'Everything Beautiful is Far Away' is a show about abstraction. The featured artists are Gino Saccone, Anami Schrijvers, Conrad Shawcross and Gert & Uwe Tobias. In the very different works of these artists, one can see a shared formalistic language and awareness of abstraction's ever present history. These are, however, definitely not abstract artists. Their works contain external, literal starting points - such as science, the self, philosophy and history - as well as figurative elements. But in their realisation, as well as our perception as viewers, they convey many possibilities and approaches to abstraction. In this group, we seek to open dialogues between the works that question our current expectations of abstract art.
Transylvanian folklore, embroidery, Constructivism, de Stijl are some of the sources that find themselves translated by Gert & Uwe Tobias into woodcut prints. These two untitled works showcase their ability to portray numerous references in a robust visual language. In one work, a ghoul-face hangs upside-down below a grid upon which flat-colour blocks, shapes and lines have been arranged. There is a playfulness and a lightness in the composition and use of colour. However, the anecdotal quotations and the stylistic features, which stretch back to early Modernism, charge their prints with the weight of history.
Anami Schrijvers follows numerous medias and possibilities in a practice which is informed by a philosophical questioning about the autonomy of an artwork. His sculpture 'Tauroctony' (2009) is formed from sheets of red industrial plastic that have been melted, bent, stretched, squashed and sealed together. His choice of polyethylene as a material offers Schrijver's the challenge of controlling this unruly material - there is a palpable tension between the physical constitution of the material and Schrijvers' intentions for it. Filled with textural detail and a tormented physicality, one can still feel the performative, expressive presence of its creation.
Gino Saccone practice moves fluidly between sculpture, film, installation and works on paper; these different works existing often in relation to one other. For the exhibition he will show two print-works, 'Lap Up' and 'Largely Staying Out of the Conversation' (both 2009). In these he layers prints on paper with drawings and acetates. There is a cumulative affect in the gathering and arrangement of these parts until a satisfying composition is reached - one that displays subtle contrasts in the nuances of texture of the surfaces, alongside an understanding of the relationship between the varied colours, forms and materials - this, in particular, being a quality characteristic to abstract art.
Conrad Shawcross's sculpture 'Axiom' (2009) is named after a mathematical term for a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it. Scientists, inventors, cosmology and radiant geometry are the typical inspirations for his multi-media, often kinetic sculptures. This ambitious, epic work carries the imaginative, dreamlike aspects of science - that sense of wonder and impossibility that it can possess. Shawcross seeks to inhabit a ground where the viewer is placed in awe and shown objects that, in their function, presence and scale, are impossible to verbalise. Axiom, with its heavy materiality and strong geometric forms, connects unmistakeably to the history of abstract sculpture.
Gino Saccone (1979, Jersey Channel Islands) is currently a participant at the Rijskakademie in Amsterdam, where he won the Uriôt Prijs for his recent open ateliers presentation. Saccone exhibited previously at Galerie Gabriel Rolt in November 2008 with the solo show Haptic Field. Recent exhibitions include ‘Haptic Field’ at Galerie Gabriel Rolt (2008), ‘Implant’ at The UBS Art Gallery, New York (2008), ‘The Saw Show’ at the Finn Collective, Glasgow (2007), Independents Liverpool Biennial (2006),He studied in London at the Royal College of Art.
Anami Schrijvers (1984, Oost-Maarland NL) is a graduate of the Rietveld Academie and was a participant of de Ateliers in Amsterdam. He has exhibited at PAKT (Amsterdam), as part of the the Between Dark and White series of exhibitions, and Museum Het Glaspaleis (Heerlen).
Born in 1977, Conrad Shawcross lives and works in London. He has had solo exhibitions at Jenaer Kunstverein, Germany (2008), The New Art Gallery, Walsall, and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2005), and the National Maritime Museum (2004). His work has also been exhibited internationally at institutions including Musée d’art Contemporain, Lyon (2008), Art Basel | 39 (2008), La Chapelle de L’Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2008), The Saatchi Gallery (2004) and Manifesta 5, San Sebastian, Spain (2004). He is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London and will have a New York solo gallery exhibition with Pace Wildenstein in the Spring of 2010.
Gert and Uwe Tobias (1973, Brasov Romania) have exhibited their work at the Franz Gertsch Museum in Switzerland, in Kunsthalle Wien Projectspace in Vienna, in Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover and have forthcoming shows in La Conservera in Murcia and in Collezione Maramotti in Regio Emilia in Italy. Other solo shows include Kunstmuseum Bonn (2008), Projects 86 Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007), Bergen Kunsthalle (2007), Brukenthal Museum (2007), Kunstverein Heilbronn (2007), UCLA Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles (2006), Bonner Kunstverein (2005)., as well in galleries worldwide.