Monday, March 26, 2018

Anj Smith. Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.

Anj Smith If Not, Winter.
16 Mar – 19 May 2018.

Anj Smith. Flag and Ball.

Anj Smith. Flag and Ball 'detail'

Anj Smith. Trope Disco.
Anj Smith. Taste.
Anj Smith.Taste 'detail'

Anj Smith. Opera Aperta.
Anj Smith. Excretia (In varying forms).

Press Release: Hauser & Wirth Zürich is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings and etchings by Anj Smith, which marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Switzerland. Eroticism, mortality and fragility are explored alongside investigations into the psychological territory of anxiety. With exquisite detail co-existing alongside jewelled colour banks and thick impasto, Smith continues her interrogation and celebration of the medium of painting.
‘If Not, Winter’ is suffused with a resuscitation of lost, fragile and complex narratives. Referring to a surviving fragment of a lyrical poem by archaic Greek poet Sappho, of which just these three truncated words exist, the poem acts as a springboard for the exploration of language and painting in the context of an asymmetrical and uneven canon. Smith states of the poem, ‘it is in itself both a whole entity and also a signifier of loss; both in the missing lines that surrounded the fragment and in a larger sense of lost histories.’
Making this work in recovery from a period of chronic anxiety, the exhibition title alludes to psychologically darker terrain than Smith’s previous bodies of work. In ‘S.O.S’ (2016 – 2017) at least four unique portraits are at play: whoever is portrayed can be glimpsed through their personal curation of objects. In the implied survival of an unspecified ecological disaster, these relics can also be viewed as a portrait of the environment from which they were retrieved, as reflections on a psychological state or, finally, in a combination of these depictions, co-existing in the multiplicity of Smith’s layers. Objects range from Cartier’s iconic Panther ring, to wild berries, to a shell from the Kent coast; that the berries are described with the same veneration and detail as a lacquer and garnet ring indicates a bleak scenario. The work can be seen as a continuation of Smith’s ‘museum paintings’, a series of ‘portraits’ in which the sitter is not physically shown but their presence suggested by an arrangement of objects.
Enduring throughout Smith’s oeuvre is the breakdown of the distinct genres of portraiture, still life and landscape painting, allowing various elements to exist simultaneously, to varying degrees. In ‘Landscape With Lagerstätte’ (2017) a woman’s resting face is covered in Lagerstätte, a sedimentary stratum that often encloses preserved fossils. Smith’s deposit is ethereal; minute corals and wiry branches, threaded under and through rips in the stitched chiffon, gently hold the delicate fabric in place.
Across the figure’s forehead are painted a dozen brightly coloured pill capsules, sewn in alongside a cosmological Liberty print, which suggest alternate worlds or altered interior states. Alongside the pills and planets are glittering yet empty symbols: the sun, wings, flowers, love hearts and chains. In the juxtaposition of these elements, a psychosomatic landscape emerges. However, as Smith has commented, ‘this body of work perhaps also strikes a more obviously hopeful note, in its testament to survival.’
‘Names of the Hare’ (2017 – 2018) is a direct reference to ‘The Names of the Hare’, an anonymous Middle English ode to the animal and both the possibilities and limits of language. In the poem 77 different names are given for a hare, the recital of which would deliver the creature to the speaker, traditionally assumed to be a hunter. An additional reading of these various names is that the Hare could change his name and nature at will. In Smith’s painting an anonymous figure is shown from behind, almost fusing with the hare secured to its back by a dilapidated homemade muscle vest, also embroidered with clear gemstones.
With the addition of a skirt-like train, the garment becomes a low-fi ‘Beudos’, the erotic garment favoured by Sapphic muses. The Greco-Roman reference appears to question inherited collective idealism and is further echoed in the print of the ‘Beudos’; a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania design featuring the Greek fret. The labyrinthine border takes centre stage, hinting at the maze-like interiority of this androgynous figure.
In ‘Night in May’ (2017), the artist’s single-bristle brush strokes combine with thick wedges of paint, to create a barren icescape. Set against a luscious, deep, many-layered red, hangs a bashed-up relic of a more hedonistic time, the crescent moon from Studio 54, amongst other rescued flotsam. Supported by reflective, jewel-toned wires, the moon hangs precariously as the threaded structure simulates new shapes of birds, cocktails and palm trees, as if attempting to recall lost memories.
At closer inspection, the densely layered organic formations in the lower half of the canvas appear to be a sinewy underworld. Indistinguishable save for their expressions, the tiny multitudes emerge only slightly from the rotting wood and rock in which they are embedded. The build up of these details seems to carry a pathological intention within its specificity and repetition. Allusions to the artist’s personal Winter are revealed, to address what Smith has described as ‘current collective unease regarding global events.’
‘If Not, Winter’ is a multi-layered investigation, located at a cross section where lost art histories, the unstable nature of language, desire, anxiety and alienation all meet. No attempts have been made to artificially separate out these elements, so the work can be viewed through these different lenses – one at a time or all together – embracing the entanglement of phenomena.
Running through the entire show is the artist’s celebration of painting. Smith writes, ‘Detailed areas can trail off into abstraction. Intricate minutiae can exist alongside a slab squeezed straight from the tube. Tiny multicoloured palette-scrapings flicked onto the surface can allude to the failure and deaths of painting in the midst of a seductive colour block that affirms the opposite. Thick impasto wedges hanging proud from the surface, can evoke shit and sublime excess simultaneously. Sheer, barely-there layers can be built up to create unparalleled luminosity. Painting can reveal the subtlest nuance, facilitate the weirdest ambiguities and articulate huge complexity with an immediacy that is hard to ignore. It is perfect for our times.’
Anj Smith. Excretia (In varying forms) 'detail'



