Bureau is pleased to announce the gallery's first solo exhibition by London-based artist Vivienne Griffin. The exhibition, The Me Song for Now Here, will open on March 3 at Bureau's Henry Street space and will run through April 7 2013.
Working in diverse media, Griffin's practice has many points of convergence. Text-based pieces morph from drawing to sculpture to sound; typographic forms give way to geometric abstraction. Found detritus and used objects mingle with the permanence of mineral solidity. Bleak words are funny, and transform into ambiguous faces, which give way to romantic portraits of female idols. Griffin's practice, by virtue of its willful heterogeneity, is a complex study of subjectivity, pain and dark humor.
The form of the letter 'i' recurs in much of Griffin's work and is featured in one of the artist's new black marble sculptures. The simple, solid and iconic form – an 'i' with its spherical dot taken perhaps by gravity, resting beside its rectangular post – sits somewhere between an alphabetical character and its component platonic solids. The linguistic implications in the English language of this letter confront the viewer: our first person subject standing in space, slightly compromised. The small 'i' is paired with a larger marble; a rectilinear column with a zig-zag break at its center. Based on a Soviet-era Lithuanian monument, the break in the column's continuity inscribes an unspoken act of defiance and dissonance into the form. These simplified black solids suggest a broad, linguistic possibility for geometric sculpture.
The small sampling of text-drawings around the room reinforce a dual-reading, where phrases read as jokes and laments and the depiction of letters describes a pure architecture. Painted with black India ink and utilizing a bold, sans serif simplicity, her drawings contribute to a kind of cogent semantic landscape which sets the stage of the gallery.
Sound and light permeate the installation. Faint shadows rove and sound-scapes fill the room with sonic experiments, including Griffin's robotic version of English playwright Sarah Kane's devastating final work, 4:48 Psychosis. Griffin's frank rendition of Kane's piece offsets its severe treatment of depression, anger and isolation. Griffin's overall deadpan style with text, geometry and found objects alike shows an unusual ability to treat her material both with seriousness and levity. We find ourselves laughing at the saddest passages and feeling empty at the suggestion of beauty. The installation offers an entrance into Griffins formal languages and the interplay between disparate systems of form and meaning.
Vivienne Griffin (b. 1975, Dublin, lives and works in London England) received her MFA in 2009 from Hunter College, supported by a Fulbright scholarship and received her BFA at Crawford College, Cork Ireland in 2004. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in London and New York including Bureau's inaugural group show in 2010, Solid State. She regularly collaborates with artist Cian McConn, most recently for his solo project Open Close Thing at Tintype Gallery, London as well as in performance at the Chisenhale Studios, London with Kaspars Groshevs.