Gazelli Art House presents Tapestries and New Works on Paper, a new solo exhibition by the artists Aziz + Cucher exploring notions of conflict both in the past and present. Utilising a variety of mediums including digital imaging, sculpture, screen-printing and video-installation, the artists present four tapestries from the Some People Tapestry Cycle and five new works on paper from the Frieze series.
The monumental tapestries illustrate everyday scenes of struggle that can be interpreted as historical paintings of a present moment. The scenes depict unknown figures, often in dramatic action, who hold the viewer’s attention through their obscured guises.
“When creating the tapestries, we didn’t want to reference a specific event but an on-going conflict that can be found throughout the course of history,” said Aziz + Cucher. The process behind the tapestries starts with dancers being outfitted in customized attire before adopting dynamic poses against a giant, green screen. These poses are subsequently collaged together to form a single, large composition before being exported as a complex, digital weaving file. To achieve the subtle gradations of colour and depth of detail, the artists use a special jacquard loom in Belgium.
In the introductory text to the artists’ catalogue, the art writer and critic, Glenn Adamson writes: “In America and Europe, there is a sense that society is deeply fractured, at odds with itself. And – partly as a result of this dysfunction – there are actual civil wars unfolding, in Syria and elsewhere. This is the literal and figurative background for Aziz + Cucher’s powerful new tapestries, each of which shows a pageant of bodies, in freeze-frame against an unsettled landscape, pinned like butterflies within time and space itself.”
The five works on paper on display serve as stark contrasts to the embattled tapestries with their rejoicing dancers and joyous energy. Using 24k gold leaf on Hahnemühle paper, the dancing figures are brought to life with a luxurious elegance.
“With this current show, four Jacquard tapestries are showcased together for the first time in London, almost in the entirety of this new series. Never before has the duo ventured out into a new medium such as this and it’s a true honour to be able to exhibit these alongside their newly conceived Frieze series of silkscreen prints with gold leaf,” said Mila Askarova, Founding Director of Gazelli Art House.
This is the fourth show for Aziz + Cucher at Gazelli Art House with previous exhibitions including the Down to Earth group exhibition in 2011, Landscape works 2005 – 2012 and Time of the empress 2014. The artists have been represented by the gallery for the last seven years.
Anthony Aziz (b. 1961 Massachusetts) and Sammy Cucher (b. 1958 Lima, Peru) have been living and working together since 1991 where they met at the San Francisco Art Institute. They are both members of the Fine Arts faculty at Parsons School of Design/The New School in New York and are based in Brooklyn. Aziz + Cucher have exhibited their work in museums and festivals world wide, including the Venice Biennale, Biennale de Lyon, New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, List Visual Art Centre at MIT, National Gallery of Berlin, and the Foundation Cartier in Paris. They have received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.