Foundation Vincent van Gogh, Arles (solo show)
4 March - 17 September 2017
Rebecca Warren is a sculptor of more or less figurative, more or less expressive forms in clay, bronze and welded steel, and an orchestrator of fragments displayed often but not exclusively within wall-mounted vitrines. She works with an eye to extremes – monstrous excess, alarming paucity – creating a variety of objects that she describes as existing “somewhere on the continuum between pure fleshiness and pure cartoonishness”. Hers is a restless, sometimes contradictory art, the result of sustained contemplation of the creative impulse and the mysterious potency of images and objects.
The way in which Warren’s sculpture resonates with us owes a great deal to her heightened appreciation of framing, placement and context, how her works act and react in combination with each other or within a specific setting. Expectations – principally the assumption that meaning can be distilled from appearance – are skewered. Privileged are the more complex pleasures and peculiarities of looking.
For the entrance courtyard, the artist proposes a sculpture more than three metres in height. Its main section in bronze rises like a slender trunk, misshapen and expressive, from a steel pedestal.
Foundation Vincent van Gogh, Arles
Tout Ce Que Le Ciel Permet (solo show)
Le Consortium, Dijon
3 February - 20 May 2018
Tout Ce Que Le Ciel Permet is the French translation of All That Heaven Allows, both literally and figuratively. Rebecca Warren initially conceived this exhibition for Tate St Ives in Cornwall, an outcrop of land at the edge of the sea, which she said evoked for her – along with Douglas Sirk’s film from which she borrowed the title for her show – the idea of ‘freedom and limitation’. Having moved eastward and inland to Dijon, the exhibition reconfigures a group of works that embody her attitudes to sculpture and its history, with her blending of tradition with the quotidian, seriousness with frivolity, mastery with mismatch. Warren plays with the codes and modes of sculpture with virtuoso precision. She counterpoints some of her large bronzes and steel constructions that borrow from minimalism, with the absurdly soft sensuality of tartly coloured pompoms. She countermands permanence with raw clay, and with collages in which neon and small, often unspecifiable, elements are arranged in something approaching a multiple self-portrait, introducing a hint of narrative into the flow of the exhibition. Rebecca Warren integrates into her work those things that interest or amuse her, generating a body of objects that simultaneously scintillate and lurk in the base matters from which they emerged.
Le Consortium, Dijon