Keith Tyson. Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.

Keith Tyson BIG DATA (PAINTINGS 2012 – 2018)

Keith Tyson. 9 Oil Rigs (any style).

Keith Tyson.The Laws of Physics.

Keith Tyson.The Time Machine.
Keith Tyson.The Time Machine (detail).

Press Release: 16 Mar – 19 May 2018, Hauser & Wirth Zürich
Opening: Thursday 15 March 2018, 6 – 8 pm
Hauser & Wirth Zürich is delighted to present a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson. Created between 2012 and 2018, the works on display explore the varied approaches towards painting Tyson employs, from conceptual to mythological to formalist and beyond, and how these methodologies are united in the final result of paint on a canvas. The exhibition title ‘BIG DATA’ references Tyson’s ongoing interest in interconnectivity, universal experiences and the effect of computing and data consumption on himself and society as a whole over the past several decades.
Since 1975, computers, coding and data have been an inextricable element of Tyson’s life. From taking apart a motherboard as a teenager to ‘Artmachine’, a computer Tyson built at the very beginning of his artistic practice. An algorithm generated combinations of words and ideas, which Tyson then realised in a multitude of media. The laws of computer coding are mimicked in Tyson’s artworks through his take on a supposed rule in conceptual art; that there exists a parenthesis within which a conceptual artwork can be made.
In ‘The Things that Came to Pass’ (2014 – 2017), eight panels form a single piece in two elements: eight rules and eight related images painted above each rule. The rule ‘21 artist gangbang’, a reference to Internet pornography is also quite simply a citation of 21 artists’ iconic trademarks that meet in an orgy of pictorial consumption. Damien Hirst’s polka dots meet On Kawara’s date paintings meet Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring.’ Another panel, ‘The 37 Second Picnic’ is a depiction of a picnic Tyson painted in exactly 37 seconds while ‘This particular corner at this particular time’ shows exactly that. The painting in its entirety represents the world Tyson lives in and sees, what is reflected back to him and what he experiences as part of a universal and creative network. This work illustrates that though Tyson’s practice is infused with mathematical and technological process, it can be viewed through a more playful and personal lens.
In a standalone panel work ‘Big Data’ (2017), the information in the bottom half of the canvas shows a space ranging from Unknown to Famous, and African to Eurasian with a and b marking a relatively famous Asian man and a relatively unknown African man respectively. Tyson found the portrait of the African man in a charity shop, replicated it and then painted the likeness of an Asian billionaire in the exact same style. The painting is everything within the frame, including the diagram and words even if our minds interpret them as text, since Tyson explores the relationship between rule and picture co-existing side by side. Also examined is the potential for an artwork to emerge through a unique process in the world – in this case, Tyson’s chance encounter with the painting in a charity shop – and the artist’s appropriation of found imagery.
