Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo
artist / participant
With great pleasure Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition “black & white”, with works by American artist Charles Ray (b. 1953). Ray has had a unique position within contemporary art the last 30 years. His works are rich in art historical references, yet they also stand out as having an unmistakeable originality. Today there are few artists who enjoy greater respect in the artworld than Charles Ray.
The exhibition is entitled “black & white”, and the idea of black/white is the leitmotif throughout the exhibition. To a large degree, the choice of title and thematic have contributed to clarifying Ray’s project: Just as a black and white photograph can be experienced as more distinct or explicit than a colour photograph, because the eye can more easily concentrate on the motif, the purpose of this exhibition is to direct attention to the core of Charles Ray’s artistic practice.
Early on, Charles Ray introduced his own body into the creative process. He made “performative sculptures” where the relation between the embodied subject and the formal object was central. The subjective presence and the relations between the sculpture’s inner spaces have consistently proved to be central aspects of his oeuvre. In his production form the 1980s to the ‘90s the artist’s physical presence eventually disappears, yet Ray continues to focus on the internal relationship between sculptural elements. Several of his works take their point of origin from minimalist forms and formal quotations from every-day life or popular culture. With the aid of these loaned elements, and through his choice of materials, weight, size and perception, Ray creates spectacular surprises. The mechanism in Ray’s artworks seems to be about a peculiar duality. As a rule, the works turn out to be something other than what they initially appear to be. Often the truth is revealed in the title. By emphasizing an absurdity, a comical aspect or pure beauty, the relationship between the work and the viewer is renewed.
The exhibition includes art from the early 1970s and up to today, with some completely new works shown for the first time. The curators for the exhibition are Gunnar B. Kvaran and Hanne Beate Ueland. The exhibition is organized in close collaboration with the artist.
black & white