55 South Audley
London W1K 2QH, UK
Massimo De Carlo is pleased to present Self: the gallery has invited nineteen artists to submit one or two works that are regarded by the invited artists as self-portraits, either representational or abstract.
The ground floor room focuses around the notion of the double – the works in the room are centered on identity fragmentation- translating in the vocabulary of art memory, consciousness and ego in a single multidimensional self.
The Austrian collective Gelitin, with their four mirror self-portraits, play with the notions of group and individuality whilst artists Yan Pei-Ming and Zhao Gang, both known for their historical portraits, offer a rare inward facing direction of their oeuvre. The physical embodiment of the ego is the theme for both Kaari Upson’s ‘Kiss Painting’ diptychs, where the artist collapses her own identity by merging her own with an unknown man, and of Loie Hollowell’s psychedelic corporal portraits that allude to sexual organs.
At the centre of the room is Steven Claydon’s intriguing sculpture: an examination of material veracity and mimesis, exploring the assembling and disassembling of character.
The lower ground floor is centered on the material traces of our ego that we leave behind: from the romantic yet menacing stillness of Anicka Yi’s bacterial polka dots to Paweł Althamer’s sculpture of Billy-The Goat, a relic of travels-past that symbolise the idea of the quest and past expectations, the viewer is instilled with a sense of uneasiness and nostalgia that becomes even more tangible in Dan Colen’s immersive installation. Composed of dozens of trompe-l’œil hand-made sculptures of cigarettes and hand-blown wine bottles scattered on the floor together with the extravagant studded painting, the work mimics the remains of a party by transporting us in to the motionlessness of the after math.
On the first floor the abstract representational theme is explored in unalike yet tantalising depths. In the first room the crude dark humour of both Andra Ursuta and Jamian Juliano- Villani - who through their works challenge the seductive quality of consumerism, attraction and the voyeur's gaze - are paired with the dazed vulnerability and glitter of the Panda’s depicted in Rob Pruitt’s Panda canvases.
In the second room a more sombre tone is set as the self is explored through the connection between the material and the gesture. The medium is key in the work of Rashid Johnson, who reflects on every-day life via the use of soap whilst the energy and blur of the painterly gesture becomes an appendix of the identity of the artist in both the works of Josh Smith and Bertrand Lavier.
Ephemerality is the subject of the works presented by Pietro Roccasalva and Matthew Monahan. Monahan’s mask, situated in the entrance of the gallery is a reflection on how the artist is situated in the relationship between modernity and humanity. The marble slab created by Pietro Roccasalva for the studio on the first floor explores and challenges the historical significance of art works.