Rodney Graham defies categorisation by employing multiple styles and by working in diverse media including photography, film, performance, music and text. For Wet on Wet he adopts the eccentric persona of the gifted amateur, a recurrent figure in his recent work. Through sculpture, photography, performance, sound and video, Allora & Calzadilla's works have been informed by questions of mark making, traces, and survival in a way that is simultaneously conceptual, metaphorical, and spatial.
Canadian artist Rodney Graham (b.1949, Vancouver) defies categorisation by employing multiple styles and by working in diverse media including photography, film, performance, music and text. Wet on Wet: My Late Early Styles, his upcoming exhibition at Lisson Gallery, will present a new body of works reflecting on the practice of painting. For Wet on Wet Graham will adopt the eccentric persona of the ‘gifted amateur’, a recurrent figure in his recent work. The works in this exhibition will encompass a variety of styles, as Graham places painting in the context of post-medium practice. Graham credits music with informing much of his work.
A musician himself, he views his role as an artist as a as an extension of the idea of performance. Graham’s work examines social and philosophical systems of thought, in particular those derived from the transition of the Enlightenment into Modernism. Underlying each work is an historical context, through which a complex narrative incorporates literary and philosophic references and visual puns. Rodney Graham was born in 1949 in Vancouver, where he lives and works.
Solo exhibitions include a retrospective (2004-05) that toured venues including MoCA, Los Angeles, ICA, Philadelphia and Vancouver Art Gallery; BaWAG Foundation, Vienna (2007); Sprengel Museum, Hanover (2006); Bergen Kunsthalle (2006); Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal (2006); K21, Dusseldorf (2003); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2001); Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001). He has participated in international group exhibitions since the 1970s, representing Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and exhibiting at “documenta IX” in 1992. Graham’s work can be found in a number of public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Allora & Calzadilla
Lisson Gallery presents an exhibition by collaborative artists, Jennifer Allora (b.1974, USA) and Guillermo Calzadilla (b.1971, Cuba). Based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Allora & Calzadilla have worked together since 1995, and have established themselves as prominent figures in the international contemporary art scene. Through sculpture, photography, performance, sound and video, Allora & Calzadilla’s works have been informed by questions of mark making, traces, and survival in a way that is simultaneously conceptual, metaphorical, and spatial. Their understanding of the material and the metaphorical as a couple is crucial; for them a material is never simply self-evident in its meaning, it is always marked with histories, cultures, and politics that are at once irreducible to and inseparable from the material in question.
Another recurrent trope in their work is that of animality, and its unstable relationship to the realm of the human. Most recently they have created a series works that explore the interplay between militarism, war and the significance of music, sound, and performance in this context. Two major commissions, Clamor, 2006 and Wake Up, 2007, both employed the genre of war music to stage a musical, bodily and corporeal investigation into the nature of this music in the context of today’s global state of war. Clamor, 2006, consisted of a large sculptural hybrid chamber resembling a bunker, a ruin, a cave, and a sound booth. It was the locus of a live performance event as well as a musical archive that enacted a confrontation of this form of sonic expression back to earliest of military encounters. Musicians played various repertories of war music from different geographical territories and historical periods, using these artifacts of human warfare as the raw material and subject of a visual and aural battle whose antagonisms were united in a monstrous montage of war music, somewhere between a symphony and cacophony.
Wake Up, 2007, is a sound and light installation for which the artists asked a host of trumpet players from around the world working in a range of styles, to interpret Reveille, the military call which signals soldiers to wake up and assemble at the start of the military day. The trumpeters, who represent the vanguard of the instrument’s contemporary potential, interpreted and sonically re-worked this petrified document of music history, re-invigorating it with new associations and meanings; pushing the original melody beyond it’s militaristic origins, and at times, even beyond recognition. As a result, Wake Up became a platform for advanced experimentation as to what the trumpet is capable of as an expressive instrument, putting it at a radical distance from its origins within military traditions.
Allora & Calzadilla first exhibited internationally in 1998 at the 24th Sao Paulo Biennial. Important group exhibitions have followed, including Common Wealth at Tate Modern in 2003, the 2005 Venice Biennial, and the 2006 Whitney Biennial. In the last few years Allora & Calzadilla have taken part in numerous major international solo exhibitions, such as; One Person, One Watt, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2004; Chalk, ICA Boston, 2004; Land Mark, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2006, Clamor The Serpentine Gallery, 2007; Wake Up, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2007; and Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla at the Whitechapel Laboratory, London, 2007. A large selection of Allora and Calzadilla’s most recent works is on view at the Kunsthaus Zürich until 12 August 2007. New works will be presented at the Istanbul Biennial (8 September – 4 November 2007) and at the San Francisco Art Institute (19 October – 15 December 2007). And Lyon Biennale (18 September – 25 December) Allora & Calzadilla’s work can be found in major public collections, including Tate Modern, London; FMAC (Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain), Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Paris. SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Opening october 9, 2007
29 & 52-54 Bell Street - London