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Parafin presents a seminal body of work by the important British artist Tim Head (born 1946), never previously exhibited in the US. Indeed, this presentation is Head’s first showing in New York since British Art Now: An American Perspective' at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in 1980. And while this series of photographic collages were developed out of the research material for an important slide installation, Compass (1982), presented at the Tate Gallery, London, they have only been exhibited once before, in the group exhibition Transient Space at Parafin, London in 2017.
The Transient Space series was made at a transitional moment for both the artist and the city in which he lives and works. Head had spent the previous decade making ambitious conceptual installations, culminating in his show in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1980. Subsequently, in the course of long night walks through London in 1981–1982, Head photographed anonymous de-humanised spaces; empty interiors, corporate lobbies, hotel entrances and underground car parks. The resulting images were then collaged, mirrored horizontally and vertically, and the spaces rendered uncanny yet hermetic, with no possibility of exit. Head used the filmic appearance of black-and-white photography seen through a filter of hand-tinted colours to further blur the distinction between real and fictional. The new spaces that emerged from this treatment suggest empty stage sets or sci-fi environments and extend Head’s ongoing investigation into perception and the surfaces and of textures of contemporary life. They also evoke the ‘Non-places’ that for the philosopher Marc Auge are the symptoms of Super-modernity.
Indebted to Beaudelaire’s flâneur, the observant urban wanderer, as well as the Situationist notion of the dérive, Head’s photographic collages suggest a journey through dehumanised urban space. The city is explored in relation to Modernism, but is also an array of politically demarcated zones, a stage, and a generator of obscure visual codes and languages. Within Head’s framework the contemporary urban environment is revealed as, to use the titles of the works, transient, fragile and terminal.
Tim Head (born 1946) first came to prominence in the early 1970s with a series of ground-breaking installations at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1972), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1974) and participation in important group shows including the 8th Paris Biennale, Musee D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973), ‘Arte Inglese Oggi’, Palazzo Reale, Milan (1976) and Documenta 6, Kassel (1977).
Notable solo exhibitions include the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1980), ICA, London (1985), Whitechapel Art Gallery (1992), Kunstverein Frieburg (1995), Huddersfield Art Gallery (2009), Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2010), Modern Art Oxford (2013) and The Garment Factory, Glasgow as part of Glasgow International 2018. Recent important group exhibitions include Pioneers of Pop, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (2017), Post Pop, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014), Between Spaces, Centro de Arte Moderna, Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2012), The Indiscipline of Painting, Tate St Ives, (2011), Signs of a Struggle: Photography in the Wake of Post Modernism, V&A, London (2011), the Lyon Biennale (2003) and Days Like These, Tate Britain, London (2003).
Head’s work is in important international collections including Tate, V&A, British Museum and Arts Council Collections in London, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York.
****2019 Fair Opening Days
Wednesday Preview, May 1 (invitation only).
The fair closes at 7pm.
Thursday Preview, May 2, 11am-7pm
Thursday Private View, May 2, 4pm-7pm
Friday, May 3, 11am-7pm
Saturday, May 4, 11am-6pm
Sunday, May 5, 11am-6pm