Artists: Ei Arakawa, Thomas Bayrle, James Campbell, Isabelle Cornaro, Cédric Eisenring, Yannic Joray, Guyton/Walker, Karl Holmqvist, Emil Michael Klein, Klara Lidén, Tobias Madison, Tobias Madison and Emanuel Rossetti, Sveta Mordovskaya, Kaspar Müller, Virginia Overton, Mai-Thu Perret, Vaclav Pozarek, David Shrigley, Josef Strau, Stefan Tcherepnin
Venue: Francesca Pia, Zurich
Exhibition Title: Lampen
Date: November 9, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Isabelle Cornaro, excerpt from Lampe, 2010, digital transfer from 16mm film, 1 minute 28 seconds
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images and video courtesy of Francesca Pia, Zurich. Photos by Annik Wetter.
Galerie Francesca Pia announces Lampen, a group exhibition exploring recent artistic production relating to light, design and its stabilizing elements. Bringing together a diverse range of international artists, many creating works for the exhibition, the large open spaces of the gallery are lit only by the works, in a play on the classic high-end design retail space. Casting a broad net across materials, means and meanings the exhibition finds its unifying force in the way in which all the works (whether hanging, free standings, or wall based) harness the power of light for their own ends.
Certain works refer to history and art history, creating beacons and living memories of other moments. Ei Arakawa’s work, exhibited earlier this year at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, is a large LED sculpture from a series treating classic works of performance art as entities, picturing an astrological chart that can be analyzed the same way one does with people. Similarly, Mai-Thu Perret’s neon pieces extract symbols and signs from existing culture and re-contextualize them at a large illuminated scale. Isabelle Cornaro’s film explores the light bulb as a space where aesthetics can tell abstract stories of politics and history. In a more generalized sense, Vaclav Pozarek’s early work, recently exhibited at his retrospective at MAMCO, explores his career long connection with minimal forms, here adding a sense of poetry in his lamp as simplified calendar.
Other artists elicit the content of found objects for their objectives. James Campbell’s lightbox illuminates the images that lay upon it into the room and against a mirror. Klara Lidén’s hanging lamps take industrial and urban products that maintain their connection to their institutional origin while being transformed into poetic vessels. The collaborative duo, Tobias Madison & Emanuel Rossetti, continue their work of using internationally sourced produce boxes as the basis for lamps that draw attention to the architectures of globalization. Virginia Overton connects an existing lamp with a vintage Playboy poster, pushing one against the other in a play that elevates both from their lowly origin.
The coconut by duo Guyton/ Walker, creates a similar effect, looking at the way that lamps are used in types of high design and the simplicity within. Similarly, Kaspar Müller’s lamps use humor throughout their creation. In one, the sculptural lamp is built organically in a kind of fractalized form using a variety of non-traditional bulbs. In the other, toy cars of varying scales are attached to a spherical shade, making a literal play on an imaginary planetary narrative.
Stefan Tcherepnin’s welded metal lamp appears as a simple creation of wood from the forest, continuing his explorations of childhood as a site of experimentation. In Yannic Joray’s stoneware lamp we see another created world, where an ancient form of non-electrical lighting reveals sculpted insects crawling towards a flame. Cédric Eisenring has added densely hand-painted decoration to the interior and exterior of an existing Kodak darkroom lamp, using the possibilities of light to enhance and confuse the effects of his obsessive painting.
In a similar way Tobias Madison has collaged paper and comics onto existing lamps, using the shade as an illuminated area to explore composition and content in his installation. Sveta Mordovskaya has also used elements of collage, here covering a variety of recognizable and unrecognizable objects in her talisman turned wall lamp. Josef Strau’s lamp, with its chain that trails through the space is a different type of poetic collage. With it’s related canvas hanging on the wall the work offers a solution to merging text with image.
In each we see artists using light both physically and conceptually to reach their own objectives. Each piece shines onto its neighbors, but holds to itself as a solitary work. Taken together the show aims at a broad survey of a material practice at this contemporary moment.