This exhibition takes place over the two rooms of the viewing space, hidden away in an 18th-century townhouse in Lexington Street, Soho. In the first room visitors will find five photographs from Pierre Molinier’s (1900–76) celebrated series Cent photographies érotiques, the carefully staged self-portraits of the artist in fetish ensembles, often posed with doll parts and S&M paraphernalia. The artist’s face is frequently overlaid with a doll’s mask, further adding to the disquieting sense of the uncanny in his work.
Cathie Pilkington’s (b. 1968) new installation The Covering completely occupies the second room, using a diverse array of fabrics, materials, mirrors, studio furniture and pieces by other makers to dress the room, literally concealing figures and objects. Here Pilkington invokes the ritual adornment of sacred artefacts, creating an ambivalent dialogue with Molinier’s work. In titling her installation The Covering, Pilkington also refers to Harold Bloom’s image of ‘the covering cherub’: an obstructing figure that blocks the artist’s attempt to create a self-contained identity by dumping before her the indispensable and problematic baggage of art history.
Also included in the installation is a rare example of American artist Morton Bartlett’s (1909–92) dolls, on loan from the David Roberts Collection, London, strategically placed and dressed in a garment made specially for the show.
Cathie Pilkington is an artist whose work engages passionately and critically with the canonical history of figurative sculpture. Crossing borders of traditional, modern and contemporary idioms, her work combines intensively modelled and painted sculptures within immersive installations comprising a diverse array of props, materials and studio furniture. Her site responsive installations are balanced ambivalently between chaos and precision and have been described as a kind of art historical fly-tipping.
Pierre Molinier was deemed ‘the magician of erotic art’ by André Breton and self-styled himself as a depraved figure without morals. His erotic play with identity and ingenious use of staging and photomontage has influenced artists such as Cindy Sherman and Robert Mapplethorpe.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring a new essay by Neil Walton.
Courtesy of Karsten Schubert London