From 19 May, Lari Pittman will present several of her new paintings embodying the uninterrupted flow of her political and personal reflections from the past. In a body of work ranging from large-scale canvases to more intimate works, Pittman draws on the rich history of the decorative arts, creating shapes and patterns, bursting with pictorial references and symbols. Among the works on display, a larger body of work explores the historical events shared by France and the United States, with a 19th-century ornament as the cornerstone 19th century jewellery set created to be worn together. These turquoise and coral jewellery, in bright colours against a background of darker patterns, are edged with rope garlands and beset by creatures - caterpillars, moths, flies, rats and crows - reminiscent of baroque still life iconography.
Similarly, a series of smaller canvases richly ornamented gourds, alongside animal totems. Thus, Pittman's compositions resonate with the vanitas tradition, where opulent symbols of wealth and beauty appear alongside destructive, devouring animals in allegories of the ephemeral nature of life and its material trappings.
In Dioramas, the ornate surfaces of the works are unified through Pittman's imposition of rectilinear bars on the lower half of each painting. These bars emphasise the flatness of the works, and create a visual and conceptual barrier between the paintings and the viewer space. With these bars, Pittman ostensibly invokes the dignitary function of the diorama - a concept long used by museums to display historical objects in predefined settings. As paintings of these dioramas, Pittman's paintings establish a link between the Pittman's paintings form a formal connection with the viewer, taking allusions to history and fragments of it, and reconstructing them by adapting them to the present. For example, the jewellery is marked with key dates in French and American history 1776, 1789, 1863, 1871, and 1944. These years mark the Declaration of Independence, the French Revolution, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Commune of Paris, and the Liberation of Paris - moments marked as much by violence as by liberation. Avoiding the literal illustration of these decisive political events in favour of decorative metaphors including sumptuous fragments, Pittman's dioramas depict a contemporary history that reflects the opulence and traumas of the past, inviting us to reflect on the complex opportunities and risks of today's world.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
Lévy Gorvy, formed by Dominique Lévy and Brett Gorvy, cultivates a program devoted to innovation and connoisseurship in the fields of postwar and contemporary art. A globally respected gallerist, Dominique Lévy formed her eponymous gallery in 2012. Formerly Chairman and International Head of Post War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, Brett Gorvy is one of the leading forces and tastemakers within the 20th century art market. Gorvy joined forces with Lévy in January 2017. Lévy Gorvy maintains gallery spaces at 909 Madison Avenue in New York, in Mayfair, London, in the Marais, Paris, and in Central, Hong Kong. The gallery offers bespoke private advisory services to collectors and institutions around the globe, and fosters continued dedication to the living artists and artists’ estates it represents and pursues a robust program of exhibitions and multidisciplinary events.
Terry Adkins • Alexander Calder Enrico Castellani • Chung Sang-Hwa Francesco Clemente • Dan Colen Willem de Kooning • Lucio Fontana Gego • Yves Klein • Jutta Koether Seung-taek Lee • Robert Motherwell Senga Nengudi • Roman Opalka Adrian Piper • Michelangelo Pistoletto Carol Rama • Martial Raysse • Peter Regli • Germaine Richier • Joel Shapiro Kazuo Shiraga • Karin Schneider • Pat Steir • Tu Hongtao • Günther Uecker Zao Wou-Ki • Pierre Soulages