Galerie Fons Welters is pleased to present Highly Liquid, an exhibition of new works by Magali Reus. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition at the gallery, comprising a video piece and a series of sculptural works.
The video Highly Liquid is encountered immediately upon entering the gallery. Shot in slow-motion high definition, the video features a man’s body in extreme close-up, the details of his figure in friction with a continuous flow of water from an unspecified source. The man himself remains neutral and detached; his age, character and whereabouts undefined and irrelevant, as the fragmented vignettes of image flatten what might be a full body into a single plane of focus. In a kind of mechanised voyeurism, the camera pans his abstracted contours, obsessively trained on the dips, outlines and sculpted moments of skin. The rhythmic formations of the water magnify and agitate an idea of retinal desire, but the moments are so fleeting that any idea of sexiness is laminated beyond reach of bodily heat or touch.
In the backspace of the gallery, physical activity is isolated to the margins, with a peripheral hang of fold-open chairs mounted at low level on the walls. Some singled out and others paired in groups, the chairs are modular units, unavoidably suggestive of functional usage, but ultimately absent from any operative human force. Hung in stutters, full stops and longer bursts, the chairs line the walls like suggestive moments of conversation, their domestic recognisability snagging between quiet legibility and a more calculated pose. The role of eye level analogises them with the body, building up a tense relationship to the surrounding space which is provided with a peripheral perspective, but whose borders are indeterminable. Flat sufaces alternate with broken arrangements, architectural nods to impersonal efficiency and a space opened up to fragility and a kind of graphic obsessiveness. With their flat blank colours and gently moulded resin forms, the chairs have a softness reminiscent of corporate packaging or children’s bedrooms but there is a violence to their surface impenetrability: they cannot exude or absorb, are wipe clean, and so sealed and emotionally reluctant. Instead of inviting the activities of sitting or rest, these chairs acts as platforms for further object interruptions: things that prop open, divide, hold locked and surround are integrated in and around the forms. Stitched plastic covers, perforated aluminium tubing and high performance fabrics all in some way suggest an extension or improvement of the body’s animation, using the chairs as a platform for visibility. But like the slow-motion high definition of the video, the promise of fulfilment and speed is one isolated just out of physical grasp.
A glass container, which sits seamlessly inside a wall opposite the office, acts as a connecting vehicle between the two opposite halves of the gallery. Held within its compact environment are displayed cast, polyurethane black rubber watches stranded in a layer of iced water, like dead fish in a cool cocktail. The watches in this tank are obsolete, unable to register any passing of time or movement. Like an impoverished still life, the watches are accessories set within an unendingly comical cycle between solid freeze and liquid collapse, this abstract container with its rigid fluidity, both impersonal, calculated and alluring.
Magali Reus lives and works in Amsterdam (NL) and London (UK). Reus studied at Goldsmiths in London and is currently a resident artist at The Rijksakademie. Solo exhibitions include Hands Down, unosolo project room, Milan (2013), ON, The Approach, London (2012); Weekend, Galerie Fons Welters (2010), Background, IBID Projects London, La Salle de Bains, Lyon, France (2009/2010); Group exhibitions include: Heavy duty, silent haze, racing hearts, FreymondGuth LTD, Zurich, CH (2013); Material World, NEST, The Hague, NL (2013); Painting Without Paint, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, DK (2012); superpositions, New Wight Biennial 2012, New Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, USA; Rain, curated by Nicolas Deshayes, Cell Project Space, London, UK (2011), Young London, V22 Collection, London, UK (2011), Rehearsal, curated by Nazil Gurlek, Galeri NON, Istanbul, Turkey (2011).
This exhibition was made possible with the support of Mondriaan Foundation and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam