NEW YORK, NY.- The New Museum
presents the second exhibition in its recently inaugurated Studio 231 series. Head Gas is the first New York exhibition by Italian-born, Berlin-based artist Enrico David. Over the past twenty years, David has produced a body of work encompassing painting, drawing, sculpture, and collage that draws upon a rich variety of sources and expresses a range of complex emotional states. Although his work is highly celebrated throughout Europe the artist was among the nominees for the 2009 Turner Prize, for exampleDavids work has rarely been exhibited in the United States.
The figures populating Davids work convey the struggle of adaptation, both physical and psychological, of the self and of the image. In his art, we see haunting, incomplete, and sometimes grotesque characters fighting against and merging into backgrounds comprising a personal lexicon of forms. These patterns are derived from craft, folk art, and twentieth-century design, as well as advertising, techniques of display, fashion, and art historical moments. Previously, David choreographed his figurative works to imply dramatic narratives, at times using the exhibition space as a stage. His exhibitions function as performances of self-analysis constructed and theatricalized specifically for public display. Through Davids highly personalized iconography, the works act as mirrors, reflecting viewers desires, fears, and vulnerabilities. In Davids more recent work, the implications and strands of psychological tension are enacted within a more formalized, image-based corporeality
For his Studio 231 exhibition, David has created an entirely new body of work. The paintings and works on paper are part of a series of portraits rendered delicately in pencil and luminescent fields of acrylic paint applied with a sponge or caressing brush. Davids imagery suggests bodies at the point of apparition or dissolutionbeings that cannot be contained or consumed, perhaps only passed through, and reluctantly present.
I imagine these images as the product of a conscious, physiological act of will. To exist despite the alienating and antagonizing nature of their surrounding environmentas if a precarious and utterly temporary agreement was struck between them and the molecular components of paint and canvas, lines and colors, even the space itself, threaten to engulf them, says David. These conditions, as ridiculous and unlikely as they may sound, represent for me an experience that feels real, necessary to embrace, even optimistic.
Head Gas also features a new series of hand-painted paravents. These folding screens, originally conceived by the artist for his own apartment, create an architectural intervention within the exhibition space, simultaneously connecting to the images occupying the gallery.
Enrico David is the second artist featured in the New Museums new Studio 231 series. The Museum inaugurated the series in October 2011, with a new installation and performances by London-based artist Spartacus Chetwynd. Studio 231 is a series of commissioned projects in the museums adjacent, groundfloor space at 231 Bowery. This new initiative will give international, emerging artists the opportunity to realize ambitious new works conceived especially for the space. These projects at 231 Bowery also seek to foster a new relationship between the artists and the public by allowing artists to create work outside the confines of the main museum building and in closer proximity to the energy of the street and to the creative space of the artists studio.
Following the exhibition of Enrico Davids work, Swedish-born artist Nathalie Djurberg (b. 1978) will mark the third presentation in the Studio 231 series. The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg will be on view from May 2 August 26, 2012. This is Djurbergs most ambitious multimedia installation to date and the largest American museum presentation of this artists work. Originally organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Djurberg will adapt the installation for the New Museums space at 231 Bowery and will expand the project with a new animated film.
Enrico David was born in Ancona, Italy, in 1966. He studied fine art at Central Saint Martins in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Repertorio ornamentale, Fondazione Beviliacqua La Masa, Venice (2011); How Do You Love Dzzzzt by Mammy?, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2009); Bulbous Marauder, Seattle Art Museum (2008); and Ultra Paste, ICA London (2007). The artists most recent group exhibitions include Secret Societies, presented at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and CAPC Bordeaux, and A Different Person, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (both 2011). Enrico David was nominated for the Tates Turner Prize in 2009. He currently lives and works in Berlin