Angela de la Cruz works presented by Krinzinger gallery and Thomas Schulte Gakkery
5 – 8 December 2019
Angela de la Cruz, detail of Shutter (Burgundy), 2018
MACBA COLLECTION. BENEATH THE SURFACE
Taking place across Victoria Miro’s London galleries, this international, cross-generational exhibition is a celebration of women artists who have shaped and transformed, and continue to influence and expand, the language and definition of abstract painting.
More than 50 artists from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia are represented. The earliest work, an ink on paper work by the Russian Constructivist Liubov Popova, was completed in 1918. The most recent, by contemporary artists including Adriana Varejão, Svenja Deininger and Elizabeth Neel, have been made especially for the exhibition. A number of the artists in the exhibition were born in the final decades of the nineteenth century, while the youngest, Beirut-based Dala Nasser, was born in 1990. Work from every decade between 1918 and 2018 is featured.
Surface Work takes its title from a quote by the Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, who said: ‘Abstract is not a style. I simply want to make a surface work.’ The exhibition reflects the ways in which women have been at the heart of abstract art’s development over the past century, from those who propelled the language of abstraction forward, often with little recognition, to those who have built upon the legacy of earlier generations, using abstraction to open new paths to optical, emotional, cultural, and even political expression. Historical and contemporary works shown in dialogue will create a series of conversations across the decades, touching on themes such as the monochrome, process, geometric abstraction, seriality and gestureType your paragraph here.
On display will be an example of Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Infinity Net paintings – seriality as a form of self-obliteration and self-definition – and a painting by the late US artist Mildred Thompson, who often found inspiration in scientific theories and universal systems, and whose buzzing palette of yellows and reds and calligraphic brushstrokes evoke the invisible forces of magnetic energy. These are complemented by a painting from the 1970s by Alma Thomas who in 1972, at the age of eighty, was the first African-American woman to receive a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. For Thomas, colour was a way ‘to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.’
Contemporary artists such as Adriana Varejão, Bharti Kher and Howardena Pindell employ complex surfaces to engage with equally complex narratives and histories. A new ‘cracked tile’ work by Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão evokes the traditions of Minimalism and monochrome painting while its ruptured surface speaks of a disquieting colonial legacy. A work by Bharti Kher comprises a richly-painted board on which intricate patterns of bindis have been applied. Howardena Pindell, whose first major survey is currently on view at MCA Chicago, explores texture, colour, structure and process to address intersecting issues such as racism, feminism, violence and exploitation.
Works on display from the 1970s by the artist have the appearance of vast, pointillist fields that, in part, recall African cloth made from pounded fibres and natural dyes. Works from the era of Abstract Expressionism counter the idea of gesturalism as being an innately masculine language to reveal how, equally, it has been employed to engage with female sensibility and experience – in, for example, the work of Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler. These celebrated artists will be shown alongside under-recognised figures of their time, such as Hedda Sterne. An active member of the New York School of painters, Sterne was also one of the artists known as the ‘Irascibles’, who protested against the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s policy on American painting of the 1940s and who was included in a now iconic photograph for Life magazine in 1951; Sterne, notably, is the only woman in the image. Better known as one of the leading gallerists of the twentieth century, showing artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman, Betty Parsons (who showed Sterne at her gallery in 1943) was also an abstract painter and sculptor who maintained a rigorous artistic practice. Now finding a receptive new audience, Parsons’ work reveals a mastery of spontaneity and improvisation, along with a profound interest in ancient and ethnographic arts.
The natural successors to these pioneering figures are international contemporary practitioners who embrace abstraction in their continuing quest to engage with history and articulate experience. The idea of gesture – both virtuosic and intimate, suggestive of landscape, the body, or more internalised visions – unites richly allusive works by artists such as Fiona Rae, Ilse D’Hollander, Rita Ackermann, Jackie Saccoccio, Louise Fishman, Mary Heilmann, Varda Caivano and Martha Jungwirth.
