Curated by Marjolaine Levy
Group show with: Leonor Antunes, Farah Atassi, David Diao, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Josiah McElheny, Bojan Sarcevic, Franck Scurti, Simon Starling, Lucy William
Abstract Cabinet (After El Lissitzky) (2003) by Lucy Williams, Always After (The Glass House) (2006) by Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, 1:300 (After Wilhelm Wagenfeld) (2010) by Simon Starling' Reading aloud a sampling of the works offered within this exhibition one word becomes immediately apparent: After. In this instance it is not used the way the appropriationists used it, but instead it helps delineate the work of a generation of artists for whom the modernism of the first half of the 20th century has become a pervading reference.
The Modernism explored within these works refers to the historical avant-gardes and to those who succeeded them, in particular to those who belonged to the fields of applied arts, design and architecture rather than that of fine art. Whilst the advocates of the stories told by these contemporary works are major or secondary players, almost all of them belong to a moment in history when, from Bauhaus to Constructivism, a religion of the new and a cult of function, combining techniques, morals and aesthetics, have taken hold of the collective creative conscience.
Whilst a number of exhibitions may have already analyzed the return of a modernist style through the work of contemporary artists, their intention was more focused on the nostalgia of a passed era where it was thought art could change life or the criticism of the excess of functionalism. The exhibition After attempts to escape these two trends. The common aspect to this exhibition resides in the fact that it tries to show the work of artists practicing today who are dealing with the complex relationship between modernism, ornament and artisanship, in this way the inherent contradiction within modernism, between an anatomic art, firmly separated from life and an art totally engaged with life to the point it confuses itself with it.
This exhibition will include works by Leonor Antunes (born 1972 in Lisbon), Farah Atassi (born 1981 in Brussels), David Diao (born 1943 in Chengdu), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (born 1961 in Madrid), Josiah McElheny (born 1967 in Epsom), Bojan Sarcevic (born 1974 in Belgrad), Franck Scurti (born 1965 in Lyon), Simon Starling (born 1967 in Epsom) and Lucy Williams (born 1972 in Oxford).