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Air de Paris presents THOMAS BAYRLE | ELIZA DOUGLAS

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10 Nov 2016 to 7 Jan 2017

Air de Paris
32, rue Louise Weiss
FR - 75013
Paris
France
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Thomas Bayrle
12


Artists in this exhibition: Thomas Bayrle, Eliza Douglas


THOMAS BAYRLE 
Cowboy Tapisserie Pietà

November 10, 2016 - January 7, 2017
Opening November 10 6-9pm

Cowboy Tapestry Pietà or the meeting of three virgins and a cowboy played by American actor Fred Gwynne. The portrait comes from a screen shot from the film Pet Sematary, adapted from the -Stephen King novel, and shows its figure lying on the ground, pixelated to resemble a cityscape. Here we have a symbol par excellence of America, especially in its evocation of the Pop culture that has been flowering since the late 1960s. But don’t get it wrong, Thomas Bayrle can’t be pigeonholed: he’s no more Pop than Op!

In Bayrle’s new exhibition at Air de Paris our cowboy will be rubbing shoulders with a fictional wooden shopping mall and a series of paintings on card from 2012 whose source images date from the artist’s first visit to Japan in 1978. He spent six weeks in Tokyo back then, walking night and day as he photographed the city.

Another fundamental aspect of the Bayrle oeuvre is the move from one medium to another, from the distortion of a once-artisanal motif to the digitally inflected. We find this happening in his installation Capsel, 68 photographs from 1984–1985 documenting the making of a monumental collage showing a man and a woman in bed. Scrutinising this new work, we find that the distortion of the image was effected by printing it onto manually stretched latex – an easier way of simulating ongoing movement. In its current version Capsel gives an eloquent account of brilliant manipulation and transformation of iconic forms.

Lastly, and most importantly, we offer a sneak preview of four new works linked to the project Pietà for World War I, an imposing tapestry produced in association with Aubusson to mark the centenary of the First World War. Tapestry is a medium Bayrle is particularly familiar with: in 1956 he began training as a weaver in a textile plant, an experience that accounts for the specific character of his work, as well as his fascination with various tools for mechanising and duplicating woven representations. This image-within-image approach is interspersed with representatives of a certain form of modernity and mass production: thus we find new Madonnas at freeway interchanges, and Andrea Mantegna seemingly in dialogue with the beaches at Rimini.

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ELIZA DOUGLAS 
I am All Soul

November 10, 2016 - January 7, 2017
Opening November 10 6-9pm

Is this a press release. I think not. It is an existence. The artist tells me they were born in 1984, an auspicious year, in New York, a commotional place and it is their first solo show. Currently they are living most of the year in Frankfurt because they are studying painting at the Staedelschule school and will complete that in 2017.

Though I’ve known this painter less than ten years but more than five I’ve always been aware of Eliza Douglas as a tall androgynous American female with a quietly radiant mission that’s getting planned in the interior of them.

I, myself, was doing a gig at Staedelschule school last winter and since we are friends I went to Eliza Douglas’s studio. They showed me a video they had made of the poet Dorothea Lasky who was reading her work and I think there may have been a trap door out of which the apparitional poet stepped out and declaimed. Maybe it is because I am a poet that I thought it but I felt that Dorothea Lasky was a devil stepping out of hell and I was very aware that Eliza Douglas had created the bright doorway through which the devil might come. And go. In Eliza’s studio I thought about bodies and how they are mysterious, vanishing, chimerical, always surprising. As I write this my own body must be here but I am as free of it as I ever am right now. I wonder if Eliza Douglas thought of themself as a super hero when they made this work.

I think of that comic-book character who elongated his arms at will, rescuing people, wrapping his stretchy limbs around a thief and making a smart remark like not so fast big guy. Comic super heroes are always both funny & noir, an American tone. Eliza’s humble fantastic paintings don’t strike me as particularly American work. They are as jokey like the poet springing out of the door because a painting historically is made by a hand and yet Eliza Douglas hired other painters to render the perfect Caucasian hands; perhaps a pair of frank feet also root her impossible and witty structure in the ground. The paint streak that Eliza Douglas makes next that is sprouting from the hands is genital in its muscular reach, a dumb fountain in the middle of the park portraying nothing but the ambition to spout water, passionately wondering if it is enough yet magical in its simplicity, in its enigmatic act: to be, and to deliberately appear as something human, a letter, deranged, but activated by a wish to put “hand” to paint. I can talk about one painting or all her paintings but whatever I do, they sizzle expectantly because these paintings are the youngest, coolest and the most antique. At once. What they’ve got is the wish to make art; unabashedly connecting this to that, employing the robotics of paint to start painting. These paintings make me want to laugh because they are all joy. They pulled it off, tricking the puppet of painting into coming alive again with so much less than you’d expect could do so much. It’s good to be here. We are standing in Eliza Douglas’s humble and iridescent new show. It is quest itself. It begins in the darkness of the cave and is waking up. Like the poet they are stepping out. All around the painter is day - a baby cries at the start but an adult laughs. I hear that laughter now. Yep they s-t-r-e-t-c-h and they’re up. What a day!

Eileen Myles



Air de Paris
1000dessins






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