press release

The SWISS INSTITUTE – CONTEMPORARY ART (S I) is pleased to present a solo show by Berlin-based British artist, Ceal Floyer this autumn. Floyer will create an elegant installation of three powerful works never shown before in New York, including a new piece created specially for the S I, installed in our new project space. Floyer’s mastery of mediating meaning through sound, light and ordinary objects will permeate the space.

Entering the gallery space, the visitor is first caught by the languorous melody of Till I get it right, a song originally composed by Tammy Wynette. For this sound piece, Floyer truncated and slightly altered the song’s lyrics so that song continuously repeats ‘So I’ll just keep on... till I get it right’. The circularity of the song rapidly becomes insistent, turning this love song into a Sisyphean nightmare, eternally repeating itself. Strikingly depicting the human condition, this work can also be interpreted as a metaphor of the artist’s fate: the quest for the absolute masterpiece. If this quest seems beyond reach and may never be fulfilled (as epitomized by the deliberately empty space of the gallery), it is nevertheless a constantly renewed source of creation.

In Double Act, using a very simple device, Floyer reformulates and discusses Plato’s myth of the cave that warns us against the world of illusions and conveys the idea that art is a confusing way of apprehending reality. Floyer’s installation consists of a theatre spotlight projecting a circular image of a red curtain on the right angle of the gallery floor and wall. The installation is at first puzzling for the light beam seems to be at the same time the source of the image and the image itself. It is indeed, as the title puts it, a ‘double act’ of representation. The process and the theatricality involved in the installation raises the question of the relationship of representation, illusion and imitation to reality and our understanding of it. If Floyer never intends to trick the spectator or to create illusion, she nevertheless believes that there is no unmediated access to reality. To her, representation or more precisely re-presentation is a preferred access to reality for it leads us to see the obvious.

The work of art and Floyer’s work in particular suggests that we should always bear in mind that nothing goes without saying.

Recent solo shows of Ceal Floyer’s work include: Art Unlimited, Basel; Galerie Esther Schipper, Berlin; 303 Gallery, New York and Lisson Gallery, London.


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Ceal Floyer