A Forty Year Perspective
Faggionato Fine Arts is proud to present the first London exhibition of Romanian-born American artist Serge Spitzer, comprising a large-scale site-specific installation in Victoria SW1 and a gallery exhibition. Long regarded as one of the most significant artists of his generation the last exhibition in the UK was a survey, Serge Spitzer / Index 1972-1992, at the Henry Moore institute in Leeds in 1994.
A Forty Year Perspective is a selection of works in Spitzer’s career that reflect his development as an important pioneer of post-Minimalist and site-specific art, and convey his enduring concerns with the complexity of meaning, the implications of ambiguity and stereotype for social, historical and metaphysical understanding.
In 1991 Harald Szeemann described Spitzer as “a master at installing this new sculptural quality that makes us so uneasy, that so shocks our perceptual habits ...Everything has his own particular signature of commingling – sophistication in the guise of banality, circumspection and innovation brought back into the everyday language of elements screwed together.”
Objects and materials saturated with prosaic content – legal paper, industrial metal, recycled glass, wood, rubber – are re-contextualised in the space they inhabit, displacing and subverting their meaning. Formally precise, witty and direct, works such as Deadload/Deadlock, 1985, foreground the processes and problematic economies of industrial production in their use of milled aluminium and rubber, while simultaneously engaging with their architectural context –About Sculpture, 1984-87, is held by shock absorbers against the walls, whileBerlin Corridor, 1984, transects the gallery space and impedes the flow of viewers through the exhibition. Conversely, works using fused thread on legal paper, all Untitled (Law Blanks), 1994, challenge the conventions of perceptual representation by compelling us to read both the recto and verso at the same time, as the thread lines disappear through and re-emerge visible through the thin printed paper.
Still Life 2008-2012, is a site-specific installation made for the space of the former loading docks of the Royal Mail in Victoria. It is the final chapter in a major series of works that addresses Spitzer’s enduring interest in the relations between reality and perception, through the metaphor of molecular structures, their latent potential and their entropic fate. Spitzer’s installations, frequently exhibited in museums and public spaces internationally over the last few decades, uniquely meld diverse aesthetic, metaphysical and critical ideas into a dramatically affecting and formally lucid whole, often on a grand scale. Still Life’s unique, robotically produced individual fragments appear identical in spite of their clear differences. With their repeated placement they amplify the poetic of a simple gesture. As they move and diverge from their ordered arrangement, the industrial becomes organic, order changes to chance and chaos takes over.
Serge Spitzer was born in Bucharest in 1951. He lives and works in New York. His works have been exhibited in many museums and art institutions, among them Folkwang Museum Essen, 1979; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1983; Kunstmuseum, Bern, 1984 and 2006; Magasin, Grenoble, 1987; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, 1992; Kunsthalle and Kunstverein, Düsseldorf, 1993; IVAM Centro Julio Gonzales and Centro del Carme, Valencia, 1994; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, 1995; Kunsthalle, Bern, 2003; (MMK) Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2006; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, 2008; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2010.
Spitzer has participated in a number of international art exhibitions and biennials including Documenta 8, Kassel, 1987; Istanbul Biennial, 1994; Biennale de Lyon, 1997; Kwangju Biennial, 1997; Venice Biennale, 1999, Sydney Biennial, 2010.
His work is represented in public and private collections, among them, Brooklyn Museum, New York; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge MA; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Kunstmuseum, Bern; IVAM Instituto Valenciano d’Arte Moderno, Valencia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon; Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt am Main; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Staatliche Museen Neue Galerie, Kassel; Staatens Museum for Kunst, Kopenhagen; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Menil Collection, Houston TX; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven CT.
Open until 8pm on Friday 12 October and 10am-4pm on Saturday 13 October
It is with tremendous sadness that Faggionato Fine Art announces the sudden death of Serge Spitzer in New York last week, following a ten-year battle with leukaemia.
Long regarded as one of the most significant artists of his generation and an important pioneer of post minimalist and site-specific art, Spitzer’s works have been shown in museums, biennales and galleries worldwide. Always charming, curious and enthusiastic, he managed his illness with great fortitude and was involved in the making of new works, projects and exhibitions right up to a few days before his death.
Our thoughts are with his family, colleagues and friends at this sad time.
In a tribute to his work Faggionato Fine Art will continue with the planned exhibition A Forty Year Perspective, 3 October – 23 November 2012. An exhibition of key pieces selected by the artist which convey his enduring concerns with the complexity of meaning, the implications of ambiguity and stereotype for social, historical and metaphysical understanding.
Out of respect for the integrity of the artist’s practice, Faggionato Fine Art will not be exhibiting the site-specific installation Still Life, 2008–2012, at 12 Francis Street.