Victoria Miro is delighted to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach (Booth H7) with works united by the theme of water, by Doug Aitken, Milton Avery, Jules de Balincourt, Hernan Bas, María Berrío, Elmgreen & Dragset, Secundino Hernández, David Hockney, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Jorge Pardo, Celia Paul, Howardena Pindell, Tal R, Do Ho Suh and Caroline Walker. The US premiere of Isaac Julien's nine-screen installation, Lina Bo Bardi - A Marvellous Entanglement (2019), will take place as part of Meridians, a new sector of the fair dedicated to large-scale installations, videos and performances, curated by Magalí Arriola. Bent Pool (2019), a new, permanent work by Elmgreen & Dragset, will welcome visitors to the newly renovated Pride Park in front of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
From bathtubs to swimming pools to oceans, while a number of works on view consider water as a life force and an agent of change, or bathing as a leisure pursuit and a social activity, others explore water's properties of transparency and reflection, or invite us to meditate on the psychological and metaphorical associations of the colour blue.
Doug Aitken, whose exhibition of new work Return to the Real is currently on view at Victoria Miro (until 20 December 2019) presents a new, large-scale large lightbox, Futures Past (aerial pools) (2019), in which repetition renders unfamiliar the commonplace domestic imagery of swimming pools. Variously angular and kidney-shaped, and isolated against a dark background, the pools glow with a beguiling intensity-seemingly suspended between the physical world and the world of the screen.
Throughout his career, water held an intense attraction and served as a source of creative inspiration for Milton Avery, who was drawn to the challenge of capturing the ever-changing effects of light on rivers, lakes and seas. Wader (1963), is an important late painting executed with a radical and loose painterliness, its complementary hues evoking a haze of summer heat. Yacht Race in Fog (1959), was completed during a period in which Avery, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb summered together in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. During this time, Avery started to paint on an ever-larger scale, further refining his visual vocabulary while pushing his imagery to the edge of abstraction. This new pictorial realm, in which abstraction and representation are not immediately distinguishable from each other, reaches its zenith in Yacht Race in Fog, which depicts sailboats emerging from a field of candescent colour as through a dense haze. An associated watercolour on paper, Sails in Fog (1959), will also be on view.
Paintings by Jules de Balincourt continue an intuitive approach to image-making, where the world we inhabit is filtered through the artist's own psychological landscape. Always rich in colour and technique, de Balincourt's work is a bountiful confluence of reality and fantasy, where references to society, politics, or popular culture are never less than equalled by free association and painterly invention. Often, as in the works on display, work hinges on utopian/dystopian narratives. As the artist has said, 'Sometimes my paintings are just about travel or displacement or transience or these nomadic itinerant, citizens of the world. It's difficult to tell whether people are tourists or refugees. There's an ambiguity about it in my work.'
Brooklyn-based artist María Berrío has created new work for Art Basel Miami Beach, which revisits her enduring interest in the human relationship with nature with a new series of figures she calls 'the bathers'. United by a simple garment-based on one of Berrío's own dresses-these figures appear in moments of solemnity, acting upon or reacting to the natural world. The surreal environments they occupy offer an unsettling context for their otherwise ordinary activities, provoking viewers to reflect on their own connection to their surroundings and raising questions of resilience and persistence in the face of catastrophic loss. The primal ritual of bathing and the gestures that bracket it offer a moment of communion that reflects on our common experiences as social beings.
The swimming pool is an enduring motif in the art of Elmgreen & Dragset, and features in major works such as their presentation The Collectors for the Nordic and Danish Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009-where a body appeared to float face down in a swimming pool-and their recent major Whitechapel Gallery exhibition This Is How We Bite Our Tongue which took the architectural intervention of a derelict swimming pool as a mis-en-scène to explore ideas of community and the fate of civic space. Made of marble and steel, Study for Van Gogh's Ear (2016), refers to the duo's large-scale public work Van Gogh's Ear (2016), an upright, nine-metre-high swimming pool in the shape of an ear, which was first displayed outside the Rockefeller Center in New York in 2016. Additionally, Lifesaver (2019,) a new work by the duo, re-imagines an inflatable life buoy in the time-honoured sculptural material of marble. A new permanent work by Elmgreen & Dragset, Bent Pool (2019), will be on view in Pride Park, in front of the Miami Beach Convention Center, from December2019. Commissioned by the City of Miami Beach's Art in Public Places Program the 20-foot-high sculpture, an upright arching swimming pool, will welcome visitors to the recently renovated site. Sculptures, the duo's first major museum presentation in the US, is at the Nasher Sculpture Center until 5 January 2020.
Secundino Hernández presents a new, large-scale palette painting that flashes with shades of cobalt, turquoise and ultramarine. Created through a highly visceral accumulation of pigment, the Spanish artist's palette works, which Hernández refers to as being 'like a diary of everyday life in the studio', are akin to extended versions of the functional artist's palette, expanded in scale and through the duration of their making. Here, the materiality of paint contrasts with the fluid association of hue-which recalls a roiling sea-while the artist's expansive process assumes an almost oceanic sense of openness.
Swimming pools are among the most familiar and iconic subjects of David Hockney's career and remain in many ways synonymous with the Southern California lifestyle that the artist embraced after first arriving in Los Angeles, at the age of 27, in 1963. Two colour lithographs by the artist, made at Tyler Graphics, New York, between 1978 and 1980, reveal different graphic solutions to the representation of the constantly changing surface of water.
For Christian Holstad the artificial, constructed environment is the source of infinite and potentially terrifying beauty. Working with hand-cut paper collage, in Breeding Stars (2014), Holstad builds up his material in layers. The work features a goldfish caught in the involuntary confines of an aquarium or, perhaps, a fishing net. Holstad's fish appear to exist primarily to be observed. However, they provide a lighter, more lyrical take on his ongoing interest in borders, boundaries and constraints in our environment.
Isaac Julien's photographic work INDEX (Playtime) (2013), is drawn from his acclaimed body of work, PLAYTIME. What drives people to cross continents in search of a 'better life' is a question that has underpinned much of Julien's work over the past decade, and in responding to the question he repeatedly returns to the same answer: capital. Part documentary and part fiction, the work follows six main protagonists-including the House Worker, as seen in INDEX (Playtime) interconnecting figures in the world of art and finance with the real stories of individuals deeply affected by the crisis and the global flow of capital. Julien's nine-screen installation Lina Bo Bardi - A Marvellous Entanglement (2019), premieres in the US at Meridians, a new sector of Art Basel Miami Beach dedicated to large-scale installations, videos and performances, curated by Magalí Arriola. On view on the Victoria Miro booth, the photographic work New Yemanja, A Marvellous Entanglement (2019), is drawn from this recent body of work about the visionary modernist architect and designer. The image features the Brazilian actress Fernanda Torres, one of two actresses who play Lina Bo Bardi at different stages of her life in Julien's film and photographic work, engaging with one of Bo Bardi's iconic motifs-a window of the Coaty Restaurant, situated in the Ladeira de Misericórdia (Mercy Slope), Salvador.
Yayoi Kusama's FLOWERS THAT SPEAK ALL ABOUT MY HEART GIVEN TO THE SKY (2018), is a monumental painted bronze flower sculpture. Flowers have long been an important part of Kusama's art. One of the artist's earliest memories is of the flower fields that were part of the nursery owned by her family. At once simplified and fantastical, their surfaces covered with polka-dotted planes of vivid colour, Kusama's flower sculptures straddle a line between nature and exuberant artifice and are designed to be viewed from multiple angles, encouraging audiences to move around them. With its delicate skeins of blue INFINITY-NETS [TRFOEYA] (2017), is an especially resonant and evocative example of Yayoi Kusama's iconic 'Infinity Net' canvases, and offers a link to the origins of these iconic works in smaller paintings completed shortly after she first arrived in the United States, in which the artist attempted to capture the bird's-eye view of the ocean rippling beneath her, which she experienced on her flight from Tokyo to Seattle.
