For her South London Gallery exhibition, British artist Alice Channer has created an installation of entirely new works which extend her exploration of the relationship between the human body, personal adornment, materials and sculpture. In these figurative works, Channer questions established hierarchies within the history of art, objects and clothing, and offers a unique perspective on manufacturing, the hand-made and consumer culture.
Out of Body brings together a group of sculptural works which the artist defines as being figurative, but from which recognisable representation of the human form is as noticeable by its absence as by its presence. It is the tension born of that relationship which weaves a binding thread between pieces made in a broad range of materials, using a variety of techniques and on radically differing scales.
Entering the main gallery the viewer is confronted by Cold Metal Body, a radically stretched and distorted digital print of stone-carved classical drapery, suspended from the impressive height of the space and held to the floor by a marble surrogate limb. The bodily references are direct if not immediately obvious in this work, but less so is the distinction between what is human and what is not. Two other pieces, entitled Lungs and Eyes, span the space in a different way, each one occupying opposite walls, 20 metres in length, in a sequence of aluminium frames which take their forms from Yves Saint Laurent’s drawings for his famous ‘Le Smoking’ suits. Establishing a dialogue between the industrially-produced metal armatures and the artist’s body, every frame has been hand-covered in machine-sewn Spandex sleeves, which have been digitally printed with an ink impression of Channer’s arm, stretched beyond recognition.
Adding to this complex web of relationships between various methods of production and references to the human body, floor-based sculptures entitled Amphibians and Reptiles combine machined, hand-carved and polished marble with aluminium casts of stretch-fit Topshop clothing and mirror polished stainless steel which has been digitally cut and industrially rolled along hand-drawn lines.
In talking about the show, Channer says:
“I am not trying to oppose or find alternatives to the things that separate us from ourselves – the machine, the industrial, the virtual, the commercial. Instead, I am seduced by these things and am becoming part of them through the work. The work is me, breathing, feeling and thinking with, through and as part of the processes and materials that make up the industrial and post-industrial late-capitalist world that I live in and that constitute my work.”
Channer graduated from London's Goldsmiths College in 2006, and the Royal College of Art in 2008, and has since shown in numerous group shows as well as at The Approach, London.
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of the artist’s first monograph.
The exhibition is supported by Vicky Hughes and John Smith, The Henry Moore Foundation and The Elephant Trust. With additional thanks to The Approach.
When Sculptures Walk
Wed 21 Mar, 7pm, £5/£3 conc
A selection of films chosen by Alice Channer including a film on Alina Szapocznikow, Slad (Trace) by Helena Wlodarczyk, 1976; Ken Russell’s Pop Goes the Easel, 1962; and Geoffrey Haydon’s documentary, Ed Ruscha, 1981.
Alice Channer in Conversation with Gilda Williams
Wed 25 Apr, 7pm, £5/£3 conc
Alice Channer discusses her exhibition within the context of her wider practice with art critic and writer Gilda Williams.
Hard Metal Body: Art on the Underground Commission
From 29 March 2012
Alice Channer has been commissioned by Art on the Underground to make Hard Metal Body, a new artwork for Notting Hill Gate Tube station as part of the Central line series.
Notes to Editors
The South London Gallery has an international reputation for its programme of contemporary art exhibitions and live art events, with integrated education projects for children, young people and adults. Exhibitions profile the work of established international figures such as Alfredo Jaar, Gabriel Kuri, Rivane Neuenschwander, Tatiana Trouvé and Superflex; as well as that by younger and mid-career British artists such as Ryan Gander, Eva Rothschild and George Shaw. Group shows bring together works by established and lesser known British and international artists. The gallery’s live art and film programme has included presentations by Charles Atlas, Rachel Gomme, Nathaniel Mellors, Gail Pickering and Gisele Vienne.
Alice Channer was born in Oxford in 1977 and lives and works in London. She graduated in 2008 with an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London, following a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London, in 2006.
Her recent solo exhibitions include Body-Conscious, The Approach, London, 2011; Other-Directed, BolteLang, Zurich, Switzerland, 2011; and Inhale, Exhale, Charles Rennie Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, as part of the Glasgow International, Scotland, 2010. Channer has also shown in numerous group exhibitions including V22 Young London, V22 Workspace, London, 2011; Alice Channer, Jamie Isenstein, J. Parker Valentine, Lisa Cooley, New York, 2011; The Hole, London, 2011; Everynight, I go to sleep, Stuart Shave/Moden Art, London, 2010; Alice Channer, Dagmar Heppner, Alicja Kwade, Maria Zahle, Bolte Lang, Zurich, Switzerland, 2010; Unto This Last, Raven Row, London, 2010; Boule to Braid, Lisson Gallery, London, curated by Richard Wentworth, 2009; Quiet Revolution, Hayward Gallery touring show, curated by Chris Fite-Wassilak, 2009-2010; Strange Solution, Art Now, Tate Britain, London, 2008; Dogtooth and Tesselate, The Approach, London, 2008; Associates, Phillips De Pury, New York, 2008; M25 Around London (curated by Barry Schwabsky), CCA Andratx, Mallorca, 2008; Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, World Class Boxing, Miami, 2008; Took My Hands Off Your Eyes Too Soon (curated by Ryan Gander), Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, 2007.