Vignettes of Life. An exhibition of major new works, including lightboxes, films and paintings, by the Canadian artist Rodney Graham. Graham's art examines the complexities of Western culture through strategies of disguise and quotation. Casting himself as a succession of motley characters, Graham inhabits different personae, genres and art forms, working with diverse media such as film, photography, installation, painting, music and text.
Hauser & Wirth Zürich is delighted to present an exhibition of major new works, including lightboxes, films and
paintings, by the Canadian artist Rodney Graham. Graham's art examines the complexities of Western culture
through strategies of disguise and quotation. Casting himself as a succession of motley characters, Graham
inhabits different personae, genres and art forms, working with diverse media such as film, photography,
installation, painting, music and text. 'It may be a burden to reinvent oneself every time,' Graham has said, 'but it
makes things more interesting'.
The exhibition features new monumental lightboxes 'The Leaping Hermit' and 'The Avid Reader'. 'The Leaping Hermit' presents an intricately detailed scene, showing Graham bearded and bedraggled, a free-spirited Bohemian caught in mid- jump as though joyfully experiencing a revelation from above. The three-part format of the work evokes medieval triptych painting. Its garden landscape and composition loosely recalls Hieronymus Bosch's 'Adoration of the Magi', while the pose of the hermit seems to borrow from Matthias Grünewald’s resurrected Christ. Yet despite the biblical associations alluded to, like many of Graham's works, the image defies interpretation, its subject unknown to religious mythology. 'The Avid Reader' shows the artist in the role of rapt slacker absorbed in something we cannot see. The lightbox recreates the shopfront of a closed (or maybe re-opening) Woolworths in 1949, its windows covered with newspapers dating from 1945. Graham, playing the part of the avid reader, stands in front of the shop, transfixed by the headlines in the newspapers. To create the image, Graham first had to fabricate a street and then perform within it, making a situation familiar to us through a history peculiarly his own.
Graham's film 'The Green Cinematograph (Programme 1: Pipe smoker and overflowing sink)' tests the Kuleshov Effect, an editing technique that makes the viewer create a connection between two unrelated scenes. Shown using an old cinematograph, it cuts between images of Graham smoking a pipe and bubbles filling and spilling from a sink, the elusive meanings and sculptural forms of smoke and foam implicating one another. A series of Graham's paintings will also be presented at Hauser & Wirth Zürich. In a style reminiscent of the modernism of Picasso and Braque, Graham's canvases are small, monochrome, heavy impasto works, created by painting, and then re- painting over the artist's earlier canvases.
Rodney Graham lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. His recent public exhibitions include: 'It Is What It Is', National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2010); 'Rodney Graham. Through the Forest', a touring retrospective of his works which travelled from MACBA — Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona (2010) to Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel (2010) and Hamburger Kunsthalle (2010 – 2011); 'Harun Farocki/Rodney Graham' at Jeu de Paume, Paris (2009); and Sprengel Museum Hanover where he was the recipient of the Kurt Schwitters Prize (2007). His work features in many major public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Dia Foundation for the Arts, New York. On Saturday 11 June, The Rodney Graham Band will begin their European tour in Zurich with a concert at the Helsinki Club. For further information on this and the band's future performances, please visit Hauser & Wirth's website, www.hauserwirth.com.
Hauser & Wirth is an international gallery, founded in Zurich in 1992 by Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser. In 1996 the Zurich gallery opened in the former Löwenbräu brewery building, along with other contemporary art galleries, Kunsthalle Zürich, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich. In 2003, Hauser & Wirth opened Hauser & Wirth London on Piccadilly in an historic building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, adding a new and energetic dimension to London's growing importance as an international art centre. Hauser & Wirth's outdoor sculpture programme, inaugurated in September 2009, is located behind the Piccadilly gallery in Southwood Garden, St James's Church. In 2006, Hauser & Wirth at Colnaghi was created on London's Old Bond Street. Hauser & Wirth New York opened to the public on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in September 2009. In September 2010, Hauser & Wirth re-located their Zurich space to a new temporary location at Hubertus Exhibitions while the Löwenbräu building undergoes major renovation. In October 2010 Hauser & Wirth opened its new gallery at 23 Savile Row. Offering 15,000 square feet of exhibition space, the gallery provides an outstanding setting for larger exhibitions and more expansive installations, adding a further 7,000 square feet of the building's first floor in early 2011.
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Opening: Saturday 11 June, 6 - 8 pm
Hauser & Wirth - Hubertus Exhibitions
Albisriederstrasse 199A - Zurich
Gallery hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 12-6 pm
Thursday, 12-8 pm, Friday, 12-6 pm
Saturday, 11 am-5 pm