September 17, 2010 - Whitechapel Gallery - Keeping it Real: Subversive Abstraction
September 17, 2010

Keeping it Real: Subversive Abstraction

Nikos Kessanlis Untitled (Gesture), 1961.
Readymade object, tissue, wire 200 x 21 cm.*

Keeping it Real: Subversive Abstraction
17 September – 5 December 2010

77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX

whitechapelgallery.org

The Whitechapel Gallery presents a new story of abstract art from the late 20th century to today.

Keeping it Real: Subversive Abstraction shows an alternative view to abstract art founded on ideals of purity and transcendence. Artists including David Hammons, Damien Hirst and Mike Kelley, on show at the Whitechapel Gallery from 17 September, make abstract work about everyday experiences, using everyday materials.

Works on show include David Hammons’ huge wall installation Flight of Fantasy (1995) in which gold ornament, crystals and cropped dreadlocks bring black culture to the traditions of western painting, while Lynda Benglis’ knotted painting Très (1976) is one woman’s comment on the masculine heroism of American Abstract Expressionist painting.

Mike Kelley‘s floor sculpture of rugs and toys, Transplant (1990), plays with romantic ideas of childhood innocence, while Daniel Subkoff‘s shredded canvas All Her Clothes Are Swept Aside by Her Face (2008) questions whether a painting has to be a flat object.

A rare early work by Damien Hirst Untitled (Collage 2) (1985), uses everyday materials such as books and pencils, shown alongside Dieter Roth‘s cheese paintings Kleine Landschaft (1969) which decompose in situ.

Other artists on show include Robert Gober, Nikos Kessanlis, Julie Mehretu, Kori Newkirk and Rosemarie Trockel.

This exhibition is the second in a series of four displays drawn from the D. Daskalopoulos Collection, Greece, as part of the Gallery’s programme to open up important art collections to the public. Devised by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery, Keeping it Real is a series of four micro-exhibitions, with each one building on the memory of its predecessor. They bring together artworks whose meaning is deeply rooted in the materials employed by the artists.

Forthcoming exhibitions in this series include:
Keeping it Real: Current Disturbance, 17 December 2010 – 6 March 2011 – a single room-filling installation by Mona Hatoum Current Disturbance is shown for the first time in London. The work will animate Gallery 7 with the sound of electric current feeding the flashing lightbulbs housed in a grid of metal cages.
Keeping it Real: Material Intelligence, 18 March – 22 May 2011 presents artists including Arturo Herrera, Martin Kippenberger, Cady Noland, Seth Price and Kelley Walker who use readily available images as their material.

The presentation of the D. Daskalopoulos Collection is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up collections that are rarely seen by the public in the UK. Exhibitions are displayed in the dedicated Collections Gallery, one of the new spaces in the recently expanded building which opened in April 2009. It follows the presentation of 5 displays from the British Council Collection from April 2009 – May 2010. The Whitechapel Gallery’s programme of collection displays is supported by specialist insurer Hiscox.

Notes for Editors
• As part of its programme to open up important art collections to the public the Whitechapel Gallery presents a series of four displays drawn from the D. Daskalopoulos Collection, Greece, one of the foremost European collections of contemporary art.
• As the principal owner, CEO and Chairman, Dimitris Daskalopoulos oversaw since 1983 the transformation of a family dairy business into VIVARTIA S.A., Greece’s largest food company, with leading brands in dairy, bakery, frozen foods and restaurants and 13,000 employees in 29 countries. He sold the business in 2007. Today, he is the Chairman of DAMMA Holdings SA, a financial services and investment company, the Chairman of the Board of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), and also a member of the Board of Directors of The National Bank of Greece and of the Mytilineos Group of companies. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Guggenheim Foundation and active in the Tate International Council and the Leadership Council of the New Museum.
Keeping it Real has been conceived and curated by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.
• A fully-illustrated publication, Keeping It Real. From the ready-made to the everyday, detailing each of the 4 exhibitions is published by the Gallery.
• The Whitechapel Gallery’s programme of collection displays is supported by specialist insurer Hiscox.

Visitor Information
Keeping it Real: Subversive Abstraction, 17 September – 5 December 2010, Whitechapel Gallery. Admission free. Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm, Thursdays, 11am – 9pm. Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX. Nearest London Underground Station: Aldgate East, Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway DLR.
T + 44 (0) 20 7522 7888 info@whitechapelgallery.org
whitechapelgallery.org

Press Information
For further press information please contact:
Rachel Mapplebeck on 020 7522 7880, 07811 456 806 or email
RachelMapplebeck@whitechapelgallery.org
Elizabeth Flanagan on 020 7522 7871 or email
ElizabethFlanagan@whitechapelgallery.org

*Image above:
© Nikos Kessanlis.
Courtesy Alpha Delta Gallery.
Photo by Nikos Markou.

Whitechapel Gallery

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