artists & participants
The Stedelijk Museum presents "Something They Have To Live With": a new installation by Brussels-based Scottish artist Lucy McKenzie (b. Glasgow, 1977). It is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Amsterdam. The installation reflects the diversity of McKenzie’s artistic practice, in which painting, craft, fashion, and architecture intertwine in a dynamic relationship. McKenzie transforms the historic building’s IMC gallery (formerly the ‘Hall of Honor’, where all routes in the museum culminate) into a synthesis of contrasting visual forms and modes of presentation. As if browsing in a department store, the visitor can wander past various ‘displays’.
The installation is anchored by two monumental statements. On one side of the gallery, large paintings reproducing geometric patterns from the Alhambra palace in Granada dominate three walls, creating a dazzling juxtaposition of decorative forms. The opposite side of the gallery presents a large model of an interior of Villa Müller in Prague by architect Adolf Loos. Painted using the trompe-l’œil technique, the walls are treated with illusionistic marbled effect. McKenzie’s pairing of the archetypal Alhambra palace and Villa Müller invites us to consider monumental, closed structures as spaces where the world within is explicitly separated from the world beyond the walls. She explores how architecture can insidiously influence power relations and sexuality. In both Loos’s Modernist design and the Arabic architecture of the Alhambra, women can lead a confined, sheltered existence, and the female body is both hidden from the world and displayed to a select few.
McKenzie also looks at how exemplary interior design translates to more day to day living and working. This is shown in a series of small, detailed architectural models presented on plinths.
“Something they have to live with” is a journey, unfolding from the trace presence of dwellers in Unesco protected interiors, via stylization through fashion, to the artist’s own corporeality as the underpinning theme of the show.
The exhibition is organized by Stedelijk Museum curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen.
something they have to live with
Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen