This Is Not a Prop
David Zwirner is pleased to present This Is Not a Prop at the gallery’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street locations in New York. The exhibition includes work by Alex Da Corte, Jonathas de Andrade, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jonah Groeneboer, Gordon Hall, Hannah Levy, Donald Moffett, Paulo Nazareth, Elle Pérez, Oren Pinhassi, Christina Quarles, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Franz West.
This Is Not a Prop brings together a multigenerational group of artists whose work explores the liminal space between body and object. The exhibition takes as its point of departure Franz West’s (1947–2012) furniture and Passstücke (Adaptives), which are represented in the show by three works: Paravent (Passstück) (Screen [Adaptive]) (c. 1982); 2625 (1991/1999); and Passstücke (mit Video mit Verwendungstipps) (Adaptives [with Video with Usage Tips]) (1996). Intended to be interacted with, these works redefine art as a social experience and ask how objects can function both as physical extensions of the body and as representations of the human experience.
This Is Not a Prop is organized by Alec Smyth and Cristina Vere Nicoll.
Image: Viewers interacting with Franz West, Passstücke (mit Video mit Verwendungstips) (Adaptives [with Video with Usage Tips]), 1996, during the exhibition Franz West at David Zwirner, New York, 2014. © 2018 Archiv Franz West
Oren Pinhassi’s (b. 1985) large plaster and glass sculptures reference the architecture of gay cruising sites where the private and public intersect. The sculptures, corporeal and rough, invite viewers into a sensual landscape where bodies are simultaneously hidden and exposed. Pinhassi’s work imagines the erotic potential of architecture and constructed spaces.
Few artists have shaped the scope of contemporary art and influenced a younger generation more than Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968). The portrait occupies a prominent position within Tillmans’s oeuvre; he has mentioned that he approaches the genre with the same level of experimentation that he uses for his abstract pictures, and his subjects are sometimes presented in contexts that seem to approximate still lifes.
New York based artist Elle Pérez (b. 1989) explores the complicated project of queer visibility through photographs embedded with subtle narrative codes. Seemingly ordinary objects such as an eyelash, a bandana, or a swimsuit, are revealed to be a language of visual signifiers. Binder (2018), presented in the exhibition, depicts a gray chest binder hanging on a shower curtain rod.
Examining self-portraiture as a means of representation, Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s (b. 1982) photographs feature staged objects, mirrors, and collages that visually fragment, or abstract, the artist’s own form in an attempt to complicate presentations of the queer, black body. For Sepuya, self-portraiture is as much about disclosure as it is about concealment; the five photographs on view display his range of representation, including three works from 2018 created in collaboration with Grace Wales Bonner and Eric Mack for i-D magazine.
Christina Quarles (b. 1985) creates semi-figurative paintings that distort the human form as a means of capturing intersectional desire, and the experience of living as a queer-identifying African-American woman who is often mistaken as white. Fell To Earth (Felt to Pieces) (2018) depicts a hunched over figure with limbs extending in all directions; the work exemplifies Quarles interest in the body as a locus of ambiguity.