Tomma Abts
Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London
June 7–September 9, 2018; Public Preview June 6

Tomma Abts’s first solo show at a British public institution will be held this summer at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Marking her largest exhibition to date, this presentation surveys more than a decade of casts and shaped canvases. Tomma Abts has been co-organized with the Art Institute of Chicago, where the exhibition will travel in October 2018; the show is curated by James Rondeau and Lekha Hileman Waitoller in Chicago, with Lizzie Carey-Thomas at the Serpentine.

Abts won the Turner Prize in 2006 and has since presented her work in major solo exhibitions at museums including the New Museum in New York (2008) and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2011). Her enigmatic work is guided by intuition: while Abts’s canvases have maintained the same format, with rare exceptions, for the past twenty years, the artist approaches each abstract composition without preconceived ideas. In paintings that often take years to complete, evolution is evidenced by ridges and uneven surfaces caused by the methodical overpainting and reworking of the image. Reviewing Abts’s New Museum exhibition for The New York Times, Ken Johnson observed, "The layered, textured paint shows that she doesn’t just translate an image that she sees complete in her mind’s eye. Rather she arrives at her compositions circuitously, through trial and error. The transcendental image emerges from a human, terrestrial process of searching and discovering. The cerebral is balanced by the sensual." The artist’s considered approach also applies to the design of her exhibitions, in which the works are carefully sequenced and spaced in response to the surrounding architecture—a consideration that Johnson called "exhilarating." 

The artist has also collaborated on the design of a major new monograph accompanying the show, with essays by Rondeau, president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, art historian Kate Nesin, and Juliane Rebentisch, a Berlin-based professor of philosophy and aesthetics.

Public Preview: Wednesday, June 6, 6–9 PM (no RSVP necessary)

Related Event:

Saturday, June 16, 3 PM
Serpentine Gallery
Join Lizzie Carey-Thomas for a free public tour of the exhibition.

Cover Image: Tomma Abts, Feke, 2013 (detail).

Tomma Abts
Feke, 2013