Victoria Miro is delighted to participate in The Armory Show (Booth 600) with a presentation of works relating to the theme of the home and interior space by Doug Aitken, Milton Avery, Hernan Bas, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ian Hamilton Finlay, David Harrison, Alice Neel, Jorge Pardo, Celia Paul, Grayson Perry, Tal R and Do Ho Suh.
A mis-en-scène devised to bring to mind a domestic interior, the presentation includes a number of works that resemble furniture and furnishings. Within a lexicon of domestic iconography, these sculptural works reimagine the everyday to address function, context and meaning, and to examine the various guises of home: as an intimate sphere, a site of rootedness, safety, or privacy, a place to escape to (or from), or one through which we seek to define ourselves in relation to others.
Celebrated for his use of vibrant colours, eclectic patterns and natural and industrial materials, Jorge Pardo has since the 1990s drawn on the historical intersections of fine art, architecture and design to create a highly individual body of work. The presentation includes a unique chandelier by the artist that offers an extended consideration of physicality and immateriality, the visible and invisible. While the lamp itself possessess sculptural form, the light it emits less tangible. Meticulously replicating the architecture, fixtures and appliances of the places in which he has lived and worked, Do Ho Suh’s one-to-one scale translucent fabric structures, of which Specimen Series: Microwave Oven, Unit 2, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA, 2015, is a resonant example, give form to ideas about migration, transience and shifting identities. For Suh, home is not only a physical space by also an intangible, metaphorical, and psychological domain. The physical and psychical properties of objects are also considered in works by Elmgreen & Dragset, such as Home is the Place You Left, 2012, a model of a rustic house placed on a rocking chair that speaks poetically of loss, loneliness and isolation. Alerting us to shifting concepts of historical identity and cultural heritage, the ghostly work The Old World, Fig. 2, 2014, comprises a white fireplace and mantelpiece, upon which a stack of white books and a white globe are displayed. Drained of colour, the arrangement of blank globe and unprinted and un-openable books (which are in fact made of carved wood) suggests a questioning of old traditions and old habits within a new world order.
Throughout his career, the philosopher, sculptor and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 – 2006) drew on and reinvigorated the classical tradition, applying his fierce intelligence and laconic wit to expand, liberate and challenge our understanding and perception of the written word. His rarely-shown Terror and Virtue, c1985 – a pair of glazed ceramic candlesticks in the form of Tuscan order columns – embodies the twin pillars of decorum and disquiet that underpin his practice. In his work Grayson Perry uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about society, its pleasures as well as it injustices and flaws, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes. Works on view by the artist include the recent tapestry Red Carpet, 2017. While the title of the work evokes a formal and reverent welcome, its style is influenced by the tradition of Afghan war rugs and its content reflects an at times fractious national discourse. ‘This is a map of British society as evocative and inaccurate as a geographical one made by a medieval scholar,’ explains Perry. Contained within the outline of a house, the figures of riot police in Doug Aitken’s lightbox work 2943 Canfield Drive (Riot House), 2016, indicate a charged moment of unrest, while the title refers to the scene of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
Tal R’s Retired Professor, 2014, is an example of the artist’s hand-made sofas, or opiumbeds, which are made from old and new rugs sourced throughout Scandinavia and treated with paint and dye in the studio. The idea of the opiumbed suggests a hazy, latent space of unfettered thinking, the functional object delineating a non-functional space of thought. It represents just one example of the ways in which Tal R plays with the porous boundary between art and life. Another can be seen in paintings such as House 44, 2015, and Babylon, 2017, from his ongoing Sexshops series, in which the artist brings a quizzical eye to the unconscious actions of seduction, desire and gratification. Largely devoid of people, the paintings imply meetings – perhaps between viewer and a potential object of desire – that take place beyond the façade, and beyond the surface of the canvas. Devoid of people too, yet brimful of human presence, Celia Paul’s painting A Room in Bloomsbury, 2016, is a depiction of the artist’s London home and studio, in which the quiet, contemplative nature of Paul’s art, as well as it’s connection with subject matter and deep-felt spirituality, is expressed through the play of light across a spartan interior.
The genres of still life and portraiture unite several of the paintings on show. Alice Neel (1900 – 1984) is represented by a selection of works from the 1940s to the 1970s. While candour and empathy are hallmarks of Neel’s art, her portraits of children, such as Sabrina, 1976, are especially expressive of intimacy and compassion, as seen through the prism of her own experience as a mother. Neel engages a perhaps less generous, though no less honest, scrutiny in her depiction of the New York art collector and dealer Ellie Poindexter, 1962.
During the summer of 1946, Milton Avery (1885 – 1965) spent three months travelling through Mexico. Completed after his return to New York, the important painting Still Life with Skull, 1946 – which depicts an arrangement of objects in his Greenwich Village studio and apartment – reflects the profound and lasting effect of Mexico’s sun-kissed colours on Avery’s palette. During this period, Avery continued to flatten and simplify his forms, influencing younger artists such as Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, who regarded Avery as a mentor. Newman, in particular, was impressed by Still Life with Skull, and the verticals of its background anticipate his own exalted ‘zips’. The work is complemented by a later still life, Lone Flower, 1963, which depicts a bowl and vase on a low table against a pale, cross-hatched ground. By this stage of his life, Avery was in a fragile state of health and this highly poignant work has the air of a fond recollection.
The importance of design in the formation of identity is explored in Hernan Bas’ Memphis Living paintings, such as Memphis Living (Stoneware Still Life), 2014, and Memphis Living (The Odd One), 2014. These works are in part an homage to the designs of the short-lived Memphis Group founded in Milan by architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, designs which Bas first encountered predominantly through their pop cultural references and simulations. Memphis styles became firmly rooted in Bas’ pre-teenage subconsciousness, attesting to the prevalence of the ‘Memphis look’ on the big and small screen in films such as Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice and the kids’ TV show Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and through it he explores the idea of the artificial versus the real. Depicting a small dog on an ornate sofa, David Harrison’s Velvet Goldmine, 2012, makes reference to the David Bowie song and, perhaps, the glam-rock daydreaming of Todd Haynes’ 1998 film while, in the background, a full moon suggests that magic and bewitchment are more than likely on the cards.
Additionally, Victoria Miro will have works available to view by Yayoi Kusama.
Thursday, March 8: 12-8pm
Friday, March 9: 12-8pm
Saturday, March 10: 12-8pm
Sunday, March 11: 12-6pm