‘The exhibition of invisibility is a practice that traverses the entire twentieth century, from Duchamp’s Air de Paris, 1919, to Takis’s magnetic fields….from Art & Language’s ‘Air Conditioning Show’ to Robert Barry’s emissions of radio waves, brainwaves, and molecules of inert and noble gases. These attempts to use the atmosphere as a medium in continuous expansion, a medium that can never be completely visualised, constituted a challenge to the limits of the art object, as well as to the ideas that artistic experience had to create objects to be submitted to the scrutiny of vision. Balula, on the contrary, intends not so much to manipulate the immaterial as to make visible that aura or electromagnetic spectrum that reconfigures the social space, our relationship with others, and our aesthetic experience in this era of information technology.’
- Riccardo Venturi, Artforum, June 2015
Alison Jacques Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by French artist Davide Balula. Balula’s practice manifests in a wide range of forms, which record the effects of nature such as charring wood, soaking canvases in rivers or burying paintings in soil. Upon entering the space the viewer is confronted with the first of a series of new ‘Burnt Paintings/ Imprints of the Burnt Paintings’ which consist of rectangular wood fragments arranged in a pattern formation and burnt with a blowtorch. Balula then presses the charred surfaces onto new canvas of the same size to create an imprint (a negative) that directly corresponds to the wood composition. Another work from this series is exhibited in the side space, with each element placed on an opposing wall. It is at once a diptych and a mirrored image, demonstrating a reciprocal relationship that redefines our understanding of space and architecture.
In the larger gallery space Balula will present a new series of sculptures, ‘Colouring the WiFi Network’. The WiFi sculptures are metal bars painted in various colours (such as ‘Pistil Yellow’, ‘Beige Nutmeat’ or ‘Blue Ice’) which act as antennae. Each sculpture emits a WiFi signal that corresponds to its colour, a digital echo of the work, which can be accessed through an open network on any smartphone or laptop. These works reflect the artist’s interest in reproduction, the movement of light and its shadow and the trajectory of colour through space, exemplifying Balula’s interest in the materiality of the work but also the results created through audience interaction. As Mara Hoberman writes in Art Agenda ‘In addition to offering the viewer the intimate experience of holding artwork in their own hands, ‘Coloring the WiFi Network’ also has macro implications. It's not confined to the context of the exhibition, but, rather, is designed to seep into the real world.’ This year during Art Basel Parcours for example Balula will work with chef Daniel Burns to create ‘Painting the Roof of your Mouth’ an edible retrospective for which Balula flavoured ice cream from natural elements such as burnt wood, smoke and dirt which correspond to his paintings.
Davide Balula was born in France in 1978 and currently lives and works in New York, NY. His work is included in museum and public collections including Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris and Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Wiels centre d’art contemporain, Brussels; Bielefelder Kunstverein; Madison Museum for Contemporary Art; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami and Museums Quartier Wien. Davide Balula is one of the four artists nominated for the 2015 Prix Marcel Duchamp. With thanks to Michelle D’Souza Fine Art, London.