Louise Giovanelli: Auto-da-fé at GRIMM, New York
September 10 – October 23, 2021
Louise Giovanelli’s (b. 1993 in London, UK) recent works depict the aesthetic of stage performances with various acts suspended. Giovanelli navigates different modes of picturing and approaches to painting, repositioning familiar imagery in her paintings by withholding or emphasizing details in combinations that require deep contemplation. Her paintings are as much about the subject matter they depict, as what is not shown but suggested within their borders.
Two large-scale diptychs portray sets of closed curtains on a stage, anchoring the exhibition. Theater curtains construct both space and atmosphere, simultaneously absorbing and radiating light to create moments where their material quality is intensified and abstracted. From this restricted perspective, the minutia of the stage appears to be performative itself, set at the periphery of an unnamed spectacle.
In three paintings depicting a dancer, Giovanelli paints passages from performances that are cropped and magnified to harness the inner power they convey.
The imagery Giovanelli uses for these paintings comes from American music videos and television series. Taking framed moments and duplicating them across her works, she blurs our understanding of cause and effect. Likewise, in the series Caryatid, an anonymous singer sustains an unheard note throughout three small-scale paintings. Her persona is given form through glossy lips, curved acrylic nails, and flecks of light from a disco ball shining outside the paintings.
Another large-scale diptych shows two shimmering gold blouses cropped tightly together in the frame, in such a way that the viewer can’t see who wears them, or if they are perhaps merely hanging side by side. Their fabric is reminiscent of the sparkling suits worn by game show hosts, or drapery from T.V. theater, in opposition to the dramatic heaviness of a theater curtain. The close-up perspective of these “figures” invades the viewers’ personal space and gives the work a menacing quality.
Throughout the exhibition intimately-scaled works function as faint glimmers of human presence just legible amongst the dominating abstract structures and enveloping folds of the other larger work.
About the artist
Louise Giovanelli lives and works in Manchester (UK).
She recently completed the program at the Städelschulein Frankfurtam Main (DE) with professor Amy Sillman in 2020, after having earned a Bachelor’s Degree (B.A. Hons, Fine Art) at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester (UK) in 2015. Her work will be included in a group presentation Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (UK) opening on September 9, 2021. Recent solo exhibitions include: A Priori, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); in medias res, Workplace, London (UK); Aerial Silk, GRIMM, New York, NY (US); Time Inside, Frutta Gallery, Rome (IT); Louise Giovanelli, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester (UK); Louise Giovanelli, Workplace Foundation, Gateshead (UK); A Throw to the Side, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, Warrington (UK); Slow to Respond, Touchstones Gallery, Rochdale (UK); Hold your tongue, Louise Giovanelli and Pius Fox, Transition Gallery, London (UK). She has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Reflections beyond the Surface, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); Romancing the Surface, curated by Loie Hollowell, GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL); Life Still, C.L.E.A.R.I.N.G., Brooklyn, NY (US); El oro de los tigres, Air de Paris, Romainville (FR); Touching from a Distance, curated by Workplace Foundation, The Conduit, London (UK); The Dream That Follows The Mouth, Arcade Gallery, London (UK); Tales of the haunted and the body, curated by Kuba Paris, Casa Cristea Schneider, Berlin (DE), among others. Giovanelli’s work can be found in the collections of the UK Government; AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam (NL); Sarow Gallery (DE), The University of Salford (UK); The Grundy Gallery (UK); Manchester Art Gallery (UK); Manchester School of Art (UK); the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery (UK) and a number of private collections.
Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM