Martin Boyce is interested in urban landscape, transforming galleries with groups of works which poetically recall conventional public areas; for example, the playground or the pedestrian subway. For this major exhibition, the artist created ‘a place out of time’. Individual works comprising sculptural forms are reminiscent nostalgically of the phone booth, the streetlamp and the recliner.
Ikon presented a series of new works made especially for this venue alongside recent pieces never before seen in the UK. Estranged from their original place and purpose, Boyce’s subjects draw on the visual language and fabrication of iconic Modernist designs to form an eerie dreamlike landscape. We are encouraged to consider alternative lives for them, away from their natural habitats. A photograph found in a book on French Modernist gardens, an image of four concrete trees created by Joël and Jan Martel for the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, has emerged as a particularly important reference for Boyce. According to the artist, they “represent a perfect collapse of architecture and nature” and are emblematic of his ongoing exploration of opposing elements within contemporary urban culture: the natural versus the constructed, the populated versus the uninhabited, and the old versus the new.
Boyce used Ikon’s interconnecting spaces to create a poignant fragmented narrative. The first room, including For 1959 Capital Avenue (While you are waiting things are changing shape) (2002), alludes to some kind of interior, real or imagined, that becomes a point of departure for our associative thoughts. We climb inside and everything else disappears (2004) provokes ideas of an event unknown. Reminiscent of an upturned sun lounger but with a yellow hose jammed into the seat, this work implies an object overlooked or no longer needed, its purpose now irrelevant in our contemplation of a dark alien world. Meanwhile low down on walls throughout the gallery space is Ventilation Grills (Our Breath and This Breeze) (2007), a series of brass filigree panels suggesting a threshold connecting the galleries to a notional outside.
An illustrated catalogue published in partnership with Frac des Pays de la Loire and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, including installation photographs from all venues and produced by JRP Ringier, is available priced £25.
To coincide with his exhibition at Ikon Martin Boyce produced 2 limited edition prints, Out Of This Sun and Into This Shadow, available to purchase as a pair or singly. Giclee print, on archival paper, each print is an edition of 10, signed and numbered, priced £200 (£400 as a pair).