The group show “Carpet for a Lord” at the Berlin gallery of Supportico Lopez takes its name from a 1991 work by Henri Chopin (1922-2008), the avant-garde artist, poet and musician, and features the work of eight artists, including early career artists, Charlie Billingham, Than Hussein Clark, Daniel Milvio, Jill Mulleady and Ola Vasiljeva, and established artists, Judith Hopf, Ettore Spalletti and Haim Steinbach. Running until 22nd October, this exhibition aspires to create a melody, from the references and forms of the artworks, about aesthetics, representation, enigma, personality, past, future and death.
The gallery is presented as a mise-en-scène with a large painting by Charlie Billingham placed on a royal blue wall, taking centre stage. Billingham’s decoratively-coloured figurative paintings have associative references, namely late 18th century and early 19th century British cartoons, and are often imbued with theatrical and absurdist qualities. A reference to Luigi Pirandello’s 1921 play, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” in the press release for this exhibition gives a clue to what the viewer should be looking for. This nonsensical play is about an acting company rehearsing a play when they are interrupted by six strange people, a mother, father, their child and the mother’s three other children by another man, in search of an author to finish their story. The mother has walked in on the father offering to buy sex from his stepdaughter who he insists that he did not recognise after so many years. The director agrees to stage their story.
Turning back to the exhibition, one sees many of these peculiar characters crossing the stage,most notably two curious sculptures by Than Hussein Clark that are suggestive of a figure of sorts but made from reconstructed vintage chairs designed by the Austrian architect Josef Hoffman in 1907 for the Vienna-based Cabaret Fledermaus, an avant-garde nightclub and performing arts space. Other floor-based artworks add to the cast of actors, including Judith Hopf’s humorous painted tile sculptures, resembling masks put together like a puzzle from a series of different geometric shapes and Billingham’s bloated white plaster boot sculptures that look like they have fallen out of one of his paintings. Ola Vasiljeva’s artwork plays the role of the director, sitting down exasperated, putting his feet up on a desk and gazing at his script notes pinned to the wall.
Populating the background of the stage are other wall-based props, such as a monochrome panel with gold leaf by Ettore Spalletti, one of Haim Steinbach’s signature shelves complete with two antique golden hole punches and a meerschaum pipe, and two sconces by Daniel Milvio, each holding a lit candle from a bronze fist jutting out from the wall. Representational paintings evocative of the past complete the scene with excellent contributions from Jill Mulleady and Daniel Milvio.
About the Artists
Charlie Billingham, born in 1984. Lives and works in London. Often large in scale and pungent with
colour, his paintings typically depict figures excised from satirical drawings by Thomas Rowlandson,George Cruikshank and James Gillray – bulging, bewigged and cavorting. Selected Exhibitions: Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); A Scratching Not a Biting, Bureau,2016, New York, US (group); Schaulust, Supportico Lopez, 2015, Berlin, DE (solo); The Ultimate Vessel, Koppe Astner, 2015, Glasgow, GB (group); The Funnies, with Helmut Helmut Middendorf,Werner Buttner, Philip Guston, Mel Bochner, Raymond Pettibon, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, George Condo, Cosima Von Bonin, Sarah Lucas, Rose Wylie, MOT International, 2015, Brussels, B (group);Tender 2 The Sunshine Room, OHWOW, 2014, Los Angeles, US (solo); Coming Out, RoyalAcademy, 2013, London, GB (solo). Judith Hopf, born in 1969. Lives and works in Berlin. Professor of Fine Art, Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst, Frankfurt am Main. Her art deals with stories and aesthetics, turned towards the sphere of everyday life. For it, she uses forms of expression like performance, video, sculpture and graphics. Selected Exhibitions: TBA, Hammer Museum, 2017, Los Angeles, US (solo); Le Grand Balcon, La Biennale de Montréal, 2016, Montréal, CDN (group); Carpet for a Lord, 2016, Supportico Lopez, Berlin, DE (group); Judith Hopf, Museion, 2016, Bolzano, IT (solo); !Hear Rings!, kaufmann repetto, 2016, Milan, IT (solo); Untitled (1-4), PRAXES Center for Contemporary Art, 2014, Berlin, DE (solo); Liverpool Biennial, 2014, Liverpool, GB (group); Documenta 13, 2012, Kassel, DE (group).
