In Praise of Shadows
On occasion of Gallery Weekend, Johnen Galerie is proud to announce Martin Boyce’s first solo exhibition since winning the Turner Prize in 2011.
Boyce’s work can be likened to melancholic, visual poems that consist of a vocabulary derived from Modern design and architecture. Boyce constructs his work by using a complex, visual language of historical design objects that he puts in relation to the present. He focuses on the origins of these objects and explores how the political and esthetic background has transformed over time. Modernity has become the stage for highly ambivalent experiences, and Boyce’s works inquire to which degree its hopes and dreams had to be adjusted to reality as time went by. His work has been greatly shaped and influenced by the abstract concrete trees by the brothers Joel and Jan Martel, designed in 1925 for a Parisian garden. The trees symbolize nature’s submission to design. Boyce uses the trees’ underlying geometric shapes as forms of departure for creating such diverse objects as lettering, lamps, screens, masks, leaves, grilles, fences and furniture. These elements in turn form installations and environments where nature and architecture collapse and evoke a melancholic ambiance of decay and abandonment. Boyce often composes letter-shaped fragments of the concrete tree leaves that can be read as poetic text. It is his poetry that prevents Boyce’s art from ever being cold and detached in its exactitude. On the contrary, the multitude of variations and associations draws the viewer in and touches a deeper place.
Martin Boyce (b. 1967) lives and works in Glasgow where he attended the School of Art until 1990. Solo exhibitions of his work include Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh (1999), MMK Frankfurt (2002), Tramway Glasgow (2002), Adolf-Luther-Prize exhibition, Krefeld (2004), Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva (2007), Scottish Pavilion of Biennale di Venezia (2009) and Turner Prize exhibition, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2011).