Collection

DRAF is responsible for the David Roberts Collection. Started in the mid 1990s, the Collection currently comprises over 2,000 works. It focuses on contemporary works but also includes some modern works. It is not focused on a specific medium, generation or geographical area.

01 Artists

The David Roberts Collection includes works by more than 600 artists, including: 

Caroline Achaintre, Horst Ademeit, Craigie Aitchinson, Doug Aitken, Ozlem Altin, Danai Anesiadou, Ida Applebroog, Charles Avery, John Baldessari, Miroslaw Balka, Fiona Banner, Sara Barker, Phyllida Barlow, Yto Barrada, Nina Beier, Neil Beloufa, Walead Beshty, Huma Bhabha, Pierre Bismuth, Karla Black, Peter Blake, Katinka Bock, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Martin Boyce, Boyle Family, Mark Bradford, Candice Breitz, Cecily Brown, Peter Buggenhout, Daniel Buren, Gerald Byrne, Miriam Cahn, Varda Caivano, Anthony Caro, Maurizio Cattelan, Patrick Caulfield, Etienne Chambaud, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Marieta Chirulescu, Dan Colen, George Condo, Quilla Constance AKA Jennifer Allen, Nigel Cooke, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Keith Coventry, Tony Cragg, Michael Craig-Martin, Martin Creed, Gregory Crewdson, John Currin, Aaron Curry, Keren Cytter, Dexter Dalwood, Enrico David, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Richard Deacon, Michael Dean, Wim Delvoye, Thomas Demand, Jason Dodge, Peter Doig, Tara Donovan, Alex Dordoy, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Shannon Ebner, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Tracey Emin, Inka Essenhigh, Cerith Wyn Evans, Valie Export, Ayan Farah, Tessa Farmer, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Spencer Finch, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Lucian Freud, Simon Fujiwara, Barnaby Furnas, Cyprien Gaillard, Neil Gall, Ellen Gallagher, Dora GarcÌa, Theaster Gates, Kendell Geers, Gilbert and George, Adrian Ghenie, Luigi Ghirri, Jim Goldberg, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Laurent Grasso, Rodney Graham, Harry Gruyaert, Subodh Gupta, Andreas Gursky, Philip Guston, Marcus Harvey, Mona Hatoum, Eberhard Havekost, Raphaele Hefti, Jeppe Hein, Lothar Hempel, Eva Hesse, Damien Hirst, Alexander Hoda, Jenny Holzer, Jonathan Horowitz, Thomas Houseago, Peter Howson, Zhang Huan, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Graham Hudson, Des Hughes, Marine Hugonnier, Gary Hume, Bethan Huws, Pierre Huyghe, Nathan Hylden, Jorg Immendorff, Matthew Day Jackson, Richard Jackson, Sergej Jensen, Renaud Jerez, Chantal Joffe, Rashid Johnson, Jitish Kallat, Anish Kapoor, Ian Kiaer, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Leon Kossoff, Yayoi Kusama, Gerald Laing, Jim Lambie, Michael Landy, Elad Lassry, John Latham, Lars Laumann, Bob Law, Leigh Ledare, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Liliane Lijn, George Henry Longly, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Markus Lupertz, Tala Madani, Lee Maelzer, Benoit Maire, David Maljkovic, Victor Man, Mark Manders, Christian Marclay, Kris Martin, Patrizio Di Massimo, Paul McCarthy, Bruce McLean, Susan Meiselas, Marilyn Minter, Joan Miro, Donald Moffett, Jonathan Monk, Henry Moore, Katy Moran, Helmut Newton, Roman Ondak, Julian Opie, Tony Oursler, Eduardo Paolozzi, Marlo Pascual, A.R. Penck, Grayson Perry, Seth Pick, Pablo Pijnappel, Falke Pisano, Reto Pulfer, Marc Quinn, Nathaniel Rackowe, Benedict Radcliffe, Rashid Rana, Man Ray, Paula Rego, Tobias Rehberger, Anselm Reyle, Manuela Ribadeneira, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Damien Roach, Pietro Roccasalva, James Rosenquist, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Doris Salcedo, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz, Markus Schinwald, David Schutter, Indre Serpytyte, George Shaw, Raqib Shaw, Conrad Shawcross, Cindy Sherman, Erin Shirreff, Yinka Shonibare, Jamie Shovlin, David Shrigley, Santiago Sierra, Lorna Simpson, Dirk Skreber, Andreas Slominski, Anj Smith, Bob & Roberta Smith, Kaspar Sonne, Simon Starling, John Stezaker, Catherine Sullivan, Eve Sussman, Adam Thompson, Mark Titchner, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ryan Gander and Mario Garcia Torres, Rosemarie Trockel, Oscar Tuazon, William Turnbull, Ian Tweedy, Keith Tyson, Fredrik Vaerslev, Lesley Vance, Joana Vasconcelos, Banks Violette/ Gardar Eide Einarsson, Ulla von Brandenburg, Danh Vo, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol, Rebecca Warren, Gary Webb, Ai Weiwei, Franz West, Michael Wilkinson, Feng Zhengjie, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, Thomas Zipp. 

02 Collection Postcards

 

Collection Postcards are weekly stories from the David Roberts Collection.

20.01.2021

Flora Yukhnovich
Thank Heaven for Little Girls, 2018-19
oil on linen
220 × 190cm

Flora Yukhnovich’s paintings explore the aesthetics of femininity throughout art history. Whilst originally trained in portraiture and drawing from life, she has moved to much more abstract works where figuration – legs, a face, or in this case, a tree – can be spotted amongst the decorative curving lines and pastel palette, which are inspired by Rococo painters. She equally names Abstract Expressionism as an influence, especially in terms of being able to see the movement of the artist behind the paint. The pinks and copper tones in particular have been applied in thick scrapes and strokes of oil paint, that make her gestures easily readable.

At over 2m in height and almost the same in length Thank Heaven for Little Girls is certainly not a little canvas. Speaking to art historian Katy Hessel about the scale of her work Yuknovich says “I like painting really big, because it feels like a challenge, and your whole body is engaged – you feel a sense of adrenaline at having to conquer this massive thing that is there looming over you.”

Rococo is typically thought of as capturing some historical idea of ‘femininity’ – decorative, whimsical and at times quite opulent – whilst Abstract Expressionism can be viewed as rather macho – big, rebellious, applied by ‘action painting’. Yukhnovich takes these factors on. She is reclaiming them from a female perspective, adding a contemporary twist as with her tongue-in-cheek titling, by means to explore how women are positioned in today’s image-saturated culture.

 

11.01.2021


Sterling Ruby
Monument Stalagmite/P.T.A.C., 2012
PVC pipe, foam, urethane, wood, spray paint and formica unique
494.7 x 99.1 x 160 cm

This almost 5-metre-high Monument is part of a series of similarly shaped sculptures, all made from a base structure of PVC pipes. These are attached to the artist’s studio ceiling and for multiple months layer after layer of urethane resin is poured over them to form this glossy shape. The slow process and resulting shape evoke the geological formation of stalactites, dripping down to a point from the roof of a cave. Once complete Ruby flips the whole structure over, turning the stalactite into the much more phallic stalagmite, before placing it on a pedestal, propped up with aid of a wooden buttress.

It is a characteristic Ruby takes head on, since he is interested in interrogating or deconstructing notions of American identity politics and macho culture. The wooden structure that supports his monument have each been inscribed with an acronym. This one reads P.T.A.C, meaning “party to a crime”. It is a term used by the American police and justice system to indicate an accomplice. This ‘monument’ thereby becomes rather desolate, it stands like a tower to a dissonant American Dream – one that champions individual freedom within a system of mass incarceration.

 

04.01.2021

 Donna Huanca
FIBULA, 2018
oil and sand on digital print on canvas
160 x 124 cm

The fibula is the smaller of two bones running between the knee and the ankle. It is not a weight-bearing bone, instead the function of the fibula is to connect muscles together. The word is Latin, meaning brooch or clasp, and it is when turning that into a verb – ‘to clasp’ – that the word perhaps becomes closest to Huanca’s FIBULA.

