Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent work by the Amsterdam-based duo DRIFT, whose research-based practice considers the relationships between nature, technology, and humanity. On view at 540 West 25th Street in New York from November 5 to December 18, DRIFT Materialism: Past, Present, Future marks DRIFT's first presentation at Pace since the sculptural installation EGO was shown at the gallery in New York in 2020. Pace's presentation coincides with DRIFT's landmark solo exhibition Fragile Future at the Shed in New York, which continues through December 19. Concurrently, the artists' first permanent commission in the U.S. at 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, featuring the recently acquired kinetic sculpture Amplitude, will be on view this November.
Pace's exhibition focuses on the ways humans interact with and relate to Earth, how they absorb and synthesise information, and how they understand their place within their vast world. It spans explorations of the body, the environment, and the solar system, charting new modes of thinking and being. To this end, DRIFT has created a visual language to parse these questions and better comprehend humanity's position in the universe.
In this presentation, two new works from DRIFT's 'Materialism' series meditate on the molecular elements of the human body, with one representing a male form and the other a female form. The male and female sculptures are presented equally, and the works explore notions of equality as they relate to sex and gender. These works each comprise six sculptures and serve as self-portraits of Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, the artists of DRIFT. Influenced by the geometric abstraction of artists Kazimir Malevich to Piet Mondrian, the sculptures utilise abstracted blocks to examine the makeup of the body, its ability to grow and evolve, and its connections to existing materials and forces in the universe. The components of these works represent different stages of life, from conception to death. As the artists wrote in a statement for the exhibition, 'We reduce the most important elements of our existence to block forms to understand scale, proportion, and substance. To understand our place.'
Another highlight in the exhibition is the new augmented reality work Block Universe (2021), which reimagines the solar system in block formations that forge formal connections to the 'Materialism' sculptures. This piece is engaged with the growing block universe theory, which suggests that the past, present, and future occur simultaneously. The work incorporates a light box as a plexiglass sun. The block planets that orbit the sun are the AR components, which can be viewed using an iPad on-site. DRIFT's 2021 sculpture 1980 Beetle, which features a group of blocks rendered in multifarious materials, will also be on view in the show.
As DRIFT writes in their statement, the blocks in their work are part of 'a visual language that we developed in order to be able to see deeper layers in our reality, to compare seemingly different objects and relate them back to their original state of being and place in the universe.'
Taking up big questions about notions of connection in the universe, DRIFT's presentations at Pace and the Shed complement one another. The Shed's exhibition features a series of experiential installations and incorporates a soundtrack by the singer ANOHNI. Among the works on view in the show are the installation Coded Coincidence, the light sculpture Fragile Future, and the multichannel projected films Drifters.
Adding to its permanent collection for the first time since 1978, Rockefeller Center in New York has recently acquired DRIFT's Amplitude, a sculpture consisting of glass bars arranged by wire in a bird-like shape. Going on view later this year, the work will be suspended from the ceiling of 45 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. An electronic system controls the wires, lengthening and shortening them to create a slow flapping movement. This is DRIFT's first permanent commission in the U.S.
Based in Amsterdam, Drift was established in 2007 by Lonneke Gordijn (b. 1980, Alkmaar, Netherlands) and Ralph Nauta (b. 1978, Swindon, United Kingdom), who attended the Design Academy Eindhoven together. Their artistic practice explores relationships between nature, technology, and humanity through collaborations with scientists, research facilities, programmers, and engineers. Drift draws their inspiration from nature as a starting point, both in a formal and a philosophical way, while their creative process is fueled by innovative techniques.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.