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b. 1963, United Kingdom

Anya Gallaccio Biography

Unpredictable is just one of the terms that comes to mind when describing Anya Gallaccio's site-specific installations made using organic matter. From chocolate to sugar, fruit, ice, flowers and more, Gallaccio's materials naturally decay throughout the duration of her exhibitions, allowing the work to shift with time. As a result, her work differs amongst the memories of each viewer and is extremely difficult to catalogue.

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Among Gallaccio's performances and installations, the most renowned is her chocolate room, Stroke (2014) at Edinburgh's Jupiter Artland. With walls created from nearly 90 pounds of chocolate, the interactive installation was lightly scented and beckoned visitors to interact by picking, licking, stroking or biting its surface, suggesting themes of anticipation and lust. As with most of her installations, the smell was at first inviting and enjoyable, but over time became increasingly unpleasant and overpowering. Another example of this is preserve 'beauty' (1991–2003), an installation comprised of bright red flowers arranged within four adjacent rectangular glass panels. Positioned neatly with stalks facing downward, the work recalls both traditionally feminine hobbies such as flower pressing or arranging, and still life and landscape painting genres. However, the ephemeral installation changes drastically throughout its period of display, beyond the control of the artist, gallery or audience. Soon enough the flowers wither, die and rot, decomposing onto the floor below, thereby reverting the romantic connotations of red flowers typically gifted from man to woman. This is experienced not only visually, but also through smell.

Alongside love and decay, other themes inherent to Gallaccio's work include the role of mass production, disposable commodities and consumerism, particularly in relation to waste normally hidden from view. Viewers of her work are consumers and therefore complicit in its waste and decay cycle. Her surrounding environments also heavily influence her practice; when in 2008 she moved from London to San Diego, Gallaccio started incorporating materials such as limestone and granite from the West Coast into her works, as with I still can't remember when or how I lost my way (2014). Though these open cubes are seemingly perfect, mechanised constructions of geometry, blending into their surroundings, each slab of stone is unique in colour and pattern and contains a geological history of its own.

An instrumental and key player of the generation of Young British Artists, Gallaccio was included in the legendary 1988 exhibition, Freeze, curated by Damien Hirst at the London Docklands. She trained at Kingston Polytechnic College and Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2003 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, and her work has appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2015); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2011); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2007); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2004); Tate Britain, London (2003); Serpentine Gallery, London (2000); and Hayward Gallery, London (1997); to name a select few. Presently, Gallaccio splits her time between London and San Diego, where she is a professor at the University of California San Diego.

Jessica Douglas | Ocula | 2018

Anya Gallaccio Featured Artworks

when time just slips by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya Gallacciowhen time just slips, 2005–2009Direct cast bronze, sterling silver, with black patina
90 x 43 x 32 cm
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2018Mineral pigment and dirt on paper
133 x 104.1 x 3.8 cm
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery
Stoke by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioStoke, 1994Chocolate and cardboard
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery

Anya Gallaccio Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, 5,471 miles at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
21 July–15 August 2020 Group Exhibition 5,471 miles Blum & PoeLos Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Anya Gallaccio, Stroke at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
14 September–26 October 2019 Anya Gallaccio Stroke Blum & PoeLos Angeles

Anya Gallaccio Represented By

Blum & Poe contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan Blum & Poe Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo
Lehmann Maupin contemporary art gallery in 536 West 22nd Street, New York, USA Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong, London, Seoul

Anya Gallaccio In Ocula Magazine

Anya Gallaccio Ocula Conversation  |  in partnership with the 21st Biennale of Sydney Anya Gallaccio By Lola Pinder and Alexie Glass-Kantor, Sydney

Anya Gallaccio's practice is characterised by the twin notions of control and transition and, in particular, how each can be implemented and represented. Her approach often involves setting in motion a process and then letting go. Her use of materials that innately decay, melt, rot and transform, speak to the mutability of material and place. The...

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Anya Gallaccio In Related Press

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The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition Related Press The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition

The world-renowned Biennale of Sydney is back next year to celebrate its 45th anniversary exhibition. Set to maintain its status as the largest and best-attended contemporary arts event in Australia, the 21st Biennale of Sydney is anticipated to once again bring an impressive and diverse range of contemporary artists and artworks to the...

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Interrogating Architecture Related Press Interrogating Architecture 5 February 2017, Aesthetica Magazine

There has long been a profound and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture, with many artists encountering or breaking down a boundary between the two disciplines. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, questions what we know and understand about design through [Re]construct, a group exhibition selected from the Arts Council...

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In her own words: Maria Balshaw, new director of Tate Related Press In her own words: Maria Balshaw, new director of Tate 19 January 2017, The Art Newspaper

As 2016 drew to a close, we asked Maria Balshaw, the director of Manchester Art Galleries and the Whitworth at the University of Manchester, to pick her highlights of the year. Last week, the news leaked that she will succeed Nicholas Serota as the next director of the Tate. Balshaw is due to take up the post in June, the first woman to fill the...

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Anya Gallaccio at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Related Press Anya Gallaccio at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego 20 July 2015, Ocula

Anya Gallaccio is known for installations that employ organic materials that are subject to change and decay—flowers and fruit, sugar and ice—even as her work is inflected with a minimalist vocabulary suggesting durability and timelessness.  Recently she has begun working with stone, exploring the sense of time embedded in...

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