Below the layers of paint, pigment and sand in her signature shades of blue sits a digital print. Huanca has used close up photographs of the skin of performers, documented as they inhabit her installations as painted sculptures and transposed them onto canvas. She regards skin ‘as a universal tissue that bonds all humans’ (CURA. 2018). The importance she places on this material can be seen by her painting directly onto skin and incorporating bodily presence and senses like sound, smell and touch in her work. By including the digital print Huanca also makes her canvasses function like an extension of the skin. The paint is ‘clasping’ onto the presence of a body, as it also carries forward information from a previous live performance. The ephemeral experience is preserved by the brushstrokes like muscle memory.

 

21.12.2020


Maha Ahmed

A beast with its stomach stretched full 1
, 2017
gouache on paper
15.2 x 10.2 cm

Maha Ahmed makes work informed by her knowledge of various traditional forms of image making. Here she combines elements from Persian miniature painting and classical Japanese ‘Yamato-e’ painting, in a series of mythical scenes that conjure up both isolation and wonderment.

Yamato-e simply translates as ‘Japanese painting’ and refers to a style that first flourished between 794 – 1185 (the Heian period). It came about to distinguish paintings with a Japanese subject matter from those imported from China. The paintings are narrative based, with or without accompanying text and often feature large clouds or mist banks that fill all negative space.

Miniature painting on paper became a significant genre in Persian art from the 13th century onwards. Animals, mostly shown sideways, have always been a common feature. Ahmed’s mythical creatures are also all depicted in profile. They find themselves in vast cloudy landscapes, almost disappearing into their surroundings as if they want to become a part of it. Though perhaps, as the title of the works might suggest, they have actually consumed their environment and are surveying this hybrid world with happy bellies.

 

14.12.2020

a creme ceramic textured mask-like structure hangs on a wall. The lower right hand side has a soft pink and black ball attached to it.


Caroline Achaintre

She-Balls, 2011
Ceramic, leather
29 x 20 x 8cm

Originally trained as a blacksmith before coming to London in the late 90s to study art, Caroline Achaintre’s works often reference craft traditions, be it by hand tufting wool, basket weaving or working with clay and ceramics. Whilst she creates abstract forms, the final pieces have a strong sense of personality and bodily presence, often with carnivalesque and playful tones.

She-Balls is no exception. The pattern that forms the base is reminiscent of an animal skin – particularly the crosshatching found on snakes, lizards or armadillos (‘little armoured one’ in Spanish). This idea of protecting what lies beneath continues when reading the ceramic form as a mask-like shape. The mask has the potential to conceal emotions that lie beneath, present a false pretence, or in this case perhaps even fetishize the wearer.

 

07.12.2020

White neon letters on a black background read 'Sunday to Thursday, 10_00 - 18_00, Friday and Saturday, 10_00 - 22_00 Closed, 24, 25, 26 December (open as normal on 1 January)'


Jonathan Monk

Museum Opening Hours, 2006
neon sign on perspex base
59 x 300 cm

In the last week many museums and galleries have been able to reopen their doors post lockdown, whilst many minds are thinking ahead to the festive period. Museum Opening Hours plays to this time perfectly, despite being made in a moment where public institutions would be open pretty much all year round, bar those couple of Christmas closure days.

This work by Jonathan Monk often is about looking back to reimagine what lies ahead. Monk often references or appropriates works and strategies from conceptual artists such as Bruce Nauman, Sol Lewitt, or in this case perhaps Joseph Kosuth, which he imbues with personal experience and a dose of humour. Whilst in part an homage to conceptual art, it is also an attempt demystify ideas of originality, purity and authority. The fact he has chosen to render museum opening hours in this neon sculpture becomes more meaningful when considering these words, which are so often associated with artworks once they are displayed within museum walls.

 

30.11.2020


Theaster Gates

A Roof for the Middle Class, 2012
wood, roofing paper, tar and paper
246.5 x 245 cm

Many of Theaster Gates’ best-known projects are tied into his commitment to his neighbourhood, the South Side of Chicago. An area in which he has been focussing on regeneration and social transformation through an art practice that also encompasses sculpture, performance and archives. He is interested in spaces that have been left behind, and contending with what he terms Black space “defined by collective desire, artistic agency, and the tactics of a pragmatist” (About – theastergates.com). This has particular weight in the South Side, still a relatively low-income area grappling with a long history of politicised and structural oppression of minorities.

In the last 15 years he has regenerated almost 40 buildings in the area, turning them into community provisions, artist studios or low-cost housing. But Gates has famously stated “I don’t want to just buy a building, I want to make a building” (Jonathan Griffin, Apollo Magazine interview, 2017). Having studied pottery in Japan and urban planning in Chicago earlier in his life, Gates manages all stages of the manufacturing process including making his own bricks.

A Roof for the Middle Class ties a lot of these strands together. The abstract expressionist black surface is made from tar, crafted in a collaborative process with his father, who is a retired roofer. With that knowledge the title could point to a means to an end; working to support a family. Gates often makes art from salvaged materials from his derelict buildings, with the sale of those pieces going back into refurbishing, taking it full circle by literally putting roofs over heads. But it goes further; concealed by the tar is ‘The Black Middle Class’ issue of Ebony magazine from 1973, that analysed aspirations of social mobility for Black communities in America, solidifying the convergence of race and class that is prevalent in so many of his works.

 

23.11.2020


Loie Hollowell

Squeezed Cheeks, 2019
Oil paint, acrylic medium, sawdust, high density foam on linen over panel
71.1 x 53.3 x 5.4 cm

“One opening leads to another”. That was the suggestive name of Loie Hollowell’s 2019 solo exhibition at GRIMM Gallery in Amsterdam, where this painting was first shown. Put together with the term Squeezed Cheeks, the references to bodies and sexuality becomes immediately visible, despite the abstract nature of Hollowell’s paintings. Through this abstraction, she creates somewhat hypnotic shapes with a nod to the style of Georgia O’Keeffe, imbuing her works with a similar air of femininity and spirituality.

Squeezed Cheeks is part of a series of paintings that draw from her experience of giving birth, touching on the emotional and psychological metamorphosis during pregnancy and labour. She describes her work as abstracted self-portraits, relating to her own body and personal experiences.

Her work of this period is characterized by a geometric strictness in the composition, but great complexity in texture, depth and gradient. Hollowell achieves this by adding miniature brush strokes on top of the panel, which protrudes from the wall due to a layer of foam. Working with colour and light, it looks like the two disc shapes / (bum) cheeks are indeed squeezed in towards the midline, whilst the linen and sawdust seem to subtly allude to veins, pores and hairs.

 

16.11.2020

A photo of a photo real wallpaper depicting an Alpine landscape with snow topped mountains in the back and a blue lake in front

Yto Barrada
Wallpaper – Tangier, 2001
colour c-print mounted on aluminium with no frame
60 x 60 cm

At first glance this looks like an image of an idyllic Alpine landscape in the sun, still some snowy caps on the mountaintops, and a cluster of pine trees surrounding a glistening and inviting lake. Looking closer the seam down the middle and peeling paper reveals this is in fact a photograph of a photo-wallpaper mural depicting this scene in 2D-print. Barrada took this image of the interior of a café in Tangier, hence the title of the work. As such, there are multiple levels of displacement here; the mountains are moved to the urban streets of Morocco and Barrada adds to that by bringing it into an art context.

Wallpaper – Tangier is part of a larger project by Yto Barrada into the identity of post-colonial Morocco and the importance of the Strait of Gibraltar in particular, mainly looking at tourist posters, interiors and advertising imagery. This bit of water has long been a gateway between Europe and Africa and a site of fraught colonial, economic and geopolitical negotiations.

About this Barrada writes: “Before 1991 any Moroccan with a passport could travel freely to Europe. But since the European Union’s (EU) Schengen Agreement, visiting rights have become unilateral across what is now legally a one-way strait. A generation of Moroccans has grown up facing this troubled space that manages to be at once physical, symbolic, historical and intimately personal” (A Life Full of Holes – The Strait Project, 2005, p. 57, qtd from DRAF Study #7). She has long been fascinated with these border politics, being born in Paris but growing up in Tangier and being surrounded by images like this wallpaper that idealised the West and sold a dream of mobility that was no longer available to most.

