In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to announce Previously..., an exhibition of new work by Liz Magor (b. 1948, Winnipeg, Canada), the artist's first with the gallery.Liz Magor's work finds its center in the peripheral, often replicating the overlooked trappings of daily life and re-presenting them in new contexts. Activated by an interest in the covert, these constructions blur the lines between reality, imagination, and simulation. Creating new and expanded associations, Magor simultaneously draws attention to the objects' original intentions to satisfy our need for protection, comfort, and affirmation.
The exhibition's title suggests an ongoing narrative - each day presents a new episode of object management that runs quietly parallel to our larger dramas. The things we assemble are quickly swapped out as their allure fades due to changes in fashion, as well as their own material deterioration; their value consistently tied to their role in our emotional lives. In an act of reversal, Magor's sculptures suggest the agency of objects, not defined by a relationship to their owners but through the possibility of objects acknowledging each other. The latent influence of these banal, discarded, sentimental and worn belongings is now activated, rescued and resuscitated, relegating Magor's efforts to the sculptural replication of materials such as cardboard and packaging material, which now serve as platforms and plinths.
On the floor, four large flattened pieces of cardboard cast in pigmented gypsum become stages for affiliations of ceramic objects, trinkets, and textiles. Forming fragmentary narrative excerpts with no specific past or future, these momentos are assigned roles of protection for the others, whose prior existence depended on the fleeting interest of their owners. In this moment of respite the objects entertain their concern for each other, their focus momentarily turned away from our world.
In other works, the cardboard assumes volume, making a plinth or a shelf from which things are falling. Here, cartoonish figures tend toward heroism, with their limbs clutching the tops of the boxes as they maintain a tenuous grasp on items of worn clothing. Functioning as protagonists, the figures within these works are vigilant and steadfast, resisting the inevitability of dispersal, damage, and obsolescence.
Two wall-mounted sculptures continue a body of work incorporating damaged and discarded wool blankets. In these works, Magor continues the marks left from their previous lives protecting machinery in a toolshed with materials found within this context; oil-based wood stains, lubricants, marine paint, and rust. By way of her attention, the blankets assume a new self-assurance, simultaneously referencing and enlarging their origin. Hung on the wall and covered with folded acrylic boxes, these sculptures reiterate the protective impulse that unites all the works in the exhibition, as each sculpture leads a sustained struggle against the forces of change, gravity and time that will eventually pull them apart.
Liz Magor lives and works in Vancouver. In 2017, Magor's work was the subject of traveling survey at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg and Migros Museum, Zurich, and opening at MAMAC, Nice on November 17. Other recent solo exhibitions of her work include: Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac, Paris, 2016, Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, 2016, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2015, Peep-hole, Milan, 2015, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, 2014, and Triangle France, Marseilles, 2013. In addition, she has had solo exhibitions at Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, 2008, the Power Plant, Toronto, 2003 and the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002. Magor participated in Documenta 8, Kassel (1987) and the 41st Venice Biennale, Venice (1984).
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