Day and Night Press Release
January 7—February 20, 2016
David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of recent and new works by Yutaka Sone, on view at the gallery's 525 West 19th Street location. This will be the artist's seventh solo show since his first exhibition with the gallery in 1999.
Across a wide range of media–predominantly sculpture but also painting, drawing, photography, video, and performance–Sone's work revolves around a tension between realism and perfection. A conceptual framework, paired with a meticulous attention to detail, has characterized his practice since the early 1990s, informing equally his self-contained jungle environments, life-size roller coasters, magnified snowflakes, and staged events. His sculptural works in particular attest to a profound interest in landscapes, whether natural or architectural, and their extraordinary ability to capture light relates them to a genre primarily associated with painting and photography.
The exhibition features a new group of canvases depicting scenes at night. The motifs were taken from the artist's large-scale, white marble sculptures and respectively show an amusement park roller coaster, Los Angeles highway intersection, and Hong Kong and Manhattan cityscapes. With their black backdrops illuminated by brightly painted artificial lights, the paintings contrast with the purity of their sculptural counterparts, yet similarly present their subjects as archetypal landscapes somehow unaffected by the life that circulates within them.
The marble sculpture Movie Theater (2013) continues Sone's interest in rendering light in three dimensions. For his earlier Light in between Trees series (2010), shards of light surrounding snowcapped trees or stumps were given physical form, welding abstract and figurative shapes. Here, a beam emerging from a projection window materializes into a large triangular geometrical object hovering over the audience as a roof.
Also on view are life-sized sculptures of palm trees, which embody the ongoing dialogue within Sone's oeuvre between natural and man-made structures. Made in collaboration with local artisans in the Michoacán region of Mexico, the trees are meticulously crafted from rattan, which is woven around a metal armature. The process will be documented in a forthcoming film by the artist, Michoacán Report, which is partially inspired by French Nobel Prize winning author J.M.G. Le Clézio's 1985 thesis on the region, and the history of the area's Aztec forebearers. It comprises numerous images in close succession interweaving the creation of the palm trees and the broader context of the lost civilization. Sample scripts and posters for the film will be presented alongside the trees in the exhibition, with the installation doubling as a storyboard.
The sculptures are juxtaposed with "sky and palm tree head" paintings that Sone creates from his garden in Los Angeles. Context and extraneous details are omitted and the evergreen crowns assume equal importance to the encompassing areas of blue sky, with bold brushstrokes adding atmospheric impressions. Measuring between one and two meters tall, these new works are Sone's largest in the medium to date.