06 May 2011
  Sculpture & Installation 


Paul Lee, Untitled (Washcloth), 2009
Paul Lee, Untitled (Washcloth), 2009
© Paul Lee, courtesy of Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
11 May-5 June 2011
Open: Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6
Private View: Sunday, 8 May 2011, 2 to 5
Curated by Rebecca Geldard
The works selected for 'Personal Use' identify points of connection and collapse between the public and the private; as both malleable concepts and everyday definitive territories. Though made from or with reference to perfunctory materials and commonplace encounters, each object, image or instruction offers a route between its intimate world of used things and the social sphere to consider the human scale of a situation and its pixel placement in a wider context. This micro-macro shift between the informal concerns of the individual and the formal presentation of ideas and objects highlights the increasing complexity of interpreting everyday signs and symbols in different spatial contexts; whether in the home, on the street or by way of the screen.
The viewer is asked to consider, via aspects of the private encounter, various collectively resonant social situations and perspectives: from a non-specific sense of discord with the general state of things, to issues surrounding sexual identity, consumer culture and the role of the individual within civic power structures. While none of the artists here appear to take issue with the technological present there is a defiant physicality and a slipperiness to their making strategies that challenge definitions of location or connectivity. For the works are very much in the room -- visceral and temporal evocations of human narratives -- data captured, ephemera washed, kneaded, scrubbed and printed into a subtle range of material states. Yet, the sense of being able to access the delta time between the associative frames that the function, form and placement of matter elicits, speaks as much about the synaptic nature of virtual world navigation as the cold comfort of objects felt.
Paul Lee's formally precise, but equally tender, arrangements of dyed, cut-and-sewn sections of towels and washcloths convey the beauty and the vulnerability of very different canonical forms, specifically the male body and the motifs of abstract painting. Fabric is also an important ingredient in Kalin Lindena's series of 'Oberwindien' (flags). Her curious toffee-brittle mix of glass, clothing and heraldic forms brings to mind a wealth of domestic, institutional and art-object territories: the airing of molten substances, political views and life laundry. Industry, and all its human associations, is at the heart of Mhairi Vari's 'Parched', a sculpture that is certainly not what it seems. The tool-box odds and ends in the writing-desk tray and the mug of stone-cold tea on top, have been hand-carved by the artist from the graphite components of a nuclear reactor.
Matthew Smith uses and appropriates familiar stuff for his sculptures and assemblages. His particular modes of re-making and presentation often hint at the possibility of logical or practical relationships between people and things -- Smith is aware of the systems of meaning his chosen objects and ephemera are implicated within -- yet also suggest certain states of mind; the influence of perception on matter. Art collective WITH transposes the visual languages of art, media and the corporate world to explore notions of exchange and the role of the consumer within them. Their limited edition scratch- and playing-card works are elaborate IOUs inviting the purchaser into a pact, ultimately with themselves.
Audrey Reynolds' plasticine sculptures, carpet works and painterly compositions are wrought with the tension of existing between states. Moulded objects appear the evidence of a physical fight between mantle-ornamental and abstract-sculptural sensibilities; plywood surfaces host inconclusive images comprised of hand-made and accidental marks. Vittorio Santoro's time-based drawings are equally elusive for they might be described, as text, image, object and map. The expressions he chooses, while rooted within the processes and journeys he undertakes to make them, are always open to the widest interpretation.
Southwark Park
T +44 (0)20 7237 1230

