Artist: Ian Kiaer
Venue: Neubauer Collegium, Chicago
Exhibition Title: Endnote, Ledoux
Curated by: Jacob Proctor
Date: February 26 – April 22, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Neubauer Collegium Exhibitions. Photos by RCH | EKH.
Ian Kiaer’s exhibitions take the form of carefully composed landscapes of found objects and materials, architectural models, paintings and sculptures, and projections. Ways of exploring paradigms and testing concepts, these arrangements tend to be provisional rather than permanent, and the questions they address—What exactly constitutes the category of “painting” today? How do we understand the relationship between sculptural fragment and architectural model?—are both deeply historical and necessarily contingent on their immediate context.
The new works in Endnote, Ledoux continue a larger project stemming from the artist’s longstanding preoccupation with the work of eighteenth-century French architect Claude Nicholas Ledoux. In particular, Kiaer has been fascinated by an engraving depicting Ledoux’s experimental design for a house for the agricultural guards of Maupertuis, a visionary image of a building as an uncompromising sphere set in an Arcadian landscape. For Kiaer, Ledoux’s concern for symmetry and geometry resonated both with the Neubauer Collegium’s building (a former Unitarian seminary) and with the gallery’s signature architectural feature: a massive stone fireplace flanked by two columns formed of alternating cylindrical and cubic segments—a columnar order that was itself invented by Ledoux for the Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans in the 1770s.
The exhibition also makes reference to Kiaer’s own 2013 exhibition at the Centre International de l’Art et du Paysage de Vassivière, an art center designed by Aldo Rossi in the late 1980s for the island of Vassivière, surrounded by a man-made lake. Kiaer took that exhibition as an opportunity to explore Rossi’s interest in visionary architects like Ledoux and his contemporary Étienne-Louis Boullée, as well as the resonances and tensions between Rossi’s architecture and his own work.
In the video projection A.R. Tour, a small architectural model inspired by Ledoux’s ‘ideal house’ at Maupertuis floats on the artificial lake at Vavissière. A similar form appears nearby in Endnote, Ledoux (black) (2016), both in a rubber sphere set directly the gallery floor and in an image printed on one side of a poster made for the French exhibition. On the poster’s verso, a text by philosopher Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield reflects on the relationship between architectural spaces and the works of art exhibited within them. The wall against which this work is displayed is itself a remnant of the screening room constructed for the Victor Burgin exhibition that last occupied the space.
Endnote, Ledoux (silver, large) continues Kiaer’s longstanding investigation into the painterly problems of the monochrome and the readymade. In Endnote, Ledoux (yellow) a suspended inflatable sculpture recalls the short-lived Utopian promise of 1960s and ’70s inflatable architecture, while at the same time reminding us that, unlike architecture, works of art need not be monumental. Rather, they can sometimes be most effective when they are light, provisional, and even immaterial.
Ian Kiaer (b. 1971) studied at the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art (MA, 2000; PhD, 2008). He lives and works in London.
Recent solo shows include Lulu, Mexico City (2015); Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2014); Centre International d’art et du Paysage, Vassivière (2013); Marcelle Alix, Paris (2013); Alison Jacques Gallery, London (2012); Aspen Art Museum (2012); Kunstverein Munich (2010); and Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin (2009). Notable group shows include All of this and Nothing, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, London; and Setting the Scene, Tate Modern, London. Kiaer has also participated in the 10th Lyon Biennale (2009); the 4th Berlin Biennial (2006); and the 50th Venice Biennale (2005).
His work is in the collections of Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM), Turin.