The Serpentine Gallery presents an exhibition featuring Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow.
They are both known for their large-scale structural installations. They both seem to address major concerns such as how minimalism translates into actions and approaches. Their answers are different and their way to occupy and relate to a space are contrasting. From this contrast a dialogue arises. This conversation that happens in front of the viewer, is also questioning him. Nothing is to be taken for granted. Sculptures are moving objects and what they underline depends on the space they are brought into. To get into the debate, a visitor will first go through some rooms displaying solo presentations to understand where Baghramian and Barlow stand. The exhibition will then take him to a room where the 2 artists are confronting each other via their work.
Barlow uses a work’s location as a starting point for its dimensions and constructs some work in situ. Towering forms and unstable installations is her way to point out the transient nature of objects. According to Barlow, the physical presence of a sculpture can really be felt once the light has been turned off, when only its mental representation remains.
To Baghramian, the location where the artwork is born is less important than the place that it inhabits. She analyses the relationship between a sculpture and its setting by surrounding it with absurd constructions. Her sculptures are parodies of our modern working environment. In a world were production is key, Baghramian works are disturbing: they have no productive reason to be. They just stand in front of us.
This dialogue between 2 visionaries will leave you with more questions than answers. You will have to make an effort to interact with these 2 artists via their creations. It is a must seen exhibition for anyone who lives in London or will visit the city before 13th June 2010.
Nairy Baghramian’s recent solo exhibitions include: The Walker’s Day Off, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2008); Affairs. A Semiotic House that Was Never Built, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (2008); Entr’acte, Skulptur Projekte Munster 07 (2007); Es ist ausser Haus (It is outside the house), Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2006); and Everlasting layers of ideas, images, feelings, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2006).
Phyllida Barlow’s recent solo exhibitions include: BRAKE, One in the Other Gallery, London (2009); STINT, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre (2008); untitled: ramp, tower, flags (2007), Galleria Jesus Gallardo, Mexico (2007); and Peninsula, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2004-05). Recent group exhibitions include Under One Umbrella, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2010); Silberkuppe, Kunstmuseum Basel, (2010).
The exhibition is curated by Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, and Kathryn Rattee, Curator, Serpentine Gallery.
Photo credits: Serpentine Gallery.
Text by Delphine Hervieu.