 

09.11.2020


Katinka Bock 

Raus I and Raus II [pictured],2006
Both super 8 transferred to HD video, black and white, no sound
0’24” and  0’32” 

Katinka Bock’s twin videos are somewhat ominous and mischievous; in Raus I mist is seeping across what could be a snow-covered field, when suddenly something shatters across the field of vision. Similarly, in Raus II a house or barn is depicted in an eerie calm, until in a burst of chaos the glass jumps out of all the windows and the two doors wobble in their hinges. 

These video works stand in dialogue with how Bock has described her installations, which are intended to “define a space and often seem to wrestle against the claustrophobia of the exhibition spaces; tending to open doors, windows, walls, holes by which to escape, or to let in rain or air”. This direct challenging of the space can be taken literally in Raus II, but together with Raus I it becomes more poetic musing on humans tendency to sculpt and control the landscape.

 

02.11.2020

A sculpture on a pedestal, made from the bottom half of a marble torso and top half of a wooden Madonna and child above
Danh Vo
Shove it up your ass, you faggot!, 2015
Oak and polychrome Madonna and child, French early Gothic 1280-1320; marble torso of Apollo, Roman workshop, 1st-2nd century AD; steel
154.2 x 50 x 50 cm 

The title for this sculptural collage comes from William Friedkin’s seminal horror film The Exorcist (1973). It is a line spoken by the Demon to a priest whilst the evil entity is possessing a young girl. After Danh Vo’s family left Vietnam as refugees and settled in Denmark when he was just four years old, his Catholic mother developed a tendency to watch horror films. Not wanting to endure the suspense alone, it became a family activity to sit around the television to watch these films together. Vo first saw The Exorcist aged seven, so it is perhaps unsurprising that it left a lasting impression on him. 

There are two more of these sculptures which use the same chopped-up early Gothic oak Madonna and child figurine fused together with chopped-up marble body parts. Their titles, Your mother sucks cocks in hell (2015) and Dimmy, why you do this to me? (2015) are also lines taken from The Exorcist. One of the self-confessed reasons Vo uses these quotes is taking secret juvenile delight at the idea that art professionals would have to repeat these phrases to prospective buyers (Frieze magazine issue 171). On a more serious note, all three works show how conflicting interests can be present in the same person; there are mis-matched body parts made of different materials from disparate eras, put together as one. Similarly, the possessed girl in the film becomes a conduit for both evil and truth. These ideas speak to more personal experiences too; Vo’s Catholic upbringing, sexual identity and close relationship with his family. Vo’s dad is in fact the calligrapher for his work and has agreed to keep reproducing until his death.  

 

26.10.2020

Ellen Gallagher DeLuxe, 2004-5


Ellen Gallagher

DeLuxe, 2004-5
mixed media
Photogravure, etching, aquatint, dry-point, lithography, screenprint, embossing, tattoo-machine engraving, laser cutting, chine collé, Plasticine, paper collage, enamel, gouache, pencil, oil, polymer, watercolour, pomade, velvet, glitter, crystals, gold leaf and toy eyeballs in a grid of sixty prints.
Each: 33 x 26.67 cm, to be hung 5 high by 12 across. Overall 215 x 447 cm.

It took well over a year for Ellen Gallagher to complete DeLuxe, an ambitious portfolio of sixty prints created using a wide array of print making techniques. The images are based on advertisements promoting cosmetic ‘improvements’ found in otherwise rather radical Black or African American magazines such as Ebony, Our World and Sepia, published between 1939 and 1972. The adverts were largely promoting products that fit the white archetypes of beauty; hair straighteners, wigs, even skin whitening cream. Gallagher modified and transformed the images, cutting the wigs out, drawing on or otherwise transforming them with collage. These final collages she then often turned into photogravures.

Photogravure is known for creating incredibly flat and ‘seamless’ images, which Gallagher then went on to retexture. For example, by including Plasticine wigs and masks or with the addition of rhinestones, glitter, coconut oil, pomade or gold leaf. Her additions are meant to give an idea of mutability or shifts, alluding to animation, but also showing how penmanship is not fixed in history.

