Kavi Gupta, FRIEZE London 2021

  • For Frieze London 2021, Kavi Gupta is proud to present a selection of new and historically important works by Young-Il Ahn (1934—2020); Inka Essenhigh; Beverly Fishman; Jeffrey Gibson; Deborah Kass; James Little; Manuel Mathieu; Tomokazu Matsuyama; Esmaa Mohamoud; Kour Pour; Clare Rojas; and Mary Sibande.

  • Jeffrey Gibson

  • Jeffrey Gibson combines Native American traditions with the visual languages of Modernism to explore the contemporary confluence of personal identity, culture, history, and international social narratives. Gibson is a member of the Chocktaw and Cherokee nations. He currently lives and works in Hudson, New York. Growing up, Gibson lived for long periods of time in Germany, Korea, and the United States. Wherever he lived, he found a home and friendship in the music scene, at various times exploring the traditions of the punk, rave, and PowWow scenes.

     

    These influences, along with Gibson’s multicultural perspective and deep knowledge of art history, contribute to his personal style. His work manifests across several dynamic and diverse bodies of work, in which traditional native materials like animal hides, beads, and tipi poles intermingle with modern mediums like spray paint, acrylics, ceramic, and tape.

  • Deborah Kass

    • Deborah Kass Blue Deb, 2000 Silkscreen and acrylic on canvas 40 x 40 in 101.6 x 101.6 cm
      Deborah Kass
      Blue Deb, 2000
      Silkscreen and acrylic on canvas
      40 x 40 in
      101.6 x 101.6 cm
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    • Deborah Kass Red Deb, 2000 Silkscreen and acrylic on canvas 40 x 40 in 101.6 x 101.6 cm
      Deborah Kass
      Red Deb, 2000
      Silkscreen and acrylic on canvas
      40 x 40 in
      101.6 x 101.6 cm
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  • Deborah Kass is an American artist whose work explores the intersection of pop culture, art history, and the construction of self. Kass is a fan of popular culture and a rigorous student of art history, and considers all of the existing artistic content as useful material from which to draw. She has gotten the most attention for her appropriation of Andy Warhol’s signature screenprints. Kass uses the Warhol technique to create empowering, feminist images of females from art history and popular culture.

  • Says Kass, “I use history as a readymade. I use the language of painting to talk about value and meaning. How has art history constructed power and meaning? How has it reflected the culture at large? How does art and the history of art describe power?”

    • Deborah Kass Just a Shot Away, 2015 Acrylic on canvas 96 1/2 x 72 in 245.1 x 182.9 cm Unframed
      Deborah Kass
      Just a Shot Away, 2015
      Acrylic on canvas
      96 1/2 x 72 in
      245.1 x 182.9 cm
      Unframed
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  • Manuel Mathieu

    • Manuel Mathieu Mathematic, 2021 Mixed media on canvas 72 x 68 x 2 in 182.9 x 172.7 x 5.1 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Mathematic, 2021
      Mixed media on canvas
      72 x 68 x 2 in
      182.9 x 172.7 x 5.1 cm
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  • Manuel Mathieu’s aesthetic evolution reflects his Haitian upbringing, and articulates his positionality from a multitude of realities and perspectives. Reposing on his own multiplicity, the abstractness of his work conveys the abundance in existing at the intersection of racial, geographical, and cultural identities. He presents historical paintings that rely on emotive and speculative thinking as a form of knowledge production.

    • Manuel Mathieu Oblivious, 2021 Mixed Media on canvas 30 x 24 x 2 in 76.2 x 61 x 5.1 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Oblivious, 2021
      Mixed Media on canvas
      30 x 24 x 2 in
      76.2 x 61 x 5.1 cm
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  • Mathieu abandons figurative or didactic western traditions for a more interactive mode of interpretation where the viewers are actively participating in formulating their under-standing of the work. Marrying abstract and figurative techniques, Mathieu’s compositions carve out space for us to reflect on a sense of polyphonic reality that forgoes absolute truth and draws from our collective imaginary.

    • Manuel Mathieu Black Joy, 2021 Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, and tape on canvas 44 x 20 x 2 in 111.8 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Black Joy, 2021
      Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, and tape on canvas
      44 x 20 x 2 in
      111.8 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
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    • Manuel Mathieu Curl it if you can, 2020 Watercolor, Pen, Pencil, Charcoal on paper Unframed: 11 x 11.875 in Framed: 14 x 16 in Unframed: 28 x 30 cm Framed: 38 x 41 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Curl it if you can, 2020
      Watercolor, Pen, Pencil, Charcoal on paper
      Unframed: 11 x 11.875 in
      Framed: 14 x 16 in
      Unframed: 28 x 30 cm