Chance or unpredictable occurrences continue to inspire Tyson’s artworks, most vividly seen in ‘9 Oil Rigs (Any Style)’ (2017 – 2018), a painting made of nine individually framed canvases. The ‘any style’ comes from a menu in a New York café listing ‘2 Eggs (Any Style)’; the simple phrase merged with oil rigs in Tyson’s mind as he read the newspaper during breakfast. The sculptural form of an oil rig is portrayed in nine different colourful and intense styles. Given the oil industry is consistently under socio-political and economic interrogation, the oil rig can be viewed as a charged subject. However, the work also functions as a painting about the nature of painting itself. With the select medium of oil paint, Tyson brings together several components: a horizon line, the unabashed use of colour, the style in which each rig is painted, the effect of this approach and how the paint physically rests on the canvas. Tyson has grappled to remain free of a particular style or genre of painting throughout his career and remarked, ‘How do you paint the collision of forces that are going on all the time around you? How do you sum up that complexity and kind of wonder of the intricacy of things without deadening it to a single image?’
Tyson’s diverse sources of inspiration also encompass art history and can be witnessed in a number of his flower paintings. In the same way a florist would pick and combine blooms from different regions on a purely aesthetic basis, Tyson chooses assorted painting styles such as photo-realism, renaissance landscape and abstract expressionism, arranging them in an energetic composition. ‘Still Life with Rose Vase and Seashell’ (2015 – 2017) is an example where the riotous frenzy of colour and composition represent the complexity of life and phenomena. ‘Cyborg 2 (Roses)’ (2018) is a photo-realistic ‘cyborg’ combination of hand painted oil on aluminium after previous iterations were photographed and printed.
The most recent work in the exhibition is ‘The Time Machine’ (2018), a wall spanning painting presenting technological advancements from 1958 (an IBM mainframe computer) to 2018 (Google and Facebook server farms). To Tyson this is his version of a prehistoric cave painting, a record of the developments in technology since the mid 20th century and corresponding sociological happenings, from a peace sign in the 1970s to a Super Mario figure appearing in 1988. The two sides collide in a meeting of negative and positive depictions as Tyson records society, alluding to dependence on technology, the methods through which we are informed, and how we process information and a constant influx of imagery. Throughout the exhibition, Tyson’s genuine bewonderment at the infinity of possibility is reflected in his aesthetic and philosophical approach to our contemporary existence and recent history.
Keith Tyson. Landscape with Pitch, Roll and Yaw.

Keith Tyson. An orgy in Rotterdam censored for Instagram.

Keith Tyson. Still  Life with Rose, Vase and Seashell.
Keith Tyson. Still  Life with Rose, Vase and Seashell (detail).

Keith Tyson. Tales of the City.
Keith Tyson. 16 Bit Memories.

Keith Tyson. 16 Bit Memories (detail).


RECENT WORK (Group Show). Jedlitschka Gallery, Zürich.

March 22 - May 12 2018

Chris Dennis.

Pat Noser.
Rik Beemsterboer.
Alex Bär.
Bogomir  Krajnz.

Bogomir  Krajnz (detail).
Marc Moser.
JJ White (L). Pep Camps (R).
Pep Camps.
Pep Camps.
Mario Dalpra.

Mario Dalpra.
Thomas Santhori.
Pep Camps. Bruno Müller Meyer.
Chris Dennis.

Bogomir  Krajnz.

Tobia Bucher (L) David Segeta (R).

Chris Dennis. A Little Less. 40 x 40cm. 2018