Than Hussein Clark, born 1981. Lives and works in London and Hamburg. Clark is a member of the London-based collective Villa Design Group. His work explores the histories of architecture, decorative arts, and theater by bringing into question queer trajectories within Western culture. Selected Exhibitions: TBA Solo Presentation, Mathew Gallery, Miart Art Fair, 2016, Milan, IT (solo);TBA (with Villa Design Group), MIT, 2016, Cambridge Mass, US (solo); A Month In The Country, Karin Guenther, 2016, Hamburg, DE (solo); Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); Tête-a-Tête (A Dolls House), Frans Hals Museum, 2016, Haarlem, NL (solo); Condo, Carlos/Ishikawa, 2016, London, GB (group); DEBTS (Erotic Review Sinai), Futura, 2016, Prague, CZ (solo); The Violet Crab, DRAF, David Roberts Art Foundation, 2015, London, GB (solo); Little Messages For Modern Shut-Ins, Aran Cravey, 2015, Los Angeles, US (group); Blue Moon (with Villa Design Group), Mathew, 2014, Berlin, DE (solo). Daniele Milvio, born in 1988. Lives and works between Milan and Ansedonia. Daniele Milvio managed to combine creativity, constant research and innovation, within the legacy of the painting genre, making his work a leading and a true expression of Made in Italy. Selected Exhibitions: TBA, Weiss/Falk, 2016, Basel, CH (solo); Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); Mycorial Theatre, Pivo, 2016, Sao Paolo, BR (group); Granpalazzo, presented by Hester, Palazzo Rospigliosi, 2016, Zagarolo, IT (group); Cacafoco, Federico Vavassori, 2015, Milan, IT (solo); Schifanoia, Hester, 2015, New York, US (solo); Digos Boia, Hadrian, 2014, Rome, IT (solo); Heathers, Rowing, 2014, London, GB (group).
Jill Mulleady, born in 1980. Lives and works in Los Angeles. Jill Mulleady’s paintings combine figuration and abstraction. She explores themes like decadence, displacement and memory, in an attempt to create a tension between high culture and the everyday to collapse the past with the present. Selected Exhibitions: TBA, Freedman Fitzpatrick, 2017, Los Angeles, US (solo); Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); This is not a love song, Gaudel De Stampa, 2016, Paris, FR (solo); Daniel Dewar & Grégory Gicquel, Jill Mulleady, Lin May Saeed, Min Yoon Trumpets, Bianca D’Alessandro, 2016,Copenhagen, DK (group); Surrreal, Köning Galerie, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); Fear, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, 2015, Napoli, IT (solo); LA Conversation, with Michael Callies, in collaboration with Jenny’s, 2014, Los Angeles, US (solo); El Dorado, Island, 2014, Brussels, B (solo); Et dans une explosion de joie, with Raymond Legueult, Galerie Rue Visconti, 2014, Paris, FR (solo).
Ettore Spalletti, born in 1940. Lives and works in Cappelle sul Tavo. Over the course of 40 years, Ettore Spalletti has traversed some of the most significant episodes in the history of international art,developing an original idiom capable of establishing a dialogue between contemporaneity and classicism. Selected Exhibitions: Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); Ettore Spalletti: Every Dawn is First/Ogni alba è la prima, Marian Goodman Gallery, 2016, London, GB (solo); Anselmo Laib Spalletti, Galleria Lia Rumma, 2015, Milan, IT (group); Un giorno cos bianco, così bianco, MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, GAM – Galleria Civica d´Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin, MADRE – Museo d´Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, 2014, Naples, IT (solo); Ettore Spalletti – Giorgio Morandi, Galleria d´Arte Maggiore, 2014, Bologna, IT (solo); The Sea – salut d’honneur Jan Hoet, Mu.ZZE, 2014, Ostend, B (group); Ettore Spalletti, Galleria Lia Rumma, 2011, Naples, IT (solo).
Haim Steinbach, born 1944. Lives and works in New York. His work engages the concept of display as a form that foregrounds objects, raising consciousness of the play of presentation. Steinbach select and arranges objects, which range from the natural to the ordinary, the artistic to the ethnographic, thereby emphasizing their identities, inherent meanings and associations. Selected Exhibitions: Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); DLA Piper Series: Constellations, Tate Liverpool, 2016, Liverpool, GB (group); Cher(e) Ami(e)s, Centre Pompidou, 2016, Paris, FR (group); Once again the world is flat, Serpentine Gallery, 2014, London, GB (solo); Haim Steinbach and Objects from the Permanent Collection, Menil Collection, 2014, Houston, US (solo); Travel, White Cube, Mason’s Yard, 2013, London, GB (solo); Haim Steinbach -Works 1983-2006, Galleria Lia Rumma, 2007, Naples, IT (solo); Slittamenti, XLVEsposizione Internationale d’Arte, Biennale of Venice, 1993, Venice, IT (group); The Ninth Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2012, Sydney, AU (group).
Ola Vasiljeva, born in 1981. Lives and works in the Netherlands. Ola Vasiljeva works in various media, ranging from video to sculptural pieces, found and modified objects, printed matter and poetry. She often creates ambiguous, absurd, scattered installations and compositions, where the arrangement of the objects stages a choreographed dialogue between them. Selected Exhibitions: Carpet for a Lord, Supportico Lopez, 2016, Berlin, DE (group); Coeurtreregetour, Antoine Levi, 2016, Paris, FR (solo); You’ve Got Beautiful Stairs, You Know, Kunstverein Munchen, 2016, Munich, DE (solo); Kunstnerbøger – Vildt Voksende, Den Frie, 2016, Copenhagen, DK (group); En Rachâchant,
Vleeshal, 2015, Middleburg, NL (solo); XII Baltic Triennial of International Art, CAC, 2015, Vilnius, LT (group); The Limp of A Letter, Prix de Rome, de Appel,2013, Amsterdam, NL (solo); Le fragile del Baltico, Careof, Fabbrica del Vapore, 2013, Milan, IT (group).