Renowned for her deconstructed installations and assemblages of seemingly random objects with an emphasis on throw-away materials, the artist's paintings and installations are a highly personalised appropriation of historical and contemporary sources. Drawing on the world of fairy tales, romance, ballet, mysteries, magazines and newspapers, TV and so on, she casts these diverse elements like a stage director in her own play.
Monika Spruth and Philomene Magers are delighted to present new works by Karen Kilimnik in their Grafton Street space in London.
Renowned as one of the pioneers in the early 1990s for her deconstructed installations and assemblages of seemingly random objects with an emphasis on 'throw away' materials, Kilimnik's paintings and installations are a highly personalised appropriation of historical and contemporary sources. Drawing on the world of fairy tales, romance, ballet, mysteries, various magazines and newspapers, TV, European stately homes and painters such as Stubbs, Oudry and Raeburn, Kilimnik casts these diverse elements like a stage director in her own play.
Part of this stage direction involves the architecture of the exhibition space. Works are often exhibited either in real historical venues – Palazzetto Tito, Venice; Powel House, Philadelphia; Historisches Museum, Haus zum Kirschgarten, Basel; or spaces are created to resemble European period salons replete with wallpaper, cornices and fireplaces.
The 18th century Grafton Street premises provide an ideal setting for this show. Visitors to the gallery are confronted by The Jungle in La Bayadère in London. A reinterpretation of a work first seen at Monika Spruth Philomene Magers Munich in 2003 and comprising trees, plants, birds and sound, the piece is inspired, not only by the ballet La Bayadère (famously choreographed by the balletmaster Marius Petipa and set in the romanticized, ethereal 'exoticism' of India), but also an episode of the cult TV series The Avengers involving a retired colonel who, on his return from a British colony, creates a fake jungle in the English countryside.
The back gallery, decorated in the manner of a traditional English period drawing room with striped Regency-style wallpaper and mouldings contains several new paintings and works on paper recalling a romanticised world of English teas (The Egerton House hotel, London – tea time, 2007), old London (London Taxicab at Dukes Hotel London, England, 2007) and bucolic bliss (the pastel cloud, yellow + pink, on a summer day, 2007).
Karen Kilimnik lives and works in Philadelphia, USA. Her work has been seen in major solo exhibitions, most recently at Le Consortium, Dijon and also the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris which toured this spring to the Serpentine Gallery, London. The first comprehensive survey of her work in the US, recently acclaimed by Roberta Smith in The New York Times, continues at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art until August 5th before travelling to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (September 7 - November 4, 2007), the Aspen Art Museum (December 14, 2007 - February 3, 2008) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (February 23 - June 8, 2008).
Monika Spruth Philomene Magers
7A Grafton Street - London
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm and by appointment