Lucy Skaer’s new commission for Chisenhale Gallery takes a siege situation as its conceptual underpinning. Skaer seeks to explore a tension between the abstraction created by high capitalism, in which objects are understood in terms of exchange value or associated image, and their direct material nature, denuded of their context and meaning. Interrogating systems of exchange, the objects displayed are made from materials with an inherent quantifiable value such as gold and coal. Recast in forms that negate physicality, the objects pit their own material and symbolic value against one another.
In the ‘exterior’ zone of the exhibition two enlarged drawings based on Hokusai’s The Great Wave (c. 1823) and Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Deluge (1517) lie on the floor. Skaer employs a system of representational drawing that both renders and diverts the route of the source image. Enclosed behind the exhibition’s dividing wall, a group of antique tables have been adapted and used as printing plates to create the images displayed. Another grouping of objects entitled Black Alphabet comprises a series of totemic sculptures fabricated from compressed coal dust. Based on the twenty-six Bird in Space sculptures Brancusi made during the course of his lifetime, Skaer’s scorched re-workings crystallise the occurrence of these objects through time while foregoing the spiritual transcendence of Brancusi’s originals for a potent materiality.
Lucy Skaer was born in Cambridge in 1975 and lives and works in Glasgow and Basel. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art and she recently represented Scotland at the 52nd Venice Biennale. She represented by Doggerfisher, Edinburgh and Elizabeth Kaufmann, Zurich.
Events & Talks
Sat 12 April, 3pm
Lucy Skaer in conversation with curator and writer Polly Staple
Sat 3 May, 3pm
Artist Rosalind Nashashibi discusses the exhibition.