4 to 29 April 2001
The title of this commission for Peer offered a way into Ceal Floyer's work. Employing a 'less is more' philosophy to her art, Floyer encourages us to look closely at the ordinary, slight, and often banal stuff of everyday life and invest it with new significance.
Floyer's work is a playful form of minimalism. Rather than presenting materials to reveal their pared down, formal or essentially aesthetic qualities, her project is more literal - what you see is what you get. But is it? A till receipt attached to the gallery wall is the seemingly inconsequential evidence of a shopping trip. The title however, as is often the case in her work, prompts a closer inspection. Monochrome Till Receipt (White) (1999) lists dozens of items including flour, salt, milk, rice and so forth. In a bizarre twist, the mundane activity of a trip to the supermarket is a knowing reference to the highly aestheticised white paintings of Robert Ryman.
The use of pun, double entendre and at times blatant trickery, is an essential ingredient to Floyer's work. In a recent performance at the Birmingham Symphony Hall she walked onto an empty stage immediately prior to the start of the concert and carefully and concentratedly bit off her fingernails into the microphone. Nail Biting Performance (2001) was both a literal enactment of her own stage fright and a wry acknowledgement to sound art and minimalist composition.
Massive Reduction was, perhaps appropriately, the final project in Peer's space at Shoreditch Town Hall.
Ceal Floyer was born in 1968. She has shown internationally since the mid 90s, her recent one person exhibitions include Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (1998) Casey Kaplan, New York (1999), Kunsthalle Bern, (1999), Piksummer, Genova (2000) and Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee (2001). She currently lives in Berlin and is represented in Britain by Lisson Gallery, London.