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Archive | Information & News

13 Sept 2014 to 18 Oct 2014
Tuesday - Friday 11am - 6pm, Sat 10am until 6pm
Sean Kelly
475 Tenth Ave
New York, NY
NY 10018
New York
North America
T: +1 212.239.1181
F: +1 212.239.2467

Laurent Grasso
Soleil Double
September 13 – October 18, 2014

Artists in this exhibition: Laurent Grasso, Isabel Nolan

Laurent Grasso
Soleil Double

September 13 through October 18, 2014

Sean Kelly announces Soleil Double, an exhibition of new work by Laurent Grasso. This will be the artist’s first solo show in New York since his critically acclaimed SoundFossil of 2010 and his first solo exhibition in the gallery’s new space. An opening reception will take place on Friday, September 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The artist will be present.

The exhibition will be an ambitious installation in which Grasso transforms the gallery into an immersive environment, a multimedia labyrinth that includes new sculpture, paintings, photographs, neon works and video (the eponymously titled film will make its US debut in this exhibition).

Grasso filmed Soleil Double in EUR, a city district of Rome originally developed in the 1930s. EUR was to be an important complex of the 1942 Worlds Fair and was to act as an homage to the 20th anniversary of Fascism. However, the Worlds Fair never took place due to World War II. Eventually, in the ensuing decades, some of the buildings were completed in their original design while others were added in a more contemporary style – creating an architectural environment that appears to exist in multiple simultaneous timeframes. The two suns shining over the plaza in the film suggest that some sort of natural disaster or phenomena is occurring – a phenomena that is also referenced in the paintings with double suns included in the exhibition.

The themes addressed in Soleil Double are not just about the proposed phenomena of two suns in axis around the earth but on a more symbolic level, about the concepts of duplicity and ubiquity, the idea that reality could be something other than what it appears to be at first glance, than what we take for granted as “true” and “right”. These shifting perceptions of reality and the investigation of the territory between what is known and unknown are subjects common throughout Grasso’s oeuvre.

In addition to Soleil Double, which will be shown in the lower level gallery, a focal point of the installation in the main gallery will be a large-scale projection of Grasso’s film, Uraniborg, which examines the scientist Tycho Brahe’s discoveries in astronomy in the 16th century and, specifically, the astronomical observatory that Brahe built in 1576 on the island of Ven in Sweden. The development of astronomical science at this time signified a capacity to understand and represent the universe. For Grasso, the focus in the film, as in much of his work, is about how the study of astronomy was linked to the idea of power in the 16th and 17th centuries. This narrative is further explored through the paintings and photographs included in the exhibition, such as the silver bromide prints from Grasso’s Specola Vaticana series. These works depict historical photographs of the pope looking through a telescope – an instrument that symbolizes observation and knowledge and, through them, control – installed in the Vatican observatory, originally established by the Holy See in the late 1700s.

Grasso will present the Sean Kelly exhibition with a simultaneous iteration of the Soleil Double exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, from September 6 to October 31, 2014.

Grasso was awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2008 and is the subject of a major monograph – Laurent Grasso: The Black-Body Radiation – published by les presses du réel. Recent solo exhibitions have included Laurent Grasso: Disasters and Miracles, at the Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel Switzerland (2013); Uraniborg at the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada (2013) which traveled from the Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2012); Laurent Grasso: Portrait of a Young Man, at the Bass Museum, Miami (2011) and Laurent Grasso at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (2011). Grasso is currently included in the group exhibition, Curiosity: Art & The Pleasures of Knowing, on view at the de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam, through September 14, 2014.

Grasso’s US public art debut, Infinite Light, was installed on the exterior of the Hunter College Lexington Avenue pedestrian walkway in New York in 2008. His acclaimed Nomiya project was installed on the roof of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, from 2009 through 2011. He has participated in several biennials, most recently: the Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea (2012); Manifesta 8, Carthagène-Murcie, Spain and Manif d'art 5, Québec City Biennial, Quebec, Canada (2010); the Moscow Bienniale, Moscow, Russia (2009); and the 9th Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2009).

Isabel Nolan
An answer about the sky

September 13 through October 18, 2014

Sean Kelly announces An answer about the sky, an exhibition of new work by Isabel Nolan. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. An opening reception will take place on Friday, September 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The artist will be present.

An answer about the sky will include new hand-made sculptures, paintings, a text piece and Nolan’s newest large-scale textile work, The emptied room: A rug for the 20th Century. The works are exemplary of the artist’s restless investigation of the omnipresent aesthetic compulsion to find order, to generate a material record of place and time and thus secure an understanding of the world.

The exhibition title is from the Strugatsky Brothers’ novel Definitely Maybe (1974), referring to a thwarted effort to find the answer to one question and receiving information on an entirely different matter. Nolan sees this as a metaphor for productive artistic research:

“Artworks thrive in a space of necessary failures and missed objectives. They are willful and stubbornly refuse to be fully instrumentalised or to ever be wholly in control of their own meaning or ends. I thought I was making a show that considered disintegration and failure. In the process, I learned more about the treachery of beauty than disintegration. For instance, I wanted to make a rug prompted by the meditative, virtually monochrome painting Convolvulus by Paul Nash. Made in 1930, the painting alludes to the demise of civilizations and of nature’s vitality and indifference to culture. Yet somehow I conceived a sumptuous rug rich in colour and an almost obscenely lovely vision of a deliquescent, defunct architectural space.”

The fracturing of representational form and structure into poetic abstraction is common to many of the featured works in the show. The hand-tufted wool rug occupies both the wall and floor. The architectural imagery of the upper section seems to melt, dripping to the lower half where pattern solidifies into an irregular floor-scape. The sculptures are presented on solid stone plinths but have a quality of cultivated uncertainty. In their oscillation between representation and abstraction the paintings also conjure a sense of unease or shifting perspectives.

In the text work, A Sun So Hot, a central theme of the show is elucidated. Nolan writes, “It is wise to beware beauty. It is treacherous. It aids in reconciling us to living in an irrational, thrilling, difficult and dull world and quite often beauty makes bearable and thinkable that which is quite rightly very difficult to bear or think.”

An answer about the sky is an exhibition precipitated by the seductive narratives of brilliant failures and the way in which art contrives to make the world more beautiful. Nolan again, “I asked a question about disintegration and the answer I got was art.”

Nolan’s exhibition at Sean Kelly coincides with the artist’s solo exhibition, The weakened eye of day, on view at The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, through September 21, 2014. The museum exhibition will then travel to the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and Mercer Union, Toronto. Recent solo exhibitions by Nolan include: Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France (2012); and the Return Gallery, Goethe Institute, Dublin (2012). Other solo shows include: Project Arts Centre (2005), Dublin: the Studio, Glasgow International (2006); and Artspace, New Zealand (2008). She represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale in a group exhibition, Ireland at Venice 2005. Her work has been presented in group exhibitions at institutions internationally, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, as well as international biennials including The Yugoslav Biennial for Young Artists, Vrasc, Serbia-Montenegro, and Mediation Biennale, Poznan, Poland.

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