DeLuxe and Gallagher’s wider body of work, especially around this time, confronts the history of black representation. Using historical and vernacular imagery she explores how the historic seeds of representation still have an impact on the lived condition of blackness in America today. DeLuxe in particular focusses on the complex role hair plays in black culture. Through this the printmaking techniques and concept align, as texture is a central to both Gallagher’s prints and the distinction between Afro or European hair types.

 

19.10.2020


Rosemarie Trockel

Oh Mystery Girl 3, 2006
mixed media
67.5 x 57 x 3.8 cm

From a distance the composition of Rosemarie Trockel’s collage Oh Mystery Girl 3 could be read as a vanity mirror, with the two flesh-coloured pink ears like pressed blusher powder or a make-up sponge applicator resting on the side of two reflective silver discs. Look more closely and the dish-like shapes reveal two blurred, distorted skulls.

When Matthew McLean wrote about the work for DRAF in 2016 he noted that the phrase ‘oh mystery girl’ sounded like a lyric, so set about finding out from which song it would have originated from. “The best result I can find is a question posted on a forum: ‘Mystery girl (what is the name of this song?)’. A commenter responds that the song in question is in fact Promiscuous Girl (2006) by the singer Nelly Furtado”.

Vanity, death, mystery and promiscuity. All of these are themes that can be read into Trockel’s wider body of work, with her art addressing feminisms and identity, sexuality, and the human body. Since the early 1970s, she has produced an impressive body of work that includes drawing, collage, installation, ‘knit paintings’, ceramics, video, furniture, clothing, and books. In this collage, the distorted and pasted together imagery may mean that the body of the mysterious ‘girl’ Trockel is alluding is absent, but the female presence is very much felt.

 

12.10.2020


Charles Avery

Untitled (Place de la Revolution), 2011
pencil, ink and acrylic on paper
240 x 416 cm

Untitled (Place de la Revolution) is a large drawing, over 4 meters in length, chronicling the activity on a busy square. Cyclists converge before peddling off along their own routes, kids are playing and there is a shopping centre in the background (slide for details). The drawing forms part of a singular world-building project that Charles Avery has been developing since 2004, through depictions of an imaginary island. ‘The Islanders’ charts the formation of Avery’s fiction through drawings like this one, sculptures, texts, ephemera and occasionally 16mm animations, as well as live interventions into our own world. In 2017 for Art Night Avery showed objects and characters from his fictional Island across east London including sculptures, performers, a flyposting campaign and the transformation of a café in St Katherine Docks into a landmark from the Island.

Avery is also the selector of our current On Screen Special: Beer by Erik van Lieshout. This programme invites artists that feature in the David Roberts Collection to select and introduce a moving image work from a peer they admire. Explaining his choice Avery writes “Erik’s strategy when making a film is generally to embed himself in a place, situation or community and, with great economy of means, use anything that happens to come his way, material or mental, to weave a story.” This points to Avery’s interest in van Lieshout’s work being grounded in similar methods of constructing narratives.

 

5.10.2020


Philip Guston

Drive, 1969
oil on panel
signed (on the reverse)
67.3 x 61 cm

One of Guston’s earliest figurative works in the bold cartoonish style he become known for, ‘Drive’ is also an early introduction to a figure of evil that he would paint often in his career – the white hooded Klansman. With these paintings Guston sought to take on the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy and incite the question “What it would be like to be evil?”.

The title ‘Drive’ points to the car, represented as a brown murky mound that the white hooded figure sticks out of like a snow topped peak, emerging from the mud with pink fleshy hands in thick oil paint. Perhaps though it also calls into question Guston’s motif and thinking at the time. What drove him to depict evil and eternalise such a violent character time and again?

Painted against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and social and political violence in America, Guston’s Ku Klux Klan paintings are regarded as his attempt to tell the story of a country that had “run afoul of its democratic promise”, and hold a mirror up to fellow white Americans, including himself, about systemic racism.

As Craig Burnett, author of ‘Philip Guston: The Studio’ (2014/2020), wrote in a Study of the work for DRAF “What makes Drive a remarkable painting is how rough and personal it is: it’s a mumbled prayer, damp and heartfelt. In this little icon, Guston imagined himself emerging from the earth – half monster, half artist – and plotting a course for the rest of his life.”

