Taxa Seoul, 1st, 73–479 Songjeong–dong, Seongdong–gu, Seoul, South Korea
Galerie Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present a group show of new and significant works by Jean-Marie Appriou, Martin Boyce, Austin Eddy, Amy Feldman, Louisa Gagliardi, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Shara Hughes, Wyatt Kahn, Sofia Mitsola, Chemu Ng’Ok, Tobias Pils, Tschabalala Self, and Sue Williams. The show reflects vital discourses within contemporary art and highlights the manifold approaches to painting and sculpture integral to the gallery’s program. It is the gallery’s second collaboration with the design studio Taxa in Seoul’s lively Seongdong district.
Jean-Marie Appriou’s (born 1986 in Brest, FR) sculptures evoke archaic forms and are inspired by contemporary but also mythological and futuristic worlds. His works are often crafted from aluminum and bronze, the design possibilities of which the artist furthers through experimentation with finishes and in combination with other materials, including blown glass. By alluding to familiar forms, be they animal or human, and developing his unique, almost alchemical approach to his source material, Appriou has created his very own mythology.
Martin Boyce (born 1967 in Hamilton, UK) reworks and references the textures and forms of the built environment. Using the iconography of the everyday alongside the formal and conceptual histories of modern architecture and design, his sculptures often form poetic landscapes which merge interior and exteior spaces. Alongside his large-scale, site-specific installations, Boyce’s output also encompasses the reimagining of more modest utilitarian objects. Vents, screens, telephone booths, fireplaces and lanterns are incorporated into a wider body of work imbued with the language of urbanism and punctuated with moments of unexpected tenderness and beauty.
Since 2018, the painter and sculptor Austin Eddy (born 1986, Boston, MA, US) has been reevaluating the dwindling conversations of modern painting in a world juxtaposed somewhere between abstraction and reality. Eddy’s evocative works playfully use brilliant colors, layered textures, vibrant bird motifs, and abstract planes of light, whilst all the while investigating loss and the fleeting passage of time that is the human condition. Perched on the edge of reality, his works are a visual poem celebrating the ephemeral moment that exists only for a second, before flying away into the past.
Amy Feldman (Born 1981 in New Windsor, NY, US) is recognized for her iconic painting language and commitment to large-scale gray-on-gray abstractions. Feldman’s investigation in the color gray highlights the significance and potential that can be found in neutrality—how something can appear neutral but is, in fact, charged with great power of expression. Feldman typically works in series, presenting distilled iterations of unique forms, which relate to how images and signs are quickly interpreted, remembered, and misremembered.
Louisa Gagliardi’s (born 1989 in Sion, CH) paintings exist as reflections: internally, of artist and viewer, and of the rapid acceleration of technology in our visualized and socialized worlds. Their liminal status, as both digitally rendered images and physically confronting objects, speaks as much to contemporary concerns of self-mediated personas as they do to the compositions and narratives of the classics of art history.
The sculptor Matthew Angelo Harrison (born 1989 in Detroit, MI, US) is known for his clear block “encapsulations” of found African artifacts that scrutinize and bring a lens to the ineradicable effects of racism and colonialization. With rigorous technical methods, Harrison enshrines the found objects, such as African wooden sculptures and bone, in acrylic resin, plexiglass, and industrial modeling clay that he then sculpts using computer numerical control (CNC) machines. Harrison has also used these manufacturing techniques to encase recent artifacts of the American working class, speaking to labor and inequality, the politics of mass production, and anthropology.
Shara Hughes (born 1981 in Atlanta, GA, US) refers to her paintings and drawings as psychological or invented landscapes, a term that derives from her working process and describes the way her paintings are created only in the very moment of painting. Hughes states that during painting, her works are created purely from the inside; this inside, however, is strongly informed by a deep knowledge of art history as well as the work of contemporary peers, as her frenetic colors and vibrant brushstrokes show.
Working with linen, sheets of lead, oil stick, and shaped stretchers, Wyatt Kahn (born 1983 in New York, NY, US) constructs what can be considered, for lack of a better term, “specific objects.” Neither painting nor sculpture, in the strict sense of the art forms, they are both, and more. The artist’s three-dimensional wall works draw on a formal figurative reference, which becomes so abstracted as to take on an obscure semiotic or linguistic complexion.
Sofia Mitsola (born 1992 in Thessaloniki, GR) works primarily with painting to examine the female body. By looking at figures in ancient Egyptian and Greek sculpture, Japanese animation, and pornography she composes her own mythological characters and places them in geometrical, stagelike compositions. These, are painted in vibrant colours and are layered with washes and impasto. Her paintings often feature bare, larger than life characters who address the viewer with their direct gaze and invite them to look back. Through this act, Mitsola forms dynamic relationships between the painting and the viewer to establish new hierarchies and play with ideas of voyeurism, power, and control.
Chemu Ng’ok’s (born 1989 in Nairobi, KEN) work provides a fertile ground for different interpretations and theories, which include black feminism, transition, revolution, protest, blackness, existentialism, the body, justice, power and the theory of affect. Through drawing and painting, she unravels power struggles that happen between the self and the institution. She believes that it is through understanding one’s own psychological identity that one can overcome a system of oppression. The work ties the psychological and the corporeal together. Both work together in the way of ‘being’ within a body, and expressing that ‘being’ in the painting. Thus painting becomes an expression of bodily influence and mental condition.
Tobias Pils’ (born 1971 in Linz, AT) black, white, and grayscale paintings and graphic works are almost beyond interpretation. His painting process is characterized by planning, which then negates itself throughout its execution. As a result, representation flips into abstraction, figuration turns into composition. Pils’ work creates an unease of interpretation and challenges the notion of subjectivity in painting: His method follows intuition and is created in the context of the painter’s everyday.
In process and presentation, Tschabalala Self’s (born 1990 in Harlem, NY, US) work explores the agency involved in myth creation and the psychological and emotional effects of projected fantasy. Self has sustained a practice wholly concerned with Black life and embodiment, with an intended audience from within that same community. In a flurry of stitches, Self assembles fully formed characters who, individually and situationally, hold power over their self-presentation and external perception. A power frequently denied to Black American people in their daily lives.
Since Sue Williams’ (born 1954 in Chicago Heights, IL, US) pictorial and sculptural work came into the public eye in the 1990s, it has undergone great changes. At the beginning of her career, Williams painted figures that were heavily influenced by comic books and the pictorial language of advertisement. These paintings often showed domestic violence and explicit sexual content, which were mostly understood as a feminist critique of the patriarchal society and of war. Over the years, Williams sometimes rawly applied figurative scenes changed into more casual and extended compositions until they grew into almost or total abstractions, into intertwined, swirling compositions consisting of body parts, orifices, and betokened organs.