June 10, 2014 - Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art - Jimmie Durham
June 10, 2014

Jimmie Durham

Courtesy Jimmie Durham. Photo: Kai Vollmer.

Jimmie Durham: Traces and Shiny Evidence
12 June–9 August 2014

Preview: Wednesday 11 June, 6:30–9pm

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road
London, N1 7RW
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm,
Sunday noon–5pm
Free admission

T + 44 (0) 20 7490 7373
info [​at​] parasol-unit.org


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present the work of artist Jimmie Durham in a solo exhibition from 12 June to 9 August (preview 11 June, 6:30 to 9pm).

For this exhibition Durham has created a new installation that covers the entire gallery space of the foundation. While the installation on the ground floor is vivid, physical and colourful, the installation on the first floor is sedate, ethereal, and black and white.

In the ground-floor gallery, the protagonists are brightly painted oil barrels coated with ‘chameleon’ automobile paint, which changes colour in relation to one’s varying standpoint, and include what appear to be skeletons and animal bones but are actually brightly painted plastic replicas. Automobile parts are scattered about and the site is complete with plastic pipes seeping what appear to be chemicals and oil, and other such industrial spillages, but are made of coloured acrylic gel. For the artist, Jimmie Durham, the general aspect of the work recalls an observation by Walter Benjamin that the rainbow colours in a thin film of oil on a puddle of rainwater is the best sign of modern times.

In the main area of the first-floor gallery the artist has created an installation for the walls. They are covered by sheets of drawing paper on which can be seen the sparse, black-and-white contours of animal forms. In the smaller section of this gallery we are screening Durham’s 90-minute video titled Smashing.

Durham has often referred to the strange ubiquity of oil barrels in our contemporary environment. He describes his installation at Parasol unit as ‘beautiful death,’ which, despite all that is going on in it, would look sparse, almost austere—if only it were not so cheerful.

Born in the United States of America, Durham is an artist, poet and prominent writer. His eclectic artistic practice spans five decades and is sustained by an investigative and remarkably creative mind. Primarily comprised of sculpture and installation, it also includes drawing, photography, performance and video. Many of his works are collages or collections of discarded objects and fragments of organic matter, the nature of which he intelligently and astutely transforms and often paints in dazzling colours. His work commonly refers to the attributes of mankind and animals, their life and past history.

Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/ Director, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art.

Jimmie Durham: Traces and Shiny Evidence is accompanied by a related programme of educational events, including creative writing, poetry, lectures, family workshops and a public talk by the artist.

Related events:

Artist talk: Jimmie Durham
Thursday 12 June, 7pm
Join Parasol unit for this rare opportunity to hear exhibiting artist Jimmie Durham discuss his work and practice. Jimmie Durham (b. 1940) is an artist, writer, activist and poet with a career spanning five decades. Durham was born in the United States of America and is now based in Berlin and Naples.

Panel discussion: “A Curator’s Guide to Live Art
Tuesday 17 June, 7:30pm
Co-presented with the Live Art Development Agency (LADA), this event seeks to consider the increasing ‘institutional’ embrace of Live Art and ephemeral, itinerant performance practices within museums, galleries, biennials and art fairs. “A Curators’ Guide to Live Art” will consider some of the issues these developments raise for artists and curators by looking at what Live Art can, and cannot, do in gallery contexts, and the kinds of possibilities and challenges it presents. With panel speakers Marcia Farqhuar (artist), Shaheen Merali (curator), Harold Offeh (artist) and Stephanie Rosenthal (curator). Chaired by Lois Keidan of LADA.

For more information, contact Gemma Colgan: gemma [​at​] parasol-unit.org / T +44 (0) 20 7490 7373

Founded in December 2004, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is a registered educational charity in England and Wales that operates purely for the public benefit. The foundation does not bear the founder’s name, and its exhibitions are not derived from any collection. Admission to all exhibitions is free of charge. Every year the foundation organises four challenging and thought-provoking exhibitions in various media and sets up a variety of other artistic projects. Exhibitions are usually accompanied by publications and complimented by related educational events for children and adults.

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