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MCA Denver Presents Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made
Eric and Heather ChanSchatz, "PTG.0048 Coal / Coal miners of Quecreek" in Somerset, Pennsylvania, 2008-2009.
DENVER, CO.-The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) announces the opening of Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made, six exhibitions focused on the metaphysics of the human figure. The exhibitions bring together very different types of art and artists including figurative paintings and video by Belgian artist Michaël Borremans (b.1963), a video of a short play by the late Irish writer Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989), abstract paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by New York artists Eric and Heather ChanSchatz (both b. 1968), photographs by New York artist Lorraine O’Grady (b. 1934), architectural renderings as portraits by late San Francisco draftsman A.G. Rizzoli (1896-1982) and drawings by Denver artist William Stockman (b. 1965). The exhibitions open as one on January 29, 2010. A public reception will be held the same day from 8–10pm, with a preview for MCA Denver members from 6–8pm.

Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made explores how depicting the human fig-ure can offer something more consequential than a simple catalogue of physical features. Each artist in the exhibition is interested in telling human stories while de-emphasizing the likeness of a person. Using a wide variety of styles, the artists are joined by an interest in creating a sense of a phenomenon deeper than the surface image, capturing a presence prior to the appearance of the fully formed individual. The line “Looking for the face I had before the world was made,” is a quote from the late poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats from his poem A Woman Young and Old. It can be understood as either a statement of faith or a philosophical riddle related to the formation of the self.

In conjunction with the exhibitions, MCA Denver will hold a series of live public conversations with the artists about their work. Dates and tickets will be released in January.

About the Artists
Internationally acclaimed Michaël Borremans (born in 1963) is a Belgian painter and filmmaker. His early training was as a graphic designer and photographer. His masterful paintings depict ordinary people captured in eerily, unpredictable settings.

Samuel Beckett (1906 – 1989) was an Irish dramatist, poet and novelist, considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, perhaps best known for his 1952 play Waiting for Godot. MCA Denver will feature a video of his dramatic work Not I, a fragmented 1972 mono-logue presented by a disembodied mouth.

New York artists Eric Chan and Heather Schatz (both born in 1968), collectively known as Chan-Schatz, have been working together for nearly 25 years, exhibiting widely throughout the world. Their recent work focuses on abstract paintings based on their interactions with a wide range of communities, including American soldiers in Iraq, coal miners in Pennsylvania, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York.

Pioneering feminist artist Lorraine O’Grady (born in 1934) performed in the 1980s as Mlle. Bourgeoise Noire, crashing museum openings in a pageant dress constructed of ladies white gloves to protest the lack of artists of color in museums. The photographs on display at MCA Denver were created to memorialize her older sister Devonia, who died at age 37. The work juxtaposes images of her sister with various Egyptian sculptures which she resembles.

Trained as an architectural draftsman in San Francisco, A. G. Rizzoli (1896 – 1982) makes symbolic portraits of people in the form of drawings of buildings. These ornate works represent many of the artist’s friends and family who usually are recognized in print on the artwork itself.

William Stockman (born in 1965), a local Denver artist, creates abstract drawings inspired from the myriad of sketches that he makes of the everyday human figure. Some at great scale, his drawings present depictions of people, sometimes just their parts and sometimes in various ar-rangements, drawn in a visibly automatized and minimal style.


Museum of Contemporary Art Denver | Michaël Borremans | Looking for the Face I Had Before the World Was Made |


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