Victoria Miro is delighted to participate in Frieze London 2017 with a stand dedicated to the theme of the nocturne. Nocturnal glamour, intrigue and magic, and nighttime as an agent of transaction, transition and transformation areconjured in works by Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Hernan Bas, Varda Caivano, Stan Douglas, Ian HamiltonFinlay, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Idris Khan, Yayoi Kusama, Tal R, Do Ho Suh and Sarah Sze.
Works on display include NIGHT, 2016, by Doug Aitken. This example of the artist's iconic sculptural text works is composed of mirrored stainless steel, its lettering picked out in contrasting midnight blue. Terse, yet slippery in meaning, NIGHT speaks in form and in contentof a crepuscular moment, when the certainties of daylight give way to the spatial, and other, ambiguities of night. Deceptive brevity, along with an invitation to the viewer to impose their own interpretations, is a theme shared with Ian Hamilton Finlay's A,E,I,O,Blue, 1992, one of the late Scottish artist's rarely seen neon works, which date back to the early seventies and run parallel to his inscriptions in stone.
Populated by dilapidated hotels and dimly-lit alleyways, largescale photographic works by Stan Douglas, such as Bumtown, 2015 and Lazy Bay, 2015, borrow from film noir. The darkly hyperreal quality of these images is the result of digital rendering - a means of image-making foreign to both the naked eye and the camera lens, which departs from logics of documentary accuracy even as it makes possible an almost hallucinatory sharpness of detail. Isaac Julien's largescale photographic works, such as After George Platt Lynes (Looking for Langston Vintage Series), 1989/2017, are similarly infused with a 1940s film-noir feel. Revisiting aspects of his seminal work Looking for Langston, in these images Julien revisits and expand on the film's multilayered narratives of memory and desire set within a nocturnal shadow world of expression and repression.
Metamorphosis and magic are driving forces behind Christian Holstad's collage The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima, 2010. Taking as his starting point a classic Japanese tale dating back to the Sengoku Era (1568-1615), Holstad creates a scene of erotic pleasure, ritual, costume and theatre beneath a hazy full moon. Events carried out under cover of darkness are referred to in further works on display. Following a period of research while in residence at Jesus College Cambridge in 2016, Hernan Bas has developed new subject matter for his work including the famed 'Night Climbers of Cambridge', a group of students whose nocturnal ascents of the ancient buildings of the university and city gained them a cult following during the early decades of the twentieth century. Pleasures of the night, though not necessarily limited to nighttime, are explored by Tal R in his new Sexshops paintings, of which Peep Show, 2017, is a resonant example. The artist sees the exteriors of sex clubs, massage parlours, strip clubs, adult theatres and other red-light establishments as being metaphorically allied to the function of desire within a painting. For the artist, that which is on display is only successful in as much as it activates the imagination, hinting at something tantalisingly out of reach; in the 'back room' as the artist says - unseen and unknown. A new painting by Jules de Balincourt continues his fascination with the Los Angeles landscape as a disjunctured synthesis of the human, the architectural, and the organic, a repository of the American Dream and desires that seem ever-elusive in the neon glow of the metropolis at night.
Abstraction and its relationship to themes of the nocturne and enveloping darkness are explored in new Infinity Net paintings by Yayoi Kusama. Kusama has described her Infinity Net paintings as visualisations of hallucinations that have recurred since her childhood. During these episodes, her visual field is obscured by an overlay of nets or dots that appear to cover her surroundings. With their dark palette of blues and blacks, these new paintings heighten a sense of being cloaked. As Kusama has said: '...the spell of the dots and the mesh enfolded me in a magical curtain of mysterious, invisible power.' In Varda Caivano's practice abstraction undergoes a rigorous examination, reinforcing a painterly territory as something fluid, undetermined, and open for constant re-evaluation. While the colour harmonies of Untitled, 2012, may be suggestive of dwindling daylight, equally the rhythmic interplay of forms gives rises to thoughts of the nocturne in a musical sense.
Works by Idris Khan, such as the painting A Day Like This, 2015, are gradually built up with strands of text applied on top of one another. The results are intensely dark with a dense radial constellation of words creating an image that suggests a contained energy emanating from a central point. In recent works, including Silence 3, 2017, composed of glass stamped with blue ink, and A Kind of Light, 2017, in which red ink is stamped on to black gesso, Khan has worked with texts that attempt to describe almost unimaginable situations of incarceration and sensory deprivation. Darkness unites the works - both physical darkness and the metaphorical and emotional darkness of his source material. Sharing Khan's deft enfolding of rational geometry with unquantifiable human experience is Do Ho Suh. A meticulous replication of part of his home during his undergraduate years at Rhode Island School of Design, Main Entrance, 388 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA, 2016, is a sonorous example of the artist's Hub works - transitory, connecting spaces between rooms, such as vestibules and corridors, that speak metaphorically about movement between cultures and the blurring of public and private, as well as reflecting on the passage of the artist's own life. Rendered in a rich blue fabric, the work speaks to other transitions - the solid forms of urban daytime ceding to the less certain architecture of night, where viewers (who are invited to walk through the piece) are drawn into a space of enchantment, mutability and potential.
A series of screenprints by Sarah Sze mark a singular moment in time - 1 January 2014 - and are based on newspapers gathered from around the world on that date, including Dubai, Mexico City, Santiago and Cairo, with all images replaced by depictions of the midnight sky. A new sculptural work, Model for a Heavy Sky, 2017, will also be on display. Sze has referred to her small-scale sculptures as being discrete models serving as their own temporary site marking a precisely composed moment. The sculptures, conceived as models of chance occurrences, highlight the tension between the effort to map, dissect and understand information, and the inevitable measure of futility in that effort. While the delicate hammock form of Model for a Heavy Sky can be seen as a model for 'framing absence', it also makes reference to Sze's large-scale work, Hammock (for A. Albers), 2017, which will be on display as part of Frieze Sculpture for the duration of Frieze London 2017. Evocative of the absent body, it speaks equally to ideas of reverie and the boundaries of consciousness that prefigure sleep.
Wednesday 4 October
Thursday 5 October (Premium Day) to Sunday 8 October