PEER REOPENS ITS DOORS WITH ANGELA DE LA CRUZ EXHIBITION AND TWO NEW PUBLIC ART COMMISSIONS BY CHRIS OFILI AND LONDON FIELDWORKS
16 April to 21 May 2016
PEER celebrates the arrival of spring with a beautifully renovated gallery and an inaugural exhibition by Angela de la Cruz, together with two new public art commissions on Hoxton Street. These projects mark the end of a two phase renovation, which has seen major improvements to PEER’s space, elegantly unifying the two shopfronts of the original building into one architectural statement with a new, 10 metre façade onto the high street. These works have served to underline PEER’s core ethos to make the experience of the highest quality art part of everyday life.
Angela de la Cruz’s presentation features her massive 10 x 12 metre painting Larger than Life, originally made for the Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall in 1998. The PEER version was remade in 2004 and has toured widely abroad before being repatriated and squeezed into PEER’s more modest 5 x 7.5 metre gallery space. De la Cruz is widely acclaimed for her poignant and sometimes tragicomic works, situated somewhere between painting and sculpture. Her works test and challenge the objectness and authority of painting’s status by tearing, crushing and breaking canvases and stretchers. PEER is also exhibiting a new work Table (2016) in which the domestic meets the sculptural. Two paintings made of the same brown and ochre colours are cut into quarters and carefully stacked to form a fan-like construction and sit atop a dining table of classic Danish design. De la Cruz has referred to this as a sketch for the larger work, a compact and life size alternative to its massive unwieldy relative in the adjacent space.
Two new public art commissions inaugurate the recently re-landscaped public space to the front of PEER. A four-metre high pedestal clock has been installed on Hoxton Street, with a four-sided clock face and rotating lightbox for changing displays beneath. The first annual clock commission is by Chris Ofili who, in response to his longstanding connections to the area has produced Black Hands. For this work Ofili has selected 12 of his tiny signature ‘Afrohead’ pencil drawings to replace the numerals on the clock face, while four illuminated ‘Afromuses’ portrait heads grace the display area beneath.
Interdisciplinary art practice London Fieldworks (Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson) have designed a large-scale permanent installation which is open to occupation to local wildlife. Spontaneous City: Hoxton is a 10 metre long sculpture made up of 212 bird and insect boxes modelled on the compact social housing in the area. Installed as a feature of the recently created new public space at the front of the gallery, the artists have described this work as a ‘poetic and eccentric space creation experiment for birds.’
Angela de la Cruz was born in La Coruña in Galicia, northwest Spain in 1965 and lives and works in London. She studied philosophy at the University of Santiago de Compostela (1987) before moving to London, where she obtained a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College (1994) and an MA in Sculpture and Critical Theory from the Slade (1996). Solo exhibitions include Fundación Luis Seoane (2015), Camden Arts Centre, London (2010), Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain (2005) and Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, Annex Space MARCO, Spain (2004). She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010. She is represented in London by Lisson Gallery.
London Fieldworks (LFW) is an interdisciplinary arts practice based in east London, co-founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson in 2000 for creative research and collaboration. Their projects explore a complex inter-working of social, natural, and technological worlds; they work across installation, sculpture, architecture, film, publishing with works made for the gallery, in the landscape, for screen and radio. Recent projects include Remote Performances in collaboration with Resonance 104.4FM (Glen Nevis, Scotland, 2014); Spontaneous City NY (New York, 2013); Null Object: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing (London, Liverpool, Hannover, Philadelphia, 2012) http://londonfieldworks.com
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England, in 1968, and currently lives and works in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He has his BA in Fine Art from Chelsea School of Art (1991 and an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art (1993). Solo exhibitions have been presented internationally, including the New Museum, New York (2014), travelling to Aspen Art Museum (2015); The Arts Club of Chicago (2010); Tate Britain, London (2010 and 2005); kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2006), and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005). He represented Britain in the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and won the Turner Prize in 1998. His works are held in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the British Museum, London; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MoMA, New York; Tate, London; the V&A London; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.