Exhibition: Something Less, Something More (20 Mar — 25 May 2008)

An exhibition with Bettina Allamoda, Bertozzi & Casoni, Pierre Bismuth, Oliver Clegg, Martin Creed, Elmgreen & Dragset, David Ersser, Neil Gall, Tatsuya Kimata, Simon Linke, Nate Lowman, Donald Moffett, Michael Lisle Taylor, Manuela Ribadeneira.

Something Less, Something More borrows its title from a 2002 work by the French artist Pierre Bismuth. In his monographic catalogue, he speaks about his neon work Coming Soon (2005). Bismuth declares “I thought it was interesting to produce a piece that would have a very strong materiality, but that would make you feel that the work is about something else that is not here yet.” Starting from Bismuth’s statement, the exhibition explores the use of objects and ready-mades in some recent works from the David Roberts collection.

The artists in this show challenge and re-interpret minimalist and conceptual strategies, by using either found objects or elements; in the legacy of Marcel Duchamp. This leads to either the commissioning of newly manufactured objects in a minimalist way or the creation of facsimiles of existing objects in a more traditional manner. The artist’s gesture becomes unclear: is it fake, produced, conceived, displaced or found? Production modes are eventually at the core of the exhibition, addressing the commodification of the art work and displacing the understanding of the artistic gesture beyond the object (re)presented. Social, economic and political issues are then questioned in works that often testify of a disenchanted yet humorous relation to the world.

Bettina Allamoda (born 1964, USA): Bettina Allamoda uses a wide range of media to address what role art should play in forming our environment. Referring to her work as ‘archaeology of the present’ she collects and collages found objects and images, opening up the boundaries between ‘objects of art’ and ‘objects for use’.

Bertozzi & Casoni (born 1957 and 1961, Italy): In their highly realistic signature style, Bertozzi & Casoni have crafted ceramic sculptures (by hand) expressing a fascination for decay. The intertextual reference to Andy Warhol’s Brillo Pad exemplifies a use of irony and humour in their work. The works are positioned in the liminal space between fine art and craft, artwork and product, ornament and object.

Pierre Bismuth (born 1963, France): Oscar-winner (2004) Pierre Bismuth is fascinated with disruption and translation. Be it videos, works on paper or installations, his work, exemplary of post-conceptual strategy, plays with the viewer’s expectation by a free use of common cultural codes such as the teaser borrowed from cinema’s industry: Coming Soon.

Oliver Clegg (born 1980, UK): Taking children’s toys and dolls as his subject matter, painted on decaying boards that are heavily laden with marks, Clegg embraces the nostalgic sense of memory and loss that is inherent within them.

Martin Creed (born 1968, UK): Turner Price winner (2001) Martin Creed’s subtle alterations with everyday objects are emotionally charged. He transforms common objects and gives them new meanings that disrupt our assumptions about the world and our apprehension of time.

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset (born 1961 and 1969, Denmark and Norway): “Any structure can be altered, exchanged or interchanged”: since their series of installations and sculptures called powerless structures the two artists had been working with space and its multiple meanings: mental, social, architectural, public, etc, questioning notions of power that lay behind any use of space.

David Ersser (born 1976, UK): David Ersser carves seemingly cold, meticulous reproductions of everyday objects: Hi-Fi equipment, bicycle, neon signage, etc. Lifeless and slightly wonky, his facsimiles bear a criticism of the notion of value and work, as much as they re-interpret the tradition of the trompe l’œil in the lineage of George Segal, Richard Artschwager and Jeff Koons.

Neil Gall (born 1967, UK): Neil Gall’s paintings are the final stages of a layered working process: from modelling to assemblage, photography and painting. Gall starts by creating sculptures made from spheres of wrapped tape, fluffy balls, globs of plasticine and mangled wire. He then paints them in a photorealist style, blurring the definition of the depicted object, between found or created images.

Tatsuya Kimata (born 1980, Japan): Tatsuya Kimata transforms everyday objects such as socks and cups into beautifully carved objects in marble. He is concerned with the baroque beauty that can be found in the most mundane objects, infusing his work with an extreme tension between his skills as a sculptor, the artistic value of the material used (white marble) and the objects carved.

Simon Linke (born 1958, Australia): Simon Linke started to make paintings in 1986 of the Ed Ruscha designed advertisement pages of Artforum. His paintings of glossy art publicity stress the materiality of the painting and at the same time testify to art interrogations into the contextual, critical, economical and hierarchical structures of the art world.

Michael Lisle Taylor (born 1969, Wales): The sculptural work exists both as relic – remains of an event, be it actual or imagined – and as an emotionally charged object in itself. Lisle Taylor’s political work is brutally honest, almost overburdened with meaning and history.

Nate Lowman (born 1979, USA): Nate Lowman is known for his appropriation of bumper stickers, news media, posters and graffiti to generate a critic of consumption, celebrity cults and American culture. He often merges the codes of street culture (stickers, graffiti) with the codes of high traditional art (the round canvas: the tondo) in works expressing a loss of any fixed definition.

Donald Moffett (born 1955, USA): Donald Moffett is known for his richly textured monochromatic paintings, punctured with holes or cut open and re-sealed with zippers. Exploring the legacy of minimalism and abstraction, Moffett twists formal traditions and interrogates the potential of his medium by treating the surface like skin that can be ceremonially pierced, sliced and sutured.

Manuela Ribadeneira (born 1966, Ecuador): Manuela Ribadeneira’s installations revolve around the notions of territory and boundary. Often performative, sometimes violent, her work can be situated in the lineage of Valie Export, Gordon Matta-Clark or Hans Haacke. The installation in the gallery gained her attention at the Venice Bienniale in 2007, where she represented Ecuador.

This exhibition is curated by Vincent Honoré, Director and Curator, DRAF.

Download press release here.

  • Pierre Bismuth
Coming Soon, 2005
David Roberts Collection, London
    1/3Pierre Bismuth Coming Soon, 2005 Neon David Roberts Collection, London
  • Martin Creed
Work No. 180, Largo, Larghetto, Adagio, Andante, Moderato, Allegro, Presto, Prestissimo, 1995-2004
Mixed media
David Roberts Collection, London
    2/3Martin Creed Work No. 180, Largo, Larghetto, Adagio, Andante, Moderato, Allegro, Presto, Prestissimo, 1995-2004 Mixed media David Roberts Collection, London
  • Manuela Ribadeneira
Hago mio este territorio (I make this territory mine), 2007
Installation and light system 
David Roberts Collection, London
    3/3Manuela Ribadeneira Hago mio este territorio (I make this territory mine), 2007 Installation and light system David Roberts Collection, London