Wangechi Mutu's collage-painting The screamer island dreamer (2014), draws on diverse references such as East African coastal mythologies (particularly of nguvas, or water women), gender and racial politics, Western popular culture, Eastern and ancient beliefs and autobiography. Mutu's practice has been described as engaging in her own unique form of myth-making; in her works she proposes worlds within worlds, populated by powerful hybridised female figures, where the interweaving of fact with fiction offers an extension of the possibilities for yet another group of symbolic female characterisations.
A number of works from Chris Ofili's Poolside Magic will be on view. Poolside Magic is a suite of pastel, charcoal and watercolour works on paper, in which a man in coat-tails serves a naked woman beside a swimming pool. In these richly evocative works, Ofili riffs on themes of sexuality, mutability, magic and the occult, making reference to the vibrant and sensuous landscape and culture of Trinidad, where the artist lives and works. A new painting by the artist will also be on view as part of the presentation.
Celia Paul's seascapes, such as Sky, Sea, Shore (2017), highlight the painter's challenge not only to capture specific states of matter-water and air-but to attempt to capture the moment. Paul's water paintings are permeated by a sense of mortality, of bodies becoming dissolute and consciousness shifting into water, energy and light. She has spoken of her waterscapes in terms of feeling in flux following her mother's death. They certainly speak to the disorienting experience of grief. And yet, for Paul, solace can be found in the consoling beauty of nature and the flow of time that connects us all.
Howardena Pindell's large-scale painting Untitled (1972), investigates themes of control and chance that have been of interest to the artist since the beginning of her career. Spraying paint directly through these perforations, and repeating the process across her large-scale canvases, Pindell arrived at a series of sublime abstract works that are by turns smoulderingly intense and shimmering with light. Through the repeated action of paint, her serried ranks of dots, grid like in essence, become endlessly shifting in their overlays, supporting myriad fluctuations of light, tone and colour. A kind of pointillism freed from the burden of figurative description, this energised, optical field, which reads as predominantly of a single hue from a distance, up close unfolds as a series of shifting, wave-like sensations.
A suite of works on paper by Tal R, whose monograph has just been published by Lund Humphries, are united by nautical imagery and shades of blue. Completed last year, in the run-up to the artist's important solo exhibition at Jerwood Hastings, these works respond to a coastal location and the imagery of the ship. Speaking at the time, the artist said, 'The first thing I thought was that the ideal museum would actually be a ship. When we looked into my stores, I found that I have lots of paintings that fantasise about the sea and ships, which are going into the show. It's a metaphor, though, about getting lost and found-I don't actually like to be out at sea.'
Do Ho Suh's Bathtub, Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (2013) is an example of the artist's iconic fabric sculptures. The work is a life-size evocation of a household fixtures from Suh's former home in New York City, which he first moved into in 1997, shortly after graduating from Yale University. Rendered in the artist's signature translucent polyester and presented, lit be LED, in a glass display case, it is simultaneously highly detailed and ghostly, inviting the viewer to reflect on their interactions with everyday objects and the physical and metaphorical manifestations of memory.
In her quietly luminous paintings, Scottish-born, London-based painter Caroline Walker focuses on intimate portrayals of women at work in domestic and public spaces. Walker's subjects possess an acute psychological intensity. As viewers, we come across them almost as intruders into their world-encountering private thoughts in public spaces, narratives hinted at but never fully told.
Miami Beach Convention Center
1901 Convention Center Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
Meridians Opening (by invitation only)
Tuesday, December 3 2019
4pm to 7pm
Private Day (by invitation only)
Wednesday, December 4 2019
11am to 8pm
Vernissage (by invitation only)
Thursday, December 5 2019
11am to 3pm
Thursday, December 5 2019
3pm to 8pm
Friday, December 6 2019
12 noon to 8pm
Saturday, December 7 2019
12 noon to 8pm
Sunday, December 8, 2019
12 noon to 6pm