Galerie Lelong & Co. presents Michelle Stuart: Flight of Time, the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery since joining in 2018. The exhibition features drawings, photographs, and sculptures that span over forty years of her remarkable oeuvre.
Stuart has worked on both a monumental and intimate scale to excavate universal human experiences, from collective memory to the natural landscape.
Stuart is widely celebrated as a pioneer of land art with her groundbreaking hybrid uses of earth, drawing, and photography in the 1960s and 70s. In recent years, Stuart’s photography has developed into a crucial part of her practice and garnered international recognition. Central to the exhibition is a new work, These Fragments Against Time (2018), which combines photography with found objects and sculptural forms. At the fore is a collection of anthropological curiosities that compare the work’s looming images of cosmic observation with the passage of time, life, and death, that animal bones and fossils evoke. As is true of much her work, Stuart personally traveled to a site, collecting materials that became part of the piece. Stuart recalls, “We hired a sailboat, The Jupiter, and its crew and we sailed it thirty miles out to sea offshore of the Carolinas in order to photograph the solar eclipse as it was passing out into the Atlantic.”
Similarly, Flight of Time (2016), from which the exhibition takes its name, intersperses found photography with the artist’s own images to coalesce a myriad of movements in nature, from entomology to botany. Originally exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA in 2017, this will be the first time the work is shown in the United States. Stuart also confronts challenging questions about human behavior in the Anthropocene epoch. In While We Went About Etherized (2012) and Landscape of Evil (2008-11), Stuart interweaves images of war with primal scenes in nature.
The indexical, serial quality of Stuart’s photography recalls her earlier works from the 1970s. Stuart took materials such as earth and rocks from different locations, rubbing and pounding them directly onto paper in the studio until they attained an almost mineralized surface, naming the work after the site. In scrolls such as Mesa Verde (1977) and Zacapa (1978), Stuart confronts the divergence between physical space and embodied memory, the “natural” versus artist-made.
A catalogue featuring an essay by Barry Schwabsky will accompany the exhibition.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)