Haus der Kunst
With this comprehensive show, Haus der Kunst launches a series of exhibitions dedicated to female voices in the building's prestigious East Wing. The largest retrospective of Phyllida Barlow's career to date, the show includes nearly 100 works, comprising monumental sculptures from exhibitions of the past two decades alongside a rich selection of drawings.
For the exhibition at Haus der Kunst, Barlow has created "Shedmesh, 2020", a new version of "Shedmesh" from 1975, which no longer exists. Other large format sculptures, such as "untitled: towerholder; 2020" (700 x 180 x 200 cm) and "untitled: catchers; 2020" (600 x 300 x 300 cm per "catcher"), were also created especially for the exhibition. Some works, including "untitled: parasols" (2007), have been reworked, while others (e.g. "untitled: stockade2015") have been adapted to the museum space: for example, "untitled: blocksonstilts; 2018-2019" now consists of five blocks instead of three.
Barlow (born 1944 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) is known for her imposing yet seemingly unstable installations made of brightly painted industrial and low-grade materials. These works playfully test the limits of mass, height, and volume.
Through her work, Phyllida Barlow emphasizes the experience of different media and material processes rather than openly metaphorical or biographical readings. The materials she employs include remnants and recyclable waste, like that found on the periphery of day-to-day life (e.g. bitumen, concrete, glass, steel wire, paper, cloth, polyurethane foam, latex, polyethylene, foam, and industrial adhesive). Materials traditionally associated with the visual arts, such as wood, stone and canvas, are only used as props or supports in Barlow's work.
Encounters with each of the works have a spatial, temporal, and imaginary dimension. The time it takes to walk around Barlow's sculptures is paired with the sense of past and future colliding, owing to the fact that some of Barlow's sculptures are made out of material from earlier works. Consequently, every existing sculpture has the potential to be recycled in a future work. This process of production, destruction, and reconstruction mirrors the natural rhythms of creation, growth, and decay that we experience in our own world. It also raises the question of whether, perhaps. the task of contemporary sculptors is to create a particular experience rather than further burden a world that is already overloaded with objects" (Damian Lentini, curator of the exhibition).
Curated by Damian Lentini. Curatorial assistance: Lisa Paland
Funded by the Henry Moore Foundation & Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne