Projects by Six Leading Young Generation Artists at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
An exhibition showcasing work by six leading young international artists opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 23 July. Projects: by Ceal Floyer, Ellen Gallagher, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Gillian Wearing and Yukinori Yanagi presents some of today’s most prominent younger generation artists, all exhibiting for the first time in Ireland. The artists’ practices encompass painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and video. Working with the museums’ curators each artist has addressed the individual exhibition spaces, the resulting works range from a wall drawing by Yukinori Yanagi to a radio-telescope sculpture for the courtyard by Paul Ramirez Jonas.
Ceal Floyer’s (b 1968, Karachi, Pakistan) work uses a variety of media, and an understated sense of humour, to undermine the viewer’s expectations. In Carousel (1996) visual and aural perceptions are subtly thrown into question. On approaching the space the visitor hears the familiar repetitive sound of a slide projector. However what we see in the space is a record playing the sound. Floyer has exhibited widely throughout the United Kingdom and in Portugal, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany, and at the Venice and Istanbul Biennales. She has recently had solo shows in New York, London and Italy. She lives and works in London.
Ellen Gallagher’s (b 1965, Rhode Island, USA) paintings and drawings are from a recent body of work completed over the past year. Four paintings have come directly from the artist’s studio and have not been exhibited before. Gallagher uses a complex minimalist style to create large, grid-like surfaces on which linear or cartoon forms represent recognisable images such as eyes, ears and mouths. By these means she questions the nature of painting and explores issues of language and cultural identity, including her own African-American / Irish-American heritage. Gallagher’s work wasrepresented in the Whitney Biennial in 1995 and in Inside the Visible at the ICA, Boston, and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1996-97. She had two solo shows in New York and London in 1996. She lives and works in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Paul Ramirez Jonas (b 1965, California, raised in Honduras) is passionately involved in the ‘stuff of invention’. He makes sculpture which involves re-making objects, events and experiments largely from the history of science and technology but also remaining firmly connected to his own identity and position as an artist working today. His work frequently deals with the work of male heroes drawing parallels between romantic notions of the artist as outsider and the lone explorer. In His Truth is Marching On (1993), bottles containing different amounts of water hang in a circle, illustrating a scientific demonstration of pitch. Viewers are invited to unlock the work by striking each bottle in turn to produce the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Ramirez Jonas lives and works in New York. He has had several international solo and group exhibitions including Postmasters Gallery, New York, and White Cube / Jay Jopling, London.
Wolfgang Tillmans (b 1970, Reimsheid, Germany) positions himself between the worlds of fine art photography and photojournalism, showing his work through galleries, magazines and books. He uses the possibilities and limitations of all these platforms, fully accepting and exploiting the differences of meaning they give to his photographs. His work embraces all genres of photography - still life, landscape, fashion, portrait and documentation - not as a means to explore the formal history of photography but as a structure through which to reflect his plurality of vision. Tillmans’ photographs openly acknowledge the relationship between photographer and subject. In fact the one unifying feature of his work, from friends to clothing to landscape, is an engagement with the subject at that moment. For this exhibition he has created an installation from all areas of his work, with each image functioning in its own right but ultimately as part of a whole. Tillmans has recently had a solo exhibition at Chisenhall Gallery, London. Since the late 1980s his work has appeared in many arts and fashion magazines.
Gillian Wearing (b 1963, Birmingham, UK) works primarily in video and photography delving into the collective subconscious, revealing through gentle and sympathetic means the fears, anxieties, hopes and moral viewpoints of her subjects and, through them, those of the spectator. The subjects for her work come largely from her immediate surroundings in London. One work in the exhibition, the video piece Homage to the Woman with a Bandaged Face (1995) is based on a chance encounter on the Walworth Road. In the accompanying text, Wearing describes her desire to emulate the woman who had such an effect on her and to pass this onto the public through this “act of homage”. Her video records the reactions of the passers by who became the unsuspecting subjects of the work. Wearing uses choreographed actors, herself and the public as subjects for her work and the three works in the exhibition cover all these approaches. Wearing has exhibited widely in Europe and the UK and will have a solo show in New York later this year. She has recently been nominated for the 1997 Turner Prize. Wearing lives and works in London.
Yukinori Yanagi’s (b 1959, Fukuoka, Japan) practice is heavily influenced by his reaction to the “ghettos of Japanese art education, Japanese modern art and the Japanese art system.” Yanagi was one of the first Japanese artists to confront the political, economic and social systems of contemporary Japan through this work. These concerns have found expression in a number of works concerned with boundaries. His best-known works have been based on tracing the wanderings of a single ant released within a steel frame, which show the centre of the surface lightly criss-crossed while the edges were heavily marked showing the persistent efforts of the ant to escape or at least comprehend the boundaries. Yanagi has created a new Wandering Position work for the exhibition, which includes a video of the making of the drawing.
Projects can be seen at the Irish Museum of Modern Art until 12 October 1997.