White Cube is pleased to present correspondence, an off-site project conceived in three parts, each of which proposes pairings of artists with shared formal or conceptual concerns.
Theaster Gates | Haim Steinbach
Theaster Gates and Haim Steinbach create sculptures informed by the methodology of display and the meaning of one object's relationship to another and, equally, to the viewer. Challenging the systems of value we ascribe to objects and considering the condition and contexts of their reception, in their work the readymade becomes a locus for a nuanced rendering of history, race and society.
Theaster Gates' practice is wide-ranging and polysemous, drawing attention to aesthetic modes and classifications; to pre-determined ways of understanding culture and to how these emerge from and connect to history, race and society. His works draw on collective memory, politics and the resonance of material objects within different cultures. Reflecting on social history through specificity and context, the use of forms and tropes in Gates' painting, sculpture and installation become potent metaphors for marginalisation, exclusion or obstruction.
Haim Steinbach's work issues forth new contexts for a wide range of objects that are handmade and mass-produced, ordinary as well as extraordinary, new and old. He has said that his work is 'about vernacular, which is a common form of language: things that we make, express and produce' and that it is 'not only about selecting and arranging objects of my own choice, but also presenting the objects chosen by others'. Steinbach creates work existing between 'high' and 'low' culture, the unique and the multiple, the personal and the universal.
Anselm Kiefer | Ibrahim Mahama
Anselm Kiefer's complex lead-covered paintings address questionable histories and the obfuscation of text or truth. One of the most important European artists of his generation, he examines, uncompromisingly, historical themes and the legacy of recent European events. Drawing on literature, politics, religion and philosophy, an age-old paradox of circularity is made manifest in his paintings: of beginning and end, form and un-form, decay and rebirth. Yet where there is total destruction in Kiefer's symbolism there is equally the potential for redemption—such are the mysterious forces beyond earthbound limits.
Ibrahim Mahama's work harnesses the potential for materials to transform, as a means to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalisation and economic exchange. His interest in material, process and audience has led him to repurpose jute sacks in many wall and installation works. Synonymous with the trade markets of Ghana where he lives and works, and fabricated in South East Asia, the sacks are imported by the Ghana Cocoa Boards to transport cocoa beans and eventually end up as multi-functional objects, used for the transportation of food, charcoal and other commodities. 'You find different points of aesthetics within the surface of the sacks' fabric', Mahama has said. 'I am interested in how crisis and failure are absorbed into this material with a strong reference to global transaction and how capitalist structures work.'
Antony Gormley | Isamu Noguchi
In his work Antony Gormley focuses on the experience of inhabiting a body, and its relationship to space and our environment. Gormley's approach constitutes an ongoing questioning of the human project in light of our industrial inheritance, our relationship to the elemental world and to the perpetual mutability of our contemporary moment.
One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Noguchi's practice was founded on an experimental approach to spatial negotiation and to a wide variety of sensorial materials. Through his sculpture, Noguchi aimed to open up a dialogue with the viewer; one that is reciprocal and informed and directed by our own physical sensations.
Press release courtesy White Cube.