Alison Jacques Gallery presents its fifth exhibition of work by Ian Kiaer.
Following his recent solo exhibition Endnote, tooth at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Kiaer’s new work builds on earlier projects inspired by utopian architectural thought, including that of Frederick Kiesler. The exhibition features new paintings, models and inflatable sculpture, extending Kiaer’s enquiries into the history of visionary architecture to propose alternative ways of sensing and rationalising the world around us.
The exhibition space features Kiaer’s recent body of work Endnote, ping (2018). This includes multi-layered paintings comprising of Plexiglas repurposed from London bus shelters laid over delicate watercolour paintings and drawings on paper. Kiaer begins with drawings on which he masks delineated areas of the surface with impermeable materials including varnish, and then floods the exposed areas with acrylic paint. These works are made horizontally, on the studio floor, and are responsive to, and merge with the traces and stains of the street already accrued on the Plexiglas.
The works in the exhibition are the product of three avenues of enquiry and are, by nature, fragmentary. Firstly, Kiaer explores West Coast utopian architecture of the 1970s, in particular experimental and temporary structures, such as inflatables and biomorphic constructions proposed in the initiative Quick City, organised by architects Peter de Bretteville and Craig Hodgetts in Los Angeles. Kiaer sees this as a period during which art and architecture converged to produce more liberated alternatives to the rigid demands of modernism.
Secondly, Kiaer relates to the work of the philosopher Michael Marder, a proponent of ‘environmental thought’, which considers plants as living beings that possess their own forms of subjectivity. Marder’s work develops a critique of anthropocentric empathy towards plants, and has been influential to Kiaer’s recent work. In preparation for the exhibition, he has been visiting and making drawings in the prefabricated greenhouses at Oxford Botanic Gardens. Finally, Kiaer brings these two concerns into relation through fragments from the Samuel Beckett short story, Ping, (1966) an embodied space where repeated words defy a linear reading in favour of something more spatial, material and rhythmic.
For two decades, Kiaer has worked with provisional materials including cardboard, foam core, and plastic sheeting to produce paintings and sculptures that rest between chance and intentionality, emphasising qualities of lightness, impermanence and transparency. The apparent vulnerability of his work is indicative of a practice that continually throws the status of the work as art into question.
Ian Kiaer (b. London, 1971) lives and works in London and Oxford.
Kiaer will have a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Lingen, Germany, 21 September – 15 December 2019. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include Endnote, tooth, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2017); Endnote, Ledoux, Neubauer Collegium, Chicago (2016); Limp Oak, Lulu, Mexico City (2015); Tooth House, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2014); Tooth House, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea (2014) and Centre International de l’art et du Paysage, Vassivière (2013). Recent museum group shows include A Slice through the World: Contemporary Artists’ Drawings, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford (2018); We Stared at the Moon from the Centre of the Sun, Towner Art Gallery, Sussex (2018); Strange Days, frac île-de- france, Paris (2017); Klappe eins, Affe tot, Kunstsaele Berlin, Berlin (2016) and Concrete, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (2015).
Kiaer’s work is in public collections including Tate, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, and Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin.Ian Kiaer, Endnote, ping murmer, 2018. Acrylic, pencil on paper, plexiglass 178 x 240 cm 70 1/8 x 94 1/2 in © Ian Kiaer. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery, London