In Place of a Trophy
'In Place of a Trophy' puts forward four internationally based artists who are professionally situated at the crux between emerging and midcareer, each of whom produces compelling artwork of an extremely high quality that transcends any conventional understanding of the object of art. The selected artwork presents a physical reconstruction of a concept of the constructed environment; through the displacement of structure and re-imagining of context and materiality, the works reconsider our understanding of space and construct as material and unstable.
Articulated through an unconventional and diverse array of urban materials, such as concrete, brick, wood and metal, the artists approach such unconventional materialization with a surprising, whimsical, and urgent nature, transforming objects that might otherwise be ignored or discarded to create a new temporal language: a landscape of spatial distortion, which (while reminiscent of its initial framework) reinvents itself and appropriates a sense of masquerade. Reused, reshaped and reinterpreted, each artist exhibits a distinct yet related body of work that can be understood archaeologically, as though a future civilization has embalmed and reinterpreted samples from our contemporary urban environment. Here we see captured street scenes, extracts of the metropolis, items of urbanity, artesania, and even kitsch, reinvented with museum-like dissociation, pseudo-scientific analysis, as though a series of cultural, socio-historic curio on display. Here, the viewer is reverted to passivity, refuted entry as though a museum visitor attempting to process the foreign objectivity that has been displayed. Non-descript rubble lying on the side of a pavement is magnified and printed on denim, disguising as painterly tapestry in Vasilis Asimakopoulos’s Knocking. Discarded cement blocks rendered useless at a construction site are encased and presented in a glass cabinet by Olivier Kosta-Thefaine, as objects that should be reconsidered, redefined and treasured. Similarly, the ordinary metal grill of a security fence is moulded and transformed into neat, abstract and geometric patterns in Kosta-Thefaine’s Satrouville and La Gaubretiere and six framed spray painted works hang playfully alongside two forgotten bricks, reminiscent of graffiti sprawled on street corners and walls (Detail D’une Rue and Collection 1).
In the same vein, Frank Maier creates asymmetrical sculptural paintings from painted detritus: wood and string. Leo Babsky challenges the material aspects of contemporary life by combining every day objects and allowing the viewer to reconsider their appeal as new constructed and desirable entities: 'In Place of A Trophy' presents objects that are stripped of their original frameworks and uses, inciting us to reconsider our ingrained reference models. Marble, latex and ceramics, precariously stacked and balanced offer distorted mirrors of the every day. Combined, the works provide a new landscape with alternate potential, a glossy caricature of the real that serves to garner a new sensitivity for the static material world that surrounds us.
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