These allusions grow further still in work that expands upon the traditional definition of painting by engaging with walls, floors and architecture. Works by Lynda Benglis, Angela de la Cruz and Annie Morris, among others, occupy a productive, liminal space between painting and sculpture. Other artists embrace ideas of chance, indeterminacy and temporality. Drawing upon the language of abstract expressionism as well as pagan history and folklore, British artist Jessica Warboys makes use of the sea and its actions upon mineral pigments in the creation of her large-scale work. Lebanese artist Dala Nasser employs unconventional materials such as liquid latex, brick pigment and dirt collected off the floor, on ‘grounds’ including tarpaulin and trauma blankets to create a body of work that, possessing an intricate physicality, speaks to the contemporary moment. Reframed and reinvigorated in new contexts, abstraction reveals itself to be as vital a force today as it was a century ago.
Clutter VII (Yellow), 2004. Oil on canvas. "La Caixa" Collection, Barcelona. Installation view.
26 October – 11 January 2020
PV: 4th of October
Thomas Schulte Gallery, Berlin
Turner Prize nominee Angela de la Cruz will present a new body of work in her first exhibition at Lisson Gallery London since 2011. While embracing a minimalist approach in terms of monochromatic colour and subject matter, Cruz’s paintings convey a host of human emotions. Titled ‘Bare,’ her exhibition represents de la Cruz’s relationship with the physical body and displays an emotional incongruity between fragility and strength, the broken and the beautiful, in conjunction with the artist’s continued exploration of the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Her striking interventions with canvas and stretcher portray a sense of performative playfulness, although for this exhibition she works with different materials, including aluminium and cement.
Never the same river is an exhibition of work by over 50 Australian and international artists spanning the 1980s to the present. The exhibition draws from the exhibition histories of four galleries – Melbourne’s United Artists (1982—1988), City Gallery (1988—1993), and Anna Schwartz Gallery, in both Melbourne (1993—present) and Sydney (2008—2015).
The exhibition is designed in collaboration with award-winning architecture firm, Denton Corker Marshall, who designed the gallery at 185 Flinders Lane in 1993.
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Layers is the title of the first solo exhibition by Angela de la Cruz at Galerie Thomas Schulte. In her works, the artist, who was born in Spain in 1965, puts the structural qualities of painting into question by liberating them from their two-dimensional existence. Canvases and stretcher frames are cut, torn, and broken for this purpose and emerge as objects that challenge their categorization as painting. De la Cruz thus—literally and quite brutally—detaches the idea of the picture from its physical carrier as well as from tradition: “The moment I cut through the canvas I get rid of the grandiosity of painting.”
The exhibition presents four large-format works in red/brilliant pink, ultramarine blue/light blue, titanium white/off white and cadmium yellow/light yellow. Each of them consists of three superimposed layers of canvas, each painted with a square and a border in one of the four color combinations. In the same minimalist aesthetic, a small, simple portrait format hangs in ultramarine blue/light blue in the Window Space. Here too, the canvas falls wrinkled from the frame and reveals a further glossy layer, as if the canvas was constantly reproducing itself, renewing itself, healing itself; a simultaneous representation or a metamorphosis, so to speak, of the picture’s creation, which is conceptually significant for Angela de la Cruz.
But at the outset of every painting there is always a narrative, which is naturally also important in the conception of an exhibition. “There is always a narrative when I approach my exhibition. I always think about a story or situation and then articulate my work in the space accordingly.” In regards to Layers at Galerie Thomas Schulte, de la Cruz says that the exhibition should feel like a “party that was slowly fading, people leaving one by one”. As a reference she cites the film “The Day of the Triffids”, which is based on a post-apocalyptic science-fiction novel. With this series of works, she makes reference to the universal and individual, above all political uncertainty of our time. In this way, she provides a commentary on the current weakening of democracy in Britain.
Angela de la Cruz repeatedly emphasizes the narrative quality that underlies her works, both in terms of her own life and in terms of objects such as used chairs and cupboards that she integrates into her works. This is also the case with the two brown painted sculptures made of hollow aluminum forms, which are also part of the exhibition. The angular boxes from her Crates series are bent, crushed, and interlocked. Placed atop the box is a chair with noticeable wear.