LANG/BAUMANN, "Beautiful Bridge #1", 2011
LANG/BAUMANN, "Beautiful Bridge #1", 2011
Peinture mate ; 10 x 68 cm
Courtesy of Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris
29.04.2011 - 04.06.2011
Private view Thursday 28 April 2011, from 6 pm
Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann were born in the early 1970s and have been working together for a decade now. Their instantly recognisable signature, L/B, serves as a kind of trademark, “a sign indicating control”, as one might concisely define it. But L/B does not stand for one of those impeccably marketed art multinationals that market their spin-offs in all the right emporia; rather, this is little family firm that jealously guards the secrets of its production. And their production is meticulous, not something rattled off on a frantic assembly line; it is made to measure, and nothing is subcontracted. It all starts in an old factory in Burgdorf, a small town in German-speaking Switzerland where green pastures and industry cohabit. The place is a cooperative, combining production, design and family life. Some may consider the model a bit shop-worn and unproductive, but for Sabina Lang and Daniel Baumann this is where they work towards the modestly utopian construction of a world that is more beautiful, gentler, rounder and more colourful, while at the same time elaborating their radical and rigorous art. They are relaxed about embracing the forms and motifs of their childhood, those of the 1960s, without lapsing into nostalgia or reaction. References to the past are part of a strategy based on using familiar signs that link simultaneously to personal experience and the collective imagination. The artists seem to share the spirit of that age in which faith in the future and the breaking down of barriers between artistic disciplines combined with an uninhibited assimilation of popular culture; a time when music, architecture, art, design and social sciences moved forward together to the benefit of art. L/B respond to the disenchantment of the noughties with their “beautiful entrance”, their “beautiful walls”, their “beautiful lounges”, their “beautiful windows” and their “Spielfeld” (play area). For them, designing a bar, a table football set, a snooker table or even a hotel room holds the promise of a unique aesthetic experience. Touching, using or inhabiting their spaces – their works are like invitations addressed to the spectator. The relational codes pertaining to relaxation, well-being and play are not an end in themselves but a simple and fresh means of access to the work through hedonistic exchange.
The materials and forms are chosen for the visual and functional qualities. The carpeting is soft, and has a considerable effect on the acoustics. The bright, plastic surfaces change the way we perceive dimensions and distances. The wall paintings and installations favour overlooking views, angles and kinetic motifs in order to heighten the effect of disorientation. L/B work by covering over what already exists (walls, roads, sports grounds). They act on the surface. Their all-over practice allows them to go beyond the wall as exhibition area and make free use of the floor, ceiling and furniture in their conception of environments. Their “beautiful walls” enact the transition from surface to volume, from two dimensions to three-dimensional space.
Neither besotted nor blind, Lang and Baumann are very much artists of their times. They perfectly master the potential of the forms they use and articulate their social and political corollaries (a wind of freedom and a belief in the capacity of politics to change society). Where design plays on seriality and wide distribution, L/B propose works that inflect commercial logics. The Hotel Everland consists of a single room. To reserve it, a potential client will have more need of persistence than of money. Where architecture is built and conceived in the long term, L/B’s environments place the emphasis on ephemeral forms linked to pre-existing architectural spaces, notably the white cube. In materialising their pragmatic vision of exhibition spaces and their habitability, L/B dispel all ambiguity: for them, the everyday experience of architecture and design will always be an art, and not a function in lieu of an eventual utopia.
- Yann Chevallier, T(e)xtes, éditions Loevenbruck, Paris 2009.
Sabina Lang (born 1972 in Bern, Switzerland) and Daniel Baumann (born 1967 in San Francisco, CA, USA) live and work in Burgdorf, Switzerland. Recent exhibitions: 2010, Street Painting #5, R & Art, Vercorin, Switzerland; Lang/Baumann, Galeria Foksal, Warsaw, Poland; 2009, I’m Real, Urs Meile Gallery, Beijing, China; 2007-2009, Hotel Everland, Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Monumental works by Lang/Baumann have featured in the following recent group shows: 2011, Luftkunst, Zeppelin Museum, Friedrichshafen, Germany; Of Bridges & Borders, Fundacion Proa & Puente Figueroa Alcorta, Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina; 2010, Regionale. Fabricators of the World. Scenarios of Self-Will, Trautenfels Castle, Pürgg-Trautenfels, Austria, Fukutake House, Setouchi International Art Festival 2010, Kagawa, Japan. Works by Lang/Baumann are held in numerous public collections in Switzerland.
In France, their installation Street Painting #4 (2010) entered the Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain, Paris, in 2010 and their sculpture Childish Behavior #3 (2000) was acquired by the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain in 2009.
6, rue Jacques Callot
F - 75006 Paris
T +33 (0) 1 53 10 85 68

© Erwin Wurm, courtesy of Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon
© Erwin Wurm, courtesy of Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon
6 May to 2 July
Opening 5 May | 10pm
”I am an artist. Artists are simple creatures. Give us something to draw with and some food, and we’re content. Or to paint or sculpt whatever. That’s all we need, really”. 1
- Erwin Wurm
Erwin Wurm’s Zeitgeist or Where do I fit in the grand scheme of things?
Zeitgeist is a German word meaning the spirit of the times, the spirit of the epoch or sign of the times, designating the ensemble of the intellectual and cultural climate of the world in a certain epoch, or the general haracteristics of a determined time frame. Erwin Wurm (b.1954, Austria) refers to it frequently when speaking about his work, in a constant exploration of the relationship between Art and Philosophy that expresses itself in various forms within his work (such as in the Philosophers series, 2009). This allows him to speak of the absurdity of human condition within contemporaneity through humour and irony. The material is thus rendered with a psychological and emotional connotation expressing a certain state of affairs.
Idiots that we are (Idiot I, II and III series) in the times that we live in, and essentially absurd, it isn't difficult for us to understand how we can use laughter as derision (as philosopher H. Bergson would have it); in sum, as a weapon for combat and denouncement. Wurm explores it, incessantly, through sculpture, gifting it with endless possibilities: by shaping, transforming and deforming.
In this sense, his work questions the notions of classical sculpting and its conventions, subverting it and creating odd still lifes of the quotidian and the banal. It appeals thusly to the capacity of questioning of the observer who feels at once bothered and attracted by the simultaneous strangeness and familiarity (Heimlich/Unheimlich) of each situation that is created. For this reason, it is essential for the artist to resort to a shared database, from popular icons (Claudia Schiffer series, 2009) to consumer brands (Hermès series, 2008), the mores of the Middle East (Babylon series, 2010) and everyday items (chairs, detergents and toothbrushes, among others). In him, sculpting, much as life itself, is an ephemeral act that is captured only by photography, as a witness of the event.
Wurm’s work creates a psychology of our society, in that it establishes, by itself, strange relationships between people and the atmospheres they live in and the things they possess. A politically incorrect man (recalling one of his older series, Instructions on How to be Politically Incorrect, 2002/03), Wurm fulfils the role of one who is a marginal in the face of hypocrite normality (he often tells the story of his father, a police detective, who always saw artists as a type of criminals) and, through the use of consumables ìof ourtimesî expresses the spirit of now, within the frame of an attitude concerned with shape and content. In truth, much like all of us, Wurmís work deals with the constant truth of the difficulty to manage life. Here, laughter is serious business.
- Carla de Utra Mendes

The work of Erwin Wurm is present in many prestigious collections, such as: Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane (Australia); MUMOK – Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (Austria); Centre Pompidou Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (France); Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (Germany); National Museum of Art, Osaka (Japan); Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen (Switzerland); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York (USA).

1) Wurm, Erwin, in Video Interview on Submarine Channel, recorded on 2007-09-06.
Rua de Santo António à Estrela . 33
1350 - 291 Lisboa Portugal
T +351 213 959 559
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