07 Feb 2019 - 10 Feb 2019
For our fifth participation in Art Rotterdam Dürst Britt & Mayhew is proud to present a solo booth by British artist Alex Farrar.
With a systemic approach to art making Farrar produces exhibitions that blur the line between artwork and context. He makes groupings of works that explore the bodily as a liminal space between our psychological world and our social lives. Farrar uses a range of sculptural, painting and print making techniques in complex relationships with their forms: often referencing the body and its residues directly, and content: emotional states ranging from longing to optimism, irritation to nervousness. At Art Rotterdam three distinct series of new works– night sweat paintings, semblable forest and ‘umble prints–coalesce in a scene that combines traces of the lived body with paranoiac visions and pataphysical logic.
Suggesting metopes in a classical frieze, the night sweat paintings form a procession of headless writhing bodies captured on downy bed linens. Following the series of sweat paintings made in 2017 and 2018 (that were debuted at ARCO Madrid), Farrar has found in the more intimate subject of night sweat the body in repose, stressed not by any external presence but an imagined one. For these new works the artist applies a silicone based paint on various textiles commonly used as bed linen. The organic forms depicted are drawn from various acquaintances of the artist who volunteered their silhouetted sleeping positions. With a nod towards the Anthropometry paintings of Yves Klein, they share with Farrar’s previous sweat works a disconcerting materiality that is poised between the abject and the divine.
Semblable forest is a disturbing assembly of young trees felled upon reaching maturity. Made using a variation of the lost wax technique, with found tree stumps surrounded by plaster before they are incinerated, their voids replaced with bronze which is then broken out of the mold. Occupying the floorspace of the booth these modest monuments with trunks the span of your wrist and roots that reach out pointlessly, situate the booth in the midst of an unseen act of destruction.
Taken together these examples reflect the shifting perspective that runs throughout the presentation’s exploration of lived experience. Across the grouping our perception is mirrored in an exchange between the interior (psychic) life of a body and its exterior (somatic) experience. This continuum can be found in an embryonic state in the ‘umble prints, where a scattershot collection of heads, contorted faces, fingernails, crab shells, snakeskins amass on a backdrop of open textbooks. Printed in bright, bold colours with a risograph duplicator, their individual titles, ‘Jumble’, ‘Fumble’, ‘Stumble’ etc. belie the fragility of their making and the thread of vulnerability, weakness and precarity that runs throughout the presentation.
Alex Farrar (1986, lives and works in Amsterdam and London), studied at Leeds Metropolitan University (Leeds, UK), Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) and Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam, NL). Recent and forthcoming solo/duo exhibitions include Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2019), SE8, London (2019), Onomatopee, Eindhoven (2018), ARCO Madrid with Dürst Britt & Mayhew (2018) and de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (2016). He has recently participated in group exhibitions at Copperfield Gallery, London (2018) and The Great Medical Disaster, Manchester (2017).
Click to read ‘So Close and So Far’, a specially commissioned essay by Josh Plough.
For more information on the works on show please visit our dedicated Gallery Viewer page.
Reviews and features
Metropolis M by Domeniek Ruyters
FAD magazine by Paul Carey-Kent
Il Sole 24 Ore by Nicola Zanella
De Kunstmeisjes on Gallery Viewer
chmkoome’s blog by Kees Koomen