Within all her work there is a clear notion of tension and violence, contrasting the artist’s contemplative and meditative painting process. De la Cruz’s works thus become a representation of materiality and body, in motion between strength and fragility; between the beautiful and the broken, tension and relaxation. It is this dynamic that keeps the works moving in different ways. “My work is an investigation, but I am not a scholar, I am an observer”. If one were to sit on the boxes, one could overlook the scenery from above.
With the exhibition To a passer-by Galerie Krinzinger wants to present an overview of international femaleartists the gallery has represented and exhibited since many years: Marina Abramovic (since 1975), Monica Bonvicini (since 2019), Johanna Calle (be 2013), Angela de la Cruz (since 1997), Gülsün Karamustafa (since 2016), Maha Malluh (since 2012), and Mithu Sen (since 2009);
The gallery was always known for representing about fifty percent female artists within the program - as early as in 1975, with Frauen Kunst – Neue Tendenzen one of the first exhibitions exclusively showing female artists with the participation of Marina Abramović, Jole de Freitas, Valie Export , Natalia Lach-Lachowcz, Gina Pane, Carolee Schneemann, Katharina Sieverding etc. For To a passer-by, only the international artists of the gallery were chosen, as the Austrian artists (Martha Jungwirth, Brigitte Kowanz, Ulrike Lienbacher, Rosmarie Lukasser, Anja Ronacher, Eva Schlegel etc.) have been strongly represented in major shows in the recent years.
The exhibition is supposed to be a serious status quo in collaboration with the artists, who all have selected certain works for this show. In decision to add a curators point of view we could win Eva Maria Stadler and Ursula Pokorny for the project, they formulated this short text and the title of the exhibition.
11th October 2017
MACBA Collection. Beneath the Surface exhibition, which will consist of thirty works from the MACBA Collection and three from the contemporary art collection of the Fundació ”la Caixa”, will be presented on Level 0 of the Museum from 10 October 2017 until November 2018.
All these works share an interest in the problems deriving from representation and its limits, as well as showing a concern for the relevance and incidence of the artist and art in contemporary society. Although they do so from different theoretical presuppositions, many of them take a similar perspective and approach to post-Minimal language that blends Conceptual forms with personal and political content. Contents of very diverse nature lie beneath a certain contemporary fascination with material and surface.
MACBA Collection. Beneath the Surface is a journey that features works in various formats. The opening display of the exhibition brings together artists such as Ignasi Aballí, Antoni Tàpies, Lucio Fontana, Karla Black and Art & Language, who, given that painting is now held to question as a space of representation, have explored the surface of the work, either highlighting the pigment layer or denying its materiality. The dramatically objectified painting-assemblages of Ángela de la Cruz, next to experiments with the cinematographic surface, such as Derek Jarman’s Blue (1993), and other works that provide a powerful political charge to the chromatic layer, such as Latifa Echakhch’s installation À chaque stencil une révolution (2007), complete the opening of the exhibition.
The following displays explore the transitions of the pictorial plane into space with works that privilege volume. The cellular structures of Absalon, like those of Gregor Schneider, critically redefine concepts such as ‘place’ and ‘room’, while also problematising the very idea of space. Charlotte Posenenske’s and Rita McBride’s Minimalist investigations, on the other hand, prioritise domestic elements or other items from urban culture in order to resignify them in the urban context or in that of the artificial white space of the museum, respectively.
The exhibition also presents works in which, beneath the idea of surface, memory and intimacy prevail. Thus in Atrabiliarios (1993) by Doris Salcedo, boxes covered with translucent parchments hiding unpaired shoes talk about disappearance. In the same way, Ignasi Aballí’s traces of dust on a wall evoke the passage of time.
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work, Architettura dello specchio (1990), will close the exhibition by adding to its false pictorial skin all the images of the real city.
*In January 2018, in association with the idea of ‘construction’ and ‘room’, the exhibition will be completed with the addition of works by Pep Agut and Jordi Colomer.
Curator: Antònia Maria Perelló
NEVER THE SAME RIVER
5 October – 21 December 2019
PV: 4th of October
To a Passer-by
11 September – 12 October 2019
PV: 10th of September