectivity and the bond between all things. A freeze frame precariously suspended in subjective time, this hanger, and further Handforth’s star, diamond, telephone and golden ring, live in this state of jaunty tension.
Mark Handforth has participated in exhibitions at such institutions as the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Handforth, who was born in Hong Kong in 1969, lives and works in Miami.
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Organising an exhibition can be seen as testing out a hypothesis which can only be presented – and defended – by establishing a convincing relationship between the works it has recourse to. A hypothesis, then, cannot be a clearly formulated theory demanding verification, and even less so a discourse whose lofty sentences are appropriately interconnected by the exhibits. It is either a promising idea still lacking a concept, an intuitive sense of a novel and hopefully fruitful interrelationship, or a group of works one would like to bring together to observe how this juxtaposition changes them.
A dual hypothesis, then: as to what would be (should be?) an exhibition and as to what an exhibition actually does. Since the first part can't be gone into here, let's take a look at the second, with Alain Bublex proposing, in backdrop, to test out a hypothesis in the way mentioned above. To put it briefly: ‘The creation of a “national” political and cultural space most often goes hand in hand with a trend towards representation of its landscapes.’ Or in other words, as soon as a people endows itself with a common future (and invents for itself a shared past), it feels the need to portray what surrounds it and what has preceded it. It then does two things that are only seemingly contradictory: it portrays the irreducible strangeness of these landscapes while at the same time recognising them as its own. Thus a landscape – whether painted or natural – is not solely a visual transformation of the natural environment; it is also an assertion of the strangeness of what is there. One of the works Bublex has opted for in trompe l'oeil form is a landscape by Albert Bierstadt, a painter of the American West and its wilderness. Interestingly, it was Bierstadt's paintings that led Congress to pass the Yellowstone Park Bill in 1872 and so create history's first national park.
Bublex is not trying to say that a pictorial space is also a political space – in itself a truism – but rather that the establishment of a country as a political space involves that country's representation of landscape. And this representation changes with time: the time of history and the time of art. After Bierstadt, backdrop presents pictures by Charles Sheeler and Morris Louis, offering a curious history of American painting from wilderness to Abstract Expressionism. This placing of a Morris Louis picture beside an industrial landscape by Sheeler the modernist speaks eloquently of the intuitive aspect of the hypothesis. The first major style produced by American painting, Abstract Expressionism is, as much as Bierstadt's Rocky Mountains, part of the cultural landscape in question; and a trained eye will not fail to detect in the overlaid strips of colour of Louis's ‘veils', diluted to the point of translucency, the distant heritage of Bierstadt's spectral backdrops: trees and mountains given a strangely ghostly look by the scorching sun rising over his landscapes.
There remains, however, the question of how the hypothesis is actually put to work: of the 'rigging’ (as Bublex calls it) which underpins its structuring, which renders visible an exhibition whose construction has been halted – abandoned or gone to ruin – and which thus refers all the exhibits back to the contingency of their finish. We must not conclude, though, that all landscape is ruin; simply, rather, that it captures and as a result ultimately effaces the strangeness of what is there. ‘Rigging’ – also to be taken here in its nautical sense – consists in making discernible the activities that art presupposes and often conceals; which is also the message conveyed in their own way by the original works Bublex has dotted throughout backdrop: landscape photographs in which a part – a freeway, Mount Fuji, etc. – is reproduced by vectorial drawing, as additions whose obviousness (they in no way interfere with the image) testifies to the familiar artificiality of our surroundings.
Alain Bublex has never stopped making landscapes in a country that has produced none since the end of the Ancien Régime (with some notable exceptions: the ghost of Albert Marquet haunts the exhibition). Republican France took shape without offering any image of itself; which is probably why, today, we find it so hard to look at her without nostalgia.
Giovedì 25 settembre 2014 alle ore 18.30 lo Studio Guenzani inaugurerà una nuova mostra personale dell’artista americana Louise Lawler intitolata No Drones.
Con No Drones, l’artista continua la sua complessa indagine sulle funzioni che l’opera d’arte assume nei contesti in cui viene presentata.
Il forte rigore della composizione e l’equilibrio delle forme, caratterisco delle sue fotografie, emergono ancora più chiaramente in questi ultimi lavori dove la struttura diventa protagonista dell’immagine.
Private del colore e ingrandite di formato in modo da adattarsi allo spazio, le nuove immagini che Louise Lawler ci presenta sono una dimostrazione di quanto possano ancora essere aperte e innovative le modalità di indagine dell’immagine contemporanea.
Le due sale principali della galleria ospitano delle immagini in bianco e nero stampate su vinile e incollate direttamente sulle pareti dello spazio espositivo. I traced works non sono altro che gli outline delle immagini più celebri dell’artista: opere d’arte fotografate nei musei, nelle collezioni private, nelle case d’asta e nei depositi. Per produrre questi lavori Louise Lawler ha lavorato in collaborazione con l’autore di libri per bambini, illustratore e artista Jon Buller con il quale sono state reintepretate molte delle fotografie più famose dell’artista americana.
In mostra saranno presenti anche alcune opere uniche colorate a mano da Louise Lawler.
ShanghART Gallery is please to present the second exhibition in the Semi-automatic Mode series, Paintings from artist Han Feng and Zhao Yang will be displayed. The exhibition will last till 7th December.
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