 

21.09.2020

Bruce McLean, Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work, 1971

 

Bruce McLean
Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work, 1971
fifteen photographs, mounted on card
one signed and dated (on the reverse)
each photograph: 10 x 15.5 cm

Pose Piece for Three Plinths Work started life in 1971 as a performance that hardly anybody saw and was made almost by accident.

At the time, McLean had a solo exhibition at Situation, a gallery in London, where he changed the content of the show almost daily. When the exhibition first opened he used 40-odd plinths, all borrowed from Tate. After these were returned, three plinths were left behind.  McLean then “just got onto the plinths and thought to make a work for the plinths. Someone has (sic) taken photographs of me doing this” (McLean quoted in DRAF Study #3., 2013)

So whilst these photographs were originally made as documentation of an event, they became a work in their own right when McLean decided to put all 15 of them on the wall as part of the same evolving exhibition at Situation.

Featured in the most recent edition of Scottish Art News, David Roberts names this work a standout piece in his collection. Pose Piece speaks to the history of performance alongside an interplay between an object-based collection and live events which DRAF’s programming also explores.

 

14.09.2020

Abstract red and blue painting


Rita Ackermann

Fire by Days VI, 2011
oil and spray paint on linen
233.7 x 167.6 cm

Fire by Days (2011) is a series of 44 paintings and works on paper which began as an accidental spill of paint on Ackermann’s studio floor. She mopped up the spill using a Hungarian fire safety poster. Of the forms and shapes that the wipes left Ackermann said “hastily cleaning up a mess of paint on a surface suggested something that wasn’t a figure or a face, but rather both, or abstract” (quoted from Hauser and Wirth, ‘Fire By Days’ exhibition text). The series title is inspired by a line in French poet Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s ‘Vacancy in Glass’ [extract]:

To a palace made
Of wind
To a palace whose towers
Are pillars of fire by day

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907 – 1943)
In Black Mirror: The Selected Poems of Roger Gilbert-Lecomte

Born in Hungary in 1968, Ackermann came to New York City to study painting in the mid 90s and has been based there ever since. Her gestural and abstracted paintings are marked by a fascination with American cultural archetypes; socialites, cowboys, car crashes and erotic symbols have all found their way woven into her paintings. As suggested by her quote about semi-figurative shapes, her work is often classed within the Abstract Expressionist movement. Her works are full of movement, making it easy to trace the gesture of her hand in painting.

 

07.09.2020

Plug socket sculpture made from marble


Tatsuya Kimata

Double, 2006
white marble and metal screws
14.6 x 8.5 x 1.4cm

Tatsuya Kimata’s Double is aptly named, not just because of the two sockets, but because you may need to do a double take when spotting this discrete work installed. Masquerading as the familiar plastic plug socket, this intricately made sculpture has been carved from pure white marble.

Kimata transforms everyday objects, common ‘white goods’ found around the house including socks and cups into beautiful marble artworks, finding baroque opulence in what might otherwise be seen as mundane objects.

To double, or to be a stand-in, is usually an act of blending into the surrounding environment unnoticed. The dimensions of this artwork are therefore the exact same as a standard plug, so it can be installed on the wall unassumingly.

 

27.08.2020

Ida Applebroog
Independence Plaza, 1979-80
ink and rhoplex on vellum, in two parts
each: 220 x 160 cm

The two images that together form Independence Plaza (1979-80) are an early example of American artist Ida Applebroog’s window pieces. These comic-like works show voyeuristic domestic dramas, visible behind half-drawn blinds. The scenes have been used by Applebroog to make sharp social commentary on life in New York City in the Seventies and Eighties, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality and power.

Independence Plaza is made on vellum, a type of parchment made from calfskin. The material has a translucency which is extra apparent if light shines through the big white blinds that dominate the scenes. When the works were first exhibited in New York in 1980 they were installed in the window frames of the gallery, with the interior relationships spilling out on to the street.

Applebroog has compared drawing to the ease of making instant coffee, but this supposed effortless is matched by great technical skill and an ability to challenge the status quo. Over the years it has made her a big player in the feminist art movement, who has not shied away from discussions around mental health