March 24, 2021 - Secession - Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel / Yuji Agematsu: 2020
March 24, 2021


Daniel Dewar & Gregory Gicquel, Oak chest of drawers with giant Flanders rabbit and arms, 2020. © Benjamin Baltus. Courtesy the artists; C L E A R I N G, New York / Brussels; Loevenbruck, Paris; Jan Kaps, Cologne.

Yuji Agematsu, zip 7.2.2020, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York. Photo: Stephen Faught.

Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel
Yuji Agematsu: 2020
March 26–June 20, 2021

Opening day: March 25, 2–6pm

Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm

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Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel

At first glance, the artist duo Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel’s works may seem like anachronisms in this era of the ascent of digital technology: the two have spent years experimenting with a wide range of materials and techniques that they first had to teach themselves and for which they sometimes even needed to make their own equipment such as weaving frames or wood-fired furnaces. They cut stone, carve wood, mold clay and ceramics, and take up artisanal techniques like embroidery and weaving. Both emphasize the importance of executing their works with their own means, using traditional and modern tools and reviving production processes rooted in various crafts that are being superseded by technical automation. They break with tradition by combining their media with incongruous motifs: the entrails, animal parts, or human limbs, for example, that seem to grow from massive oaken chests and cabinets make for a sight that is as amusing as it is disconcerting. 

Humans, animals, and plants coalesce into a bizarre and sensual new creation in works that exude the conviction that the same lifeblood courses through all beings and manifests itself even in the cut and dressed wood or marble block. Displacing forms out of their original contexts and assembling them in fanciful hybrids, Dewar & Gicquel produce absurd objects—glimpses, like chimeras or the creatures of legend, of an alternate reality.

At the Secession, Dewar & Gicquel present altogether 16 works, extending the series of oakwood sculptures they began in 2017. They are hybrids in several respects: between sculpture and furniture, between autonomous work of art and object of utility, between inanimate object and animate creature—human, animal, and plant. The massive oakwood objects are studded with intricately carved and meticulously executed grotesque figurative elements such as arms, noses, gourds, courgettes, and oxen and pig heads that seem to grow out of the chests, cabinets, and dressers. The artists describe their most recent sculptures as a “rendezvous of animals of different species and a range of vegetables (…) as mammalian fantasies and pastoral hallucinations.” These works, some of which make their debut in the show, are complemented by a 2015 series of handmade ceramic sculptures that emulate off-the-shelf sanitary ware and introduce the discourse of specific materials as well as the varied artistic play with the commonplace and banal to the exhibition. The duo’s engagement with the codes, traditions, and conventions of art as well as their mischievous humor speak even from their most inconspicuous pieces.

Daniel Dewar was born in Forest of Dean (GB) in 1976 and lives and works in Brussels (Belgium).
Grégory Gicquel was born in Saint-Brieuc (France) in 1975 and lives and works in Plévenon (France).

Yuji Agematsu

Secession is happy to present Yuji Agematsu’s day-to-day collection of urban detritus finds turned into miniature sculptural formations from the entire 2020 calendar year. Displayed in custom-made acrylic glass shelves that represent monthly calendar sheets, and alongside diary entry notebooks, his 2020 zips offer a fresh and decidedly unique review of a most remarkable year.

Yuji Agematsu is a kind of chronicler of our times and, moreover, he can be considered an experimental cartographer and archivist of only seemingly petty findings from the streets of his hometown. An urban flaneur, Agematsu has taken daily walks through the streets of New York ever since he moved there from Japan in the early 1980s. On this daily routine, which has now been part of his artistic practice for more than a quarter-century, he picks up and scrutinizes litter that attracts his attention—bits of paper, gum, scraps of plastic bags or wrappers, a feather, in short: otherwise overlooked evidence of the hustle and bustle of city life. If found worth collecting, he drops the find into a cellophane sleeve of a cigarette packet (a container the artist names “zips”) and notes date, time and exact location of the item’s discovery in a small diary.

Back in his studio, the found discarded materials undergo a process of composing, securing, organizing and cataloguing: the artist waits and reworks a chosen discovery before fixing it with resin—one micro-sculpture a day—and in doing so accumulates a continually growing archive of miniature readymade still lifes that is structured by day, month, year. The objects are dated and presented on acrylic glass shelves or more protective acrylic glass boxes that encapsulate a complete month’s findings where they are arranged in orderly rows, following the pattern of the related calendar sheet. The strict and discreet presentation format allows all attention to be focused on the idiosyncratic and fascinating objects, which are—first and foremost—sculptural organizations comprised of overlooked city waste.

Yuji Agematsu, born in 1956 in Kanagawa, Japan, lives and works in New York.


The exhibition program is conceived by the board of the Secession.

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