Simon Preston Gallery is delighted to present Grand Illusion(s), an exhibition curated by Christopher Eamon. The exhibition brings together six artists based on an underlying sensibility, rather than on overt formal or conceptual correspondences. It plays on artistic intent, formal concerns and social dialogue precisely in relation to the manners of viewing that each of these artists solicit. Their work focuses on contemporary states of visuality prevalent in a surveillance society such as our own, at times reaching back to the historically modern state of being framed-for-use or ‘enframed’.
The title alludes to the Jean Renoir film about ‘the Great War’ and the dangers of under-examined belief systems. It also refers to a line of security fencing products branded the ‘Grand Illusion’ series by one of the world’s leading manufacturer of security fencing. Works in this exhibition share an aesthetic heritage from the contemporary use of industrial materials to the social meaning of space. The artists push their unconventional materials beyond formal concerns into the social arena, while maintaining a strict control of their chosen artistic means and their physical languages
Cady Noland’s metal gates, chain link and screen-printed metals are but specific examples of the many materials at play in a new generation of contemporary artistic practices. For instance, Will Boone’s reconstructed word paintings and sculptural reconfigurations of steel rebar with gasoline and oil cans speak to what might be called the American unconscious. Spanish artist Pepo Salazar, similarly combines language and industrial materials in his work to effect a heavy-metal-music aesthetic, tinged with Dada-style resistance to the status quo. David Noonan’s haunting screen-printed collages and standing figures derived from experimental dance and theatre, uncover similar concerns through different means; his visual quotations of strong currents in underground culture let loose the repressed in mass culture. Heavily encoded materials play a dominant role, also, in the work of Sunah Choi. Her use of raw steel plates and the kind of cobblestones often lobbed at security forces, together with magnets, hold in place fragile inkjet prints of slick advertising images. Through various bodies of work, Joëlle Tuerlinckx’s masterful investigation of the syntax between image and material, uncovers the status of viewing, and of legibility both in, and through, the structure of museum displays and, in this exhibition, of surveillance culture.
In the face of governmental demands for total visibility, the screen, the barrier, and the barricade, serve as figures for a paranoid-scopophilic culture where as much, or more, of that which is revealed, remains veiled. In light of this contradiction, the artists included in this exhibition work both, with the languages of objects and images, and their interrelationships. They each claim distinct places in the history of techniques of vision, and the representation of subconscious desires. With them, both industrial and found material and apposite message are tightly intertwined.
Will Boone (b. 1982) lives and works in Los Angeles. Solo exhibitions include, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, 2014; GOLIAD, Jonathan Viner, London; Graceland, Karma, New York. Group exhibitions include Word by Word, curated by Francesco Bonami, Luxembourg & Dayan, London, 2015; Venus Over Manhattan, New York, 2015; #RAWHIDE, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, 2015; Serialize, at Peres Projects, Berlin, 2015; White Flag Projects, St. Louis, 2011.
Sunah Choi (b. 1968) lives and works in Berlin. Selected exhibitions include Galerie Mezzanin, Vienna; Galerie Cinzia Friedlaender, Berlin; Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt; Kunstverein Harburger Bhf, Hamburg; KW – Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn; Museo Marino Marini, Florence; Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt; Lenbachhaus, München; and at the ZKM, Karlsruhe.
Cady Noland (b. 1956) lives and works in New York. Noland’s work was exhibited in the Whitney Biennial, 1991 and Documenta 9, Kassel, 1999. She has had several solo exhibitions at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, 1994; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, 1995; and Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, 1996. Her work has also appeared in Strange Abstraction: Robert Gober, Cady Noland, Philip Taaffe, Christopher Wool at the Touko Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1991, and MONO: Olivier Mosset, Cady Noland at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, 1999.
David Noonan (b. 1969) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, 2011; The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, The Mitchell Library Glasgow, UK, 2010; The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2009; Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2008 and at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2007. Group exhibitions include: Theatre of the World (curated by Jean-Hubert Martin), MONA – Museum of Old and New Art in collaboration with TMAG – Tasmanian Museum of Art Gallery, Hobart, 2013; L’ange de l’histoire (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud), Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, 2013; and Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London, 2009.
Pepo Salazar (b. 1972) lives and works in Paris. He was selected to represent Spain at the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015. His work was also part of exhibitions in Artium, Spain, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Art in General, New York, TRAFO Museum, Singapore, Fundación Tàpies, Barcelona and the Guggenheim, Bilbao. He has had several solo exhibitions at Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam.
Joëlle Tuerlinckx (b. 1958) lives and works in Brussels. She has participated in Pas d’Histoire, a solo exhibition at the Witte de With, Rotterdam; Inside the Visible ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), Boston; the Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, the Whitechapel, London; and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth in 1996/97; Lost in Space in 1997 at the Kunstmuseum Luzern; Manifesta 3, Ljubljana in 2000, Orbis Terrarum, Antwerp and WORLD [K ] IN PROGRESS at the Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2013.