Michel Rein Gallery opens an exhibition of Abigail DeVille's work

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Michel Rein Gallery opens an exhibition of Abigail DeVille's work
Installation view.

PARIS.- Michel Rein Gallery is presenting Abigail DeVille’s fourth solo exhibition, following Invisible Men: Beyond the Veil (2013), America (2015), and Chaos or Community? (2017, Brussels).

Abigail DeVille’s work focuses on the cosmologies of marginalized people and places. Her works, installations and environments are marked by a multitude of historical and cultural references representing the complexity of racial identity in the United States. As witness to her time, Abigail DeVille is a bearer of stories through the bringing to light of testimonies, memories of survival: her own and those of all the unknown Americans who have been cast to the margins of misery and isolation.

Through her travels and encounters, Abigail DeVille collects, accumulates and gives life to our waste to deliver a scathing and uncompromising image of a society that refuses to face all forms of violence and discrimination that it engenders and perpetuates.

The exhibition presents the works that the artist realised during a residence of several months at the American Academy in Rome in 2017-2018. Mannequins, dressed with African masks, covered with wire, fragments of mirrors and waste, carry within them the images of great historical figures Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Her sculptures, made up of series of objects fused together, immerse the viewer in a universe where oppression, discrimination and racial violence are exposed without concession for all to see.

Abigail DeVille pays homage to America and to those who created it - from pre-Columbian cultures to slaves of African origin, via French overseas colonies through to invisible minorities of today. And in order to build, one must destroy; recover and change abandoned objects surrounding us in order to see them in a new light.

Abigail DeVille b. 1981, lives and works in New York.

She’s known for her site-specific installations and large-scale sculptures, including Light of Freedom (2020), commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy. A response to history and current events, Light of Freedom reflects the despair and the exultation in this turbulent period of pandemic and protest. With a timeworn bell—a herald of freedom—and the arms of mannequins, beseeching viewers, it references the Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch that were exhibited in Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Light of Freedom is on view at The Momentary, a satellite contemporary art space of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, from March 25 - September 26, 2021, and at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC., from October - April 2022.

Abigail DeVille’s exhibitions include PICA, Portland, OR (2018); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); ICA, Los Angeles, CA (2017). She has received the United States Artists Fellowship (2018), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant (2018), the Chuck Close/Henry W. and Marion T. Mitchell Rome Prize (2017-2018), an OBIE Award for Design (sets & costumes) for Prophetika: An Oratorio at LaMaMa (2015), the Creative Capital Visual Artist Award (2015), The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship (2014-2015), a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2014), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2012). She has also been an Artist in Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (2017) and the Studio Museum of Harlem (2013-2014). DeVille received a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology (2007) and an MFA from Yale University (2011).

Her works are included in prestigious collections such as the Pinault Collection (France), Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (MBMA), Kadist Art Foundation (San Francisco), Kaviar Factory (Henningsvaer), Bronx Museum of the Arts, Studio Museum (Harlem), Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Paris) among others. She teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), and is a visiting critic at the Yale School of Art (New Haven) and the Columbia University MFA program (New York).

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