Don’t Lose HOPE will be the first Indiana exhibition in the United Kingdom for over a decade and will include previously unseen works.
The unique exhibition of sculptures and prints marks a long anticipated celebration of Robert Indiana’s artworks by British and Continental European collectors. The exhibition affords exclusive and primary access to the seminal Pop artist’s extraordinary work and includes a series of ‘HOPE’ sculptures that ContiniArtUK has directly commissioned from the 86 year old artist.
ContiniArtUK will also exhibit a series of original silkscreen prints, unique pieces and drawings including Hope for Life, EAT, Crimson Gold EAT II, Metal HOPE, Book of Love, ART, HE, SHE, PROTOTYPE FOR HOPE, LOVE, Three Fabricated Letters Glass LOVE, the complete Alphabet series, WOMAN ON A BUS and HIGH YALLER.
As in the ‘HOPE’ sculpture series, the application of ‘iconic words’ moves far beyond the ‘unabashedly optimistic’ and affirmative. These works address the most fundamental issues humanity faces: Love, Death, Sin and Forgiveness. The importance of the ‘HOPE’ sculptures lies within its suggestion of light and the illumination of a path to a better world. The “O” in HOPE leans forward, ‘propelling us to look forward to the promise of a better, more peaceful future’. The 2008 reveal of the first ‘HOPE’ sculpture (created for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign), and the 2013 retrospective Beyond Love at the Whitney Museum of American Art saw Indiana’s Hard-Edge Pop art enjoy renewed critical acclaim, excitement and interest from collectors internationally.
Thanks to a unique digital tool designed and managed by Rhubbit srl. ContiniArtUK will also offer visitors the chance to experience 3D augmented reality – several beacons will be installed around the exhibition space helping the visitor to better understand the different steps of Indiana’s creative journey. This new technology aims to provide in-depth information on the artist and forms an educational element of the exhibition. With the help of their smart devices visitors will have access to background information about selected works of art and also an explanatory Pop art movement history timeline. This technology will also enable visitors to immerse themselves in a multimedia environment that celebrates the history of the movement, the social influence, and Indiana’s artistic practice.
Indiana first emerged on the Pop art wave that engulfed the art world during the early 1960s. Alongside Andy Warhol he became a figurehead of the movement, achieving unprecedented recognition with his iconic ‘LOVE’ sculpture series. The creation was to become a centrepiece of his artistic life and took on many forms, including the coloured and cubed iconic shape that still adorns many public and private spaces all around the world, from Taipei to Wichita.
Don’t Lose HOPE, the exclusive exhibition of sculptures and prints with works that originate directly from Robert Indiana’s studio, will run from 13 October to 31 January 2016 at ContiniArtUK.
105 New Bond Street London W1S 1DN
Tel: + 44(0) 207 495 5101
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 10.30am – 6.30pm, Sunday midday – 5pm www.continiartuk.com
The Universal Message
By Dr Diego Giolitti, ContiniArtUK
Robert Indiana’s works LOVE and HOPE are undoubtedly the artist’s most recognised and sought after pieces, having taken on an iconic status. The exaggerated use of scale seen in the oversized lettering and the bold colouring may be characteristic of the Pop Art era during which these artworks came to light, yet it would be reductive to suggest that it is simply the eye-catching quality of Indiana’s sculptures that has allowed them to transcend their own time into ours today. The timelessness of the sculptures can only be attributed to Indiana’s encapsulation of the basic human desire to feel and experience the joys of love and hope, an understanding that speaks universally to spectators across the world.
In his work with sculpture, Indiana merges the practice of the artist and the poet. A reader is accustomed to understanding words within context, as part of sentences. Indiana however rejects this model, rather choosing to depict the isolated word as a visual art in itself. Thus LOVE and HOPE are simultaneously simple and complex. Simple in their design, each sculptured word is presented as a complete whole, encased in an invisible square formation. Yet the words love and hope are also being deconstructed before our very eyes. Similar to the lines of a poem, each letter stands stacked upon another. Whilst this hard-edged, solid style may create a sense of uniformity, the tilted O disturbs this. It seems almost as if the O has been suspended in it’s position before it rolls away.
The tilted O is often thought to represent the fragility of love, the way in which love can be lost in a moment and it’s bittersweet intangibility. Perhaps the sculptures reflect the prerequisite of love; that we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable in order to be loved, and so the O tilts to demonstrate the letting down of one’s guard. These sentiments are true and valid if we are to think of love and hope as abstract and individualised. Indiana himself originally began his LOVE image by redesigning a sign for a Christian Science church to “love is God” instead of “God is love”. However Indiana’s work is layered with meaning, and for many LOVE and HOPE have been social and political comments on the world we live in. The U.S Postal Service commissioned a stamp by the artist for Valentines’ Day in 1973, and in 2000 Indiana designed a poster entitled LOVE 2000 as part of a campaign to discourage gun violence alongside the Centre to Prevent Youth Violence. To support Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Indiana created HOPE in the American colours red, blue and white, echoing the importance the LOVE image held for the American counter culture revolutionists of the 1960s who wanted to “make love, not war”. Indiana’s sculptures not only reflect a positive message, they have also been instrumental in promoting one.
LOVE and HOPE are still poignant in our present world because they demonstrate the strength of human compassion in a world that is not yet idyllic. In 2015 the world is embroiled in a migrant crisis as thousands flee a war-torn country, and in the face of many volunteer projects, appeals for donations and petitions calling for a more compassionate governmental response have been launched. Such perseverance and generosity proves Indiana’s artistry correct. Love and hope are the basic fundamentals of the human condition; we all want to love, and be loved, to be hopeful and to have our hopes realised. The tilted O may look like it is about to roll away, and yet it has not. Rather the tightly compact quadrilateral sculpture sits fiercely and proudly together, unable to be torn apart by the adversity that surrounds it. Our human desire for hope and love is just the same, impossible to extinguish.
Opened in May 2014, ContiniArtUK is a five thousand square foot gallery space set over two floors in the heart of Mayfair, Central London. The gallery, on New Bond Street, exhibits both contemporary and modern art. Don’t Lose HOPE will be shown alongside a permanent collection of works from artists represented by ContiniArtUK. Artists include Mario Arlati, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fernando Botero, Teresa Emanuele, Enzo Fiore, Ferrucio Gard, Morgana Ghini, Enrico Ghinato, Gianfranco Gorgoni, Omar Hassan, Igor Mitoraj, Julio Larraz, Gavin Rain, Paul Rousso, Taline Temizian, Sophia Vari, Paolo Vegas, Giuseppe Veneziano and Helidon Xhixha.