Exhibition

Paulette Phillips: History Appears Twice, The First Time As Tragedy, The Second Time As Farce

19 Mar 2010 – 24 Apr 2010

Danielle Arnaud

London, United Kingdom

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History appears twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce is an installation comprising a film projection, furniture and a suite of sculptural works that enfold the facets of a complex narrative evolving from Eileen Gray's modernist villa E 1027 Maison en bord de mer. The artist's visits to E 1027 between 2003 and 2006 revealed a chilling, haunted and abused site; the witness and victim of extreme emotion; emotion so absent in modernist discourse. Using the affect of this house as a launch site, it became the artist's goal to imbed objects influenced by Gray's furniture designs with psychological agency that reflects, through material, gesture and language, the transhuman qualities evident in the historic site and to enrich and complicate the context by which we consider modernism and the canon. Eileen Gray, an Irish born architect, furniture and carpet designer, built E 1027 between 1926 and 1929 on the Cà ´te d'Azur as a romantic getaway and work retreat for herself and her lover Jean Badovici. Less than ten years after this affective labour of love was completed, she abandoned the villa forever. It was then owned by Badovici, and from its inception his good friend Le Corbusier enjoyed staying there. In 1938 Le Corbusier painted eight murals on the walls without Gray's permission and in 1951 purchased all the land surrounding the villa and built a cabin and hostel above and beside the house. Paulette Phillips was born in Canada and during her career has established an international reputation for her tense, humorous and uncanny explorations of the phenomena of conflicting energies. She works in film and sculpture with an interest in the contradictions that play out in our construction of stability. Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Tatton Park Biennial, Berlin Film Festival's Expanded Forum, The Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, The Power Plant in Toronto and Heidelburger Kunstverein. She is currently showing at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and will be part of the group exhibition Parallel Histories at the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal.

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