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My work “Concept Of Since – 24 Options”, is currently part of an exhibition curated by Robert Montgomery.  The exhibition is at the Lights of Soho gallery in London.

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London’s home of creative neon and light art formats is opening its doors for its inaugural open submission show entitled “Signs that Say What You Want Them to Say…” Lights of Soho will be accepting submissions from new and established light artists for a show that will be guest curated by artist Robert Montgomery.

Taking inspiration from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Lights of Soho is inviting young artists who use light as a medium in their work to exhibit alongside established names in light art. Lights of Soho curator Hamish Jenkinson states, “Lights of Soho is more than an art gallery – it is a window of opportunity for young artists to get involved in the art scene. With this show, I’m hoping that we can reach artists who are well into their craft or just discovering it. I’d like to show young artists that art is a democratic experience and that they too can be featured in a London gallery.”

Having started his career off by vandalising billboards and bus stops with his poetry, Robert Montgomery directly communicates with his audience through text and light. Inspired by Roland Barthes and Guy Debord, Montgomery has paved the way for young artists to write their own story. Creating large LED light pieces with his poetry, Montgomery has seen his works showcased around the world including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India and a current project which hijacks an entire city block in Seattle.

Montgomery says, “When Bruce Nauman made his seminal artwork in neon “The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths” in 1967 it represented the beginning of a kind of democracy. Artists, for the first time could now hijack a medium previously only the domain of commercial and corporate voices, and begin to say much more interesting things. When I was a teenager I was obsessed with the pure form of commercial signs. I would fill rolls of film on the family holiday camera photographing the neon signs on abandoned petrol stations in France, and endure the blank looks of my father as he returned from Boots later with far fewer smiling family portraits than he expected, “why would you take so many pictures with no one in them son?…. Jeez, what a waste of money.” I knew that as soon as I had any money of my own I would make my own signs saying the most whimsical things possible. Perhaps even something as whimsical and useless as poetry.

In 1992 Gillian Wearing made the important piece, “Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say”. This was a lovely and delicate artwork about democracy, and the idea of an open exhibition of light art takes its inspiration from Wearing as much as from Nauman. In an ideal world we would give the billboards back to the people and everyone could write their dreams in neon. “

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Sometimes my travels coincide with events and exhibitions that I would love to see.  However this year I will be missing both Carsten Höller: Decision and Gustav Metzger: Towards auto-destructive art 1950-62 at Tate Britain from May 11th.  Luckily this weekend before I head south to New Zealand for the winter I will be able to catch Lee Ufan at the Lisson Gallery so one out of three is not bad.

Both artist for me operate on the fringes whilst also are at the centre of what is current.  They both continue to push boundaries within their practice and inspire thoughts within mine.  Hopefully I will get to see these exhibitions elsewhere in the near future.

One Day One Day

Carsten Höller: Decision is the artist’s largest survey show in the UK to date.

The exhibition, which sprawls across Hayward Gallery and erupts beyond its roof and walls, explores perception and decision making.

Confronting visitors with a series of choices, it features mirrors, disconcerting doubles and mysterious objects which together create an impression of a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Born in Belgium to German parents, Höller trained as a scientist – gaining an advanced degree in agricultural entomology – before becoming an artist.

Over the past 20 years Höller has created experiential installations, participatory artworks and immersive environments.

These often feature disorientating architecture and perception-altering devices, which Holler refers to as ‘artificial limbs for parts of your body that you don’t even know you’ve lost’.

Believing that ‘people are often more powerful than artworks’, Holler sees his work as ‘incomplete’ without visitor interaction. Under Höller, Hayward Gallery is transformed into a platform – part laboratory, part playground – dedicated solely to human experience.

Carsten Höller lives and works in Stockholm. His 2006 installation Test Site saw the artist install a series of giant slides in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

His solo shows include Experience at the New Museum, New York (2011), Carrousel at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008) and Half Fiction at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2003).

Wednesday 10 June – Sunday 6 September

Opening times
Monday 12 noon – 6pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Late night Thursday and Friday, 11am – 8pm

Joel Morrison, Target Painting, 2015
Joel Morrison
Target Painting, 2015
Stainless steel
188 x 137,2 x 10,2 cm
© Joshua White – Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech Gallery
 
 
JOEL MORRISON
Steel Life Crisis
 
April 17 – May 16, 2015
 
Los Angeles-based artist Joel Morrison creates sculptures and wall works that are slick, highly polished and desirable. They are also changelings born from the waste and excess of a consumerist culture. His stainless steel artworks are dystopian aberrations made up of quotidian discarded objects found around his neighborhood and studio in Los Angeles. Broken bits of trolley, balloons, blankets and hammers are reassembled and repurposed into cool, luxe looking artworks. They are, Morrison calls them, “a collage of scenarios”. Often times amorphous and indeterminate, his works are dynamic and full of movement. Found objects are encased sarcophagus-like in a coat of stainless steel bulging and straining against their silver skin, struggling to break out.
 
Morrison critically addresses contemporary consumerist culture with his found object sculptures while playing with visual tropes of art history. A 2012 Hong Kong exhibition brought together references from classical Greek sculpture, Duchampian ready-mades, Arte Povera, and pop art. Like an alchemist Morrison deftly fuses and layers a palimpsest of references from music, pop culture, and art history. High and low culture, figuration and abstraction, the mechanical and handmade, are brought into union with irreverence and humour to create his own visual language.
 
Morrison’s works bridge the distance between viewer and art object, demanding engagement and interactivity. Using an approach to art production rooted in L.A’s Finish Fetish movement of the 1960s and ‘70s — characterized by its obsession with slick surfaces and polished perfection — Morrison takes advantage of the material he works with to play with temporality, and to ask questions about the viewer’s relationship to art. Like narcissus the viewer is seduced and drawn in by the reflective surface of the works. They abstract and distort everything they reflect in real time, lending the otherwise monochromatic pieces a mutable colour palette and contemporaneity. The works are both alien to their surrounding environment and part of it.
 
The freestanding and wall works give the appearance of spontaneity and immediacy, of objects haphazardly thrown together, but this belies the painstaking production process required to complete the works. Eschewing the typical route of mechanical big studio art production, Morrison makes his pieces from mold and lost wax casting: “the simplest and oldest method of replicating objects into metal.”  The approach is lo-fi and old school, allowing for the artist’s hand to be glimpsed in a fingerprint, or indentations from the casts, raising questions about contemporary art production and the role or importance of the artist’s singularity.
 
For his third exhibition with Almine Rech Gallery, Morrison reworks Frank Stella’s flat and geometric minimalist protractor paintings, reinterpreting them as three-dimensional stitched cargo blankets. They hang across what look like canvases, but are in fact mirrors, which remain concealed, denying the viewer the sight of their undistorted self-portrait. The ‘Target Painting’ series (2015) has its genesis in a Robert Morris corner piece covered in a cargo blanket spotted by the artist in art storage. “Things end up in crates, in backrooms. They become such a commodity and it’s important to be able to laugh at that aspect,” Morrison explains. He turns the focus onto the superficial protective layer, highlighting the commodified nature of the art industry where artworks sit like trophies in storage, unseen and swathed in their protective wrappers.
 
While the Target Painting series makes up the basis of the show, Morrison also introduces a corner piece, again recalling Robert Morris’ minimalist ‘Untitled (Corner Piece)’ (1964). This time the work sits bare and unprotected by a cargo blanket. Radiating out of a Tupperware container’s centre are rays of a sunrise, a reference to Kenneth Anger’s occult inspired ‘Lucifer Rising’. This piece provides a more esoteric counterpoint to the exhibition while at the same time tying the works in the exhibition together through its geometric composition.
 
Joel Morrison (born in 1976, Seattle, Washington) has exhibited widely in the U.S and abroad, with solo exhibitions at Almine Rech Gallery Paris (2014) and Brussels (2012); and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2011). Institutional group exhibitions include One Way: Peter Marino, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL (2014); The Avant-Garde Collection, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2014); Signals, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); Tangible Sculpture Today, Kolbe Museum, Berlin (2007); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2006); Anstoss Berlin, Haus Am Waldsee Museum, Berlin (2006); and Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2005). Joel Morrison lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
 
Diana d’Arenberg
 
 
ALMINE RECH GALLERY
11 Savile Row, Mayfair
London
W1S 3PG
T: +44 (0)20 72 87 36 44
 
 

mamco_delphine-reistDelphine Reist, La Chute

The Never Ending Stories cycle, autumn sequence 2013-2014
16 October 2013 to 12 January 2014

MAMCO

Car parks, public lavatories, building sites, basements, government buildings: Delphine Reist’s works are usually located in such thankless, characterless places, devoid of real status and not considered conventional settings for art. Her interventions involve setting ordinary objects in motion: an ever-rolling  barrel, dancing shopping carts, self-starting cars, sporadically swaying curtains… A small, dehumanised theatre in which the spirit of the place is embodied by a revolt of standardised goods.

Now presented at Mamco, La Chute (‘Falling’) involves a similar animation of the commonplace. On entering the Don Judd Loft, visitors will no doubt have a frustrating sense of having got there too late, when it’s all over, and seeing nothing but the remnants, the ruins of a spectacular, violent performance. On the floor is a large piece of ceiling that has just come down, exposing its metal skeleton. Some viewers will be stunned by this seemingly alarming evidence that the building is starting to fall apart. However, more alert eyes may recognise an attempt by the artist to sabotage the authority of the museum, thereby reviving the radicalism of a whole generation of artists who have turned their backs on the whole institution, such as Michael Asher, Hans Haacke or Hans Schabus. And yet the reference stops there, for the damaged ceiling reveals no baleful backgrounds or spectacular bursts of light. Instead, above the ceiling is another ceiling. The thing lying on the ground is simply a piece of lining, stage scenery. It refers to an earlier state of the premises — the Mamco building is a disused factory — as well as to the twilight, romantic vision of its decay. Falling can then be seen as an allegorical  expression of ‘constancy in the laws that govern the world’ — also briefly seen in Reist’s video Averse(‘Downpour’, 2007), in which fluorescent tubes hanging from the ceiling of a multi-purpose room (an office? a classroom?) break away one after the other and shatter on the floor.
This falling also implies a similarity between exhibition spaces and work spaces. Dropped ceilings are part of the architectural vocabulary of offices, but seldom of museums — and this is accentuated by the presence on one of the walls of a row of coat hooks whose shapes are dictated by the combined laws of rationalisation and safety. A changing-room locker with several twitching bags whose undulations recall the briefly brushing bodies normally seen in these cramped spaces. A little further on, another destructive force, another effect of the laws of gravity can be seen in a large wine stain on the wall together with bits of broken bottle, the result and the cause of a movement halfway between a drunken brawl and the polished ritual of a christening. Here we can also detect a nod to some famous avant-garde works — first and foremost Robert Smithson’s Asphalt Rundown(1969). But, in putting her intervention on the scale of a domestic accident, Delphine Reist is again subtly alluding to the museum setting. The form presented here recalls both the opening of an exhibition and the cleaning of the rooms where it takes place. Reist’s ‘falling’ takes us through this shared panoply of movements, objects, situations and furniture — a salutary plunge towards a ‘reality on this side of our threshold of awareness’.

Delphine Reist was born in 1970 and lives in Geneva.
* This English translation has been provided with the support of the J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

Reists’ works seem to use actions, past, present or future to construct or deconstruct spaces, capturing moments for the viewer to reflect on.  If you would like more information on her work please see the Lange + Pult Gallery where she is represented click here.

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