Lillian Davies

  • Enrique Ramírez, Brises (Breezes), 2008, 16 mm and 35 mm transferred to digital video, color, sound, 12 minutes.


    THERE ISN’T A CLOUD IN THE SKY at the beginning of Enrique Ramírez’s video Brises (Breezes), 2008, but the gray-suited actor in the opening shot is drenched, water dripping from his fingertips. The young man walks toward Santiago’s Palacio de la Moneda, the official seat of the Chilean president. He passes two fountains before entering the silent monument, his pace unrelenting. Visitors are meant to exit from the palace onto the Plaza de la Ciudadanía, but the actor pointedly heads in the other, “forbidden” direction. The site itself, where Salvador Allende’s life ended during the 1973 military

  • Hassan Sharif, Dictionary, 2015, dictionary pages, glue, cotton ropes, 12' 7 1/2“ x 5' 7” x 2' 1 1/2".

    Hassan Sharif

    Displayed at the top of the stairs leading down to the gallery’s main exhibition space for Hassan Sharif’s “Reading Is Making: Books and Boxes” were copies of three political cartoons that the artist drew in the 1970s. The images speak of the tide of consumerism that began sweeping Sharif’s native United Arab Emirates in the ’60s. In one, a hand reaches up from under a pile of electronic appliances. I'M DROWNING, DROWNING, DROWNING!!! his speech bubble calls out in Arabic. In another, a mustachioed man is pictured on the toilet, surrounded by a discarded mess of books, wearing a Rube Goldberg–type

  • Tiziana La Melia, Je ne sais quoi, 2016–17, oil and aluminum powder on canvas, ink on wooden artist frame, 24 3/8 × 20 7/8".

    Tiziana La Melia

    Spanning adjacent walls and gently grazing the gallery floor, Tiziana La Melia’s panoramic canvas Broom Emotion, 2017, hung unstretched, like a backdrop to the rest of her eponymous solo exhibition, her first in France. Black arabesques and graffiti-like script emerged from this abstract work, saturated with pools of purple, yellow, pink, and brown—that is, watercolor, red wine, and instant coffee. A thin layer of sand covered the gallery’s terrazzo floor, while ostrich-size chalk eggs and purple sachets of white dragées were arranged atop fragrant bales of hay. A garden arch, covered with

  • Mohssin Harraki, Rahatu’L-Aql/Peace of Mind, 2017, lightbulbs, stones, cables, silk screen on glass, concrete, paint. Installation view.

    Mohssin Harraki

    In his exhibition “Matière grise” (Gray Matter), Mohssin Harraki’s Débat imaginaire (Imaginary Debate), 2017, covered an entire wall with an enlarged fourteenth-century illustration of the twelfth-century Andalusian thinker Averroes in conversation with Porphyry, the third-century Neoplatonic philosopher. Manfredus de Monte Imperiali, working in what is today Italy, originally fixed this imaginary dialogue between the two Mediterranean intellects on parchment, seating the wide-eyed men, clothed in colored robes, in stiffly foreshortened chairs. The phrases in ornate Latin calligraphy that extend

  • View of “Caroline Mesquita,” 2017. Photo: Rebecca Fanuele.

    Caroline Mesquita

    “I really like when things suddenly go out of control,” French artist Caroline Mesquita has said. Here, she set the scene as a plane crash. Three installations constructed from steel and resin—The Plane Wing, The Plane Sidewall, and The Wing Tip (all works 2017)—stood as parts of an imagined aircraft. Like a stage, each installation was peopled with sculptures made of plates of brass and resin; cut, bent, and welded together, these life-size anthropomorphic figures are composed of tubular and cylindrical shapes. These are the survivors. Although static, their jointed appendages are

  • View of “Lili Reynaud-Dewar,” 2016–17. Photo: Julie Joubert.

    Lili Reynaud-Dewar

    In 1985, finding that feminism and Marxism had “run aground,” scientist and philosopher Donna Haraway published “A Cyborg Manifesto,” proposing “a creature in a post-gender world.” Arguing for “pleasure in the confusion of boundaries and for responsibility in their construction,” Haraway asserts that “we are all . . . fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.” When French artist, writer, and teacher Lili Reynaud-Dewar arrived in Memphis in 2009 to find billboards advertising “grillz,” she interpreted this practice of adornment as a manifestation of Haraway’s vision

  • Cathryn Boch, untitled, 2016, comprising ten untitled works, all 2016, mixed media, 10' 9 1/8“ × 18' 10 3/4”. Photo: Jean-Christophe Lett.

    Cathryn Boch

    The roar of a sewing machine, the rhythmic clicks of a bobbin changing, the flapping of sheets of paper, and the artist’s focused breath were audible through a single pair of headphones at the center of Cathryn Boch’s recent exhibition “monades.” Played on a loop, this digital recording, Atelier 50’ (all works 2016), documents the soundscape of Boch’s actions and hesitations as she manipulates maritime maps, atlas pages, aerial photographs, paper, and thread. While the title of this sound work attests to its location and duration, all other pieces were left untitled. And each was pinned to the

  • Lara Almarcegui, Rocks of Spitsbergen (Svalbard), 2014, self-adhesive vinyl, dimensions variable.

    Lara Almarcegui and Mohamed Namou

    A shared concern for the composition of territory was revealed through a visual dialogue between works by eminent Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui and Mohamed Namou, a recent graduate of the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Such intergenerational pairings are favored by mor charpentier, and in this case, the common vocabulary that emerged from the artists’ concrete conversation enabled a deeper understanding of each practice.

    On the ground floor, Almarcegui’s Rocks of Spitzbergen (Svalbard), 2014, plainly listed, in crisp black text on the gallery’s white wall, the range of mineral

  • Anita Molinero, Sans titre (multicolores), 2014, concrete, rebar, polystyrene, acrylic, 20 1/2 × 11 × 19 1/4". From the series “Des petits bétons de la petite ceinture” (Small Pieces of Concrete from the Inner Circle Line), 2014–.

    Anita Molinero

    When activating her potent selections of form and color with the cataclysmic force of gas flames, French artist Anita Molinero does not fully know where her experiments with heat and chemical reactions will lead her. The process she employs can be toxic, even aggressive; the poisonous ingredients of industrially produced plastics are released as their molded forms are violently deformed. Each of her sculptures is a palimpsest of particular urban materials. For the works in this show, she incorporated a green plastic trash bin, ubiquitous both across France and in her work, as well as Styrofoam

  • View of “Simone Fattal,” 2015.

    Simone Fattal

    Simone Fattal abandoned Beirut in 1980, when Lebanon was mired in civil war. Leaving her home, her studio, and her painting practice behind, and settling in Sausalito, California, the Syrian–born artist enrolled in a sculpture course. One day, her teacher said to her, “Here is the earth. She is alive.” Fattal quickly embraced terra-cotta as a medium.

    At the entrance to Fattal’s exhibition “Sculptures and Collages,” four upright figures in terra-cotta (all dated 2011) stood, seemingly headless, with abbreviated torsos, on neat metal plinths. The sculptures, which the artist often refers to as

  • Valentin Carron, Tout près presque dedans (So Close Almost Inside), 2014, vinyl ink on PVC tarpaulin, galvanized steel tubing, metal wire, 35 1/2 × 29 1/2".

    Valentin Carron

    A direct translation of the title of Valentin Carron’s exhibition “L’Autoroute du soleil à minuit” yields “Highway of the Sun at Midnight.” The romantic-sounding phrase evokes a real highway, the 591-mile-long toll road from Paris through Lyon to the Mediterranean at Menton; francophone vacationers, their cars stuffed with beach towels and topped with parasols and folding chairs, call this road “l’autoroute du soleil.” The highway, the first section of which opened in 1960, was designed to serve an emerging European thirst for leisure and consumption. It is an appropriate reference for the artist

  • Niki de Saint Phalle, Nana boule (maillot blanc avec polka dots) (Ball Nana [White Suit with Polka Dots]), ca. 1966–68, painted polyester, 41 × 29 × 34". Galerie Mitterand.

    Niki de Saint Phalle

    Three bright and victorious Nana sculptures—Baigneuse (Bathing Beauty), 1967–68; Nana boule (maillot blanc avec polka dots) (Ball Nana [White Suit with Polka Dots]), ca. 1966–68; and Nana fountaine type (Typical Fountain Nana), ca. 1968—greeted visitors to Niki de Saint Phalle’s recent exhibition at Galerie Mitterrand. For the right collector, the flip of a switch would put the fluorescent-painted Nana Machine, 1970, one of the smallest Nanas, made in collaboration with Jean Tinguely, in motion. Painted polyester architectural models; White Tree, 1972, a haunting monochrome assemblage