Lillian Davies

  • View of “Giuseppe Penone.” Foreground: La Geometria nelle mani (The Geometry in the Hands), 2007. Background, left to right: Pelle di grafite (riflesso di rodonite) (The Skin of Graphite [Reflection of Rodonite]) and Pelle di grafite (riflesso di uraninite) (The Skin of Graphite [Reflection of Uraninite]), both 2003–2006.
    picks June 09, 2008

    Giuseppe Penone

    With a consummate sense of form and surface, Giuseppe Penone renders this group of new and recent large-scale works with the distilled, intimate touch of a quick sketch on paper. Here, three large, multipanel graphite drawings, each titled Pelle di grafite (Graphite Skin), 2003–2006, two on black paper and one on black canvas, hang on each of the three windowless walls of the gallery’s ground floor. Penone creates abstract patterns, suggestive of vegetal or animal membranes, in luminous graphite. His marks on the dark matte backgrounds are wide tipped and deliberate, furthering the reflective

  • Left: Laura García Lorca. Right: Hans-Ulrich Obrist, codirector of exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary May 27, 2008

    House Call

    Granada, Spain

    Last Friday afternoon, after a short flight to Granada, I followed a tour through the summer house that Federico García Lorca’s family bought in 1925. Laura García Lorca de los Rios, dressed in tailored black linen, evoked the memory of her uncle by way of a recollection of footsteps on a rocky path—the sound of Lorca and his friends as they would return to the house after an evening in town. The lively group would usually wander back around 2 AM, and Lorca would head straight to his desk to write. He would wake for lunch, then begin writing again as the rest of the house settled into a siesta.

  • Peinture sans fin (Painting Without End), 1972, wood and paint, dimensions variable.
    picks May 01, 2008

    André Cadere

    This modest exhibition, which traces Warsaw-born Romanian artist André Cadere’s Conceptual and performative practice in 1960s and ’70s Paris, reflects the quiet yet fierce determination the artist displayed in his interventions, promenades, and “paintings without end”—wooden rods made of individual cylindrical elements, each painted with a different color. Cadere, uninterested in authoritative gestures, used a mathematical formula to determine the order of the colors in each rod; likewise, the height of each element matches the rod’s diameter. A number of these works are included in the show,

  • Untitled, 2008, oil on canvas, 24 x 20".
    picks April 03, 2008

    Cheyney Thompson

    Louisiana-born artist Cheyney Thompson’s as yet untitled painting (all works 2008) of a grayscale grid hangs directly opposite the gallery entrance and is the first work one encounters on entering the gallery’s single, pared-down room. Before Thompson seduces viewers with his elegant rendering of tone, form, and depth in two larger paintings on the wall to the right, he reveals the pair of canvases as a mere accretion of tonal values. In fact, these two larger paintings, also as yet untitled, are part of Thompson’s ongoing series “Quelques Aspects de l’Art Bourgeois: La Non-Intervention” (Some

  • Le Requin (The Shark), 2008, polished stainless steel, steel, and epoxy, 6' 6 3/4“ x 16' 5” x 7'2 5/8".
    picks April 03, 2008

    Xavier Veilhan

    Xavier Veilhan’s cinematographic urge is instantly apparent on slipping into the artist’s latest solo show, installed in the gallery’s main space and a recent extension on a narrow dead-end street just behind it. Borrowing the title of the exhibition, “Furtivo,” from a boat that features in the artist’s film of the same name, Veilhan extends the slick aesthetic of his moving images to a group of new and recent sculptures and photographs. Dominating the newer space, the glistening chrome sculpture Le Requin (The Shark), 2008, modeled on the figure of a shark, is really more suggestive of a

  • Falke Pisano

    In 1925, Ireland-born architect and designer Eileen Gray began work on a minimalist villa, E-1027, in the southern French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. In collaboration with Jean Badovici, Gray conceived the innovative project as a dynamic marriage of tight forms and flexible spaces. Gray’s contemporary, Le Corbusier, quickly developed a fierce admiration of the house, and in 1938 and 1939, he painted a series of murals on its interior walls. Using Gray’s clean, reductive architecture as a canvas on which to project his own vision, Le Corbusier went beyond the role of engaged spectator. His

  • Le Flamboyant (The Flamboyant), 2008, wood, cast aluminum, steel, leather, varnish, Clark Foam, paint, and felt, 78 3/4 x 63 x 37 3/8".
    picks March 25, 2008

    Wilfrid Almendra

    Crafting a post-Pop aesthetic, French artist Wilfrid Almendra fashions a series of exuberantly sensuous sculptures, and one portrait collage, out of natural materials including wood, felt, and peacock feathers. While maintaining the glamorous sheen of “finished” work by precisely determining each angle, curve, and juncture of these tightly formal pieces, Almendra allows the organic nature of certain elements to remain exposed. The central hanging sculpture, 5.1 (all works 2008)—which could be described as a bouquet of speakers or perhaps a bundle of trumpets, announcing a massive party or the

  • View of “Kabarett Keif.” Foreground: Kabarett Keif and Untitled, both 2007. On wall: Untitled, 2006.
    picks February 28, 2008

    David Noonan

    Australian artist David Noonan has covered the gallery’s slick concrete floors with burlap mats (a natural weave in the front room and a black version in the back) to create a complete—while at the same time rough and unfinished—atmosphere for this exhibition. Three costumed sentinels, Noonan’s sculptures Kabarett Keif and Untitled, both 2007, stand guard in the front room. The slightly larger-than-life-size figures are silk-screened onto linen that is then mounted on wooden frameworks, and they loom mysteriously, detached from their signifying milieu. Culled from midcentury European textbooks,

  • Left: Dealer Yvon Lambert. Right: Artist Loris Gréaud with Palais de Tokyo director Marc Olivier-Wahler. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary February 17, 2008

    Brain Candy


    “It’s good that people have to wait—it’s like a rock concert,” remarked Marc-Olivier Wahler, director of the Palais de Tokyo, last Wednesday night, as a growing crowd anxiously paced outside the entrance to Loris Gréaud’s “Cellar Door.” Two years in the making, Gréaud used every second before the gate rolled open to prepare his unprecedented solo show. (This was the first time the institution’s entire space had been devoted to the work of someone under thirty.) Eager to get a look at Gréaud’s ambitious project—the expansive charred forest, the paintball arena, and the full-scale replica of his

  • Jardin suspendu (Hanging Garden), 2008, burlap sacks, earth, and grass, 4' 3 1-2“ x 2' 11 1-2” x 10 ' 4".
    picks February 09, 2008

    Mona Hatoum

    For her first solo exhibition in Paris in thirteen years, Mona Hatoum presents a powerful selection of new and recent sculptural, kinetic, and paper-based work, firmly locking the viewer into a state of enraptured paralysis as she incites concurrent feelings of enchantment and disturbance. Hatoum immediately establishes an acute level of tension with the installation Nature morte aux grenades (Still Life with Grenades), 2006–2007, just inside the gallery entrance. Covering a morgue gurney, an icy cold steel-and-rubber contraption, with a colorful collection of crystal blown into the shape of

  • Left: Marian Goodman and Jeu de Paume director Marta Gili. Right: Eija-Liisa Ahtila and art historian Régis Durand. (All photos: Lillian Davies)
    diary January 27, 2008

    Here, There, Everywhere


    Arriving at Jeu de Paume just after 11 AM on Monday for the opening of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s first retrospective in France, I immediately found the artist, dressed in slim, dark jeans and a pin-striped blazer, holding court in the luminous triple-height entryway. Ahtila gave me a polite hello but quickly urged me down the gray stone ramp toward her newest work, Where Is Where, allegedly finished just two days before. “It takes fifty-two minutes, so go on.” An attentive crowd was gathered inside the six-screen installation, absorbing the poetic drama of mortality and colonial politics. The starting

  • Manège humain (Human Carousel), 2007, one C-print and six digital prints, dimensions variable.
    picks January 04, 2008

    Carsten Höller

    In this exhibition of new works, each shadowing a previous project, Carsten Höller constructs a theater of duality. The walls are covered in Double Shadow Zöllner Wall Paper, 2007, a graphic pattern in white and gray that quickly launches into motion as the varying tones and angles tease the eye into registering volume and movement. (These images have also been photocopied in black-and-white and pasted like a frieze around the gallery.) In the back room, Höller has set up a microphone, seemingly an opportunity for the viewer to enter the work as an autonomous figure. However, the piece, titled