'In Place of a Trophy' presents forward four internationally based artists whose work evades any conventional reading of the object of art. The selected works present a conceptual understanding of the constructed environment; through a re-imagining of context and materiality, the works consider our relationship of space as imagined, evasive, and unstable.
Articulated through an unconventional and diverse array of urban materials, such as concrete, brick, wood and metal, the artists approach such unconventional materialization with a surprising, whimsical, and urgent nature, transforming objects that might otherwise be ignored or discarded to create a new temporal language: a landscape of spatial distortion, which (while reminiscent of its initial framework) reinvents itself and appropriates a sense of masquerade. Reused, reshaped and reinterpreted, each artist exhibits a distinct yet related body of work that can be understood archaeologically, as though a future civilization has embalmed and reinterpreted samples from our contemporary urban environment. Here we see captured street scenes, extracts of the metropolis, items of urbanity, artesania, and even kitsch, reinvented with museum-like dissociation, pseudo-scientific analysis, as though a series of cultural, socio-historic curio on display. Here, the viewer is reverted to passivity, refuted entry as though a museum visitor attempting to process the foreign objectivity that has been displayed.
Non-descript rubble lying on the side of a pavement is magnified and printed on denim, disguising as painterly tapestry in Vasilis Asimakopoulos’s Knocking. Discarded cement blocks rendered useless at a construction site are encased and presented in a glass cabinet by Olivier Kosta-Thefaine, as objects that should be reconsidered, redefined and treasured. Similarly, the ordinary metal grill of a security fence is moulded and transformed into neat, abstract and geometric patterns in Kosta-Thefaine’s Satrouville and La Gaubretiere. Further on, six framed spraypainted works hang playfully alongside two forgotten bricks, reminiscent of graffiti sprawled on street corners and walls (Detail D’une Rue and Collection I).
In the same vein, Frank Maier creates asymmetrical sculptural paintings from painted detritus: wood and string, creating objects of contemplation from discarded remnants. Leo Babsky challenges the material aspects of contemporary life by combining every day objects and allowing the viewer to reconsider their appeal as new constructed and desirable entities: titular piece In Place of A Trophy presents objects that are stripped of their original frameworks and uses, inciting us to reconsider our ingrained reference models; causing us to wonder which sort of substitutes might present an element of ‘worth’. Marble, latex and ceramics, precariously stacked and balanced offer distorted mirrors of the every day. Combined, the works provide a new landscape with alternate potential, a highly conceptual and intimate reinterpretation of the ‘real’, perhaps in an attempt to garner a new sensitivity for our industrialized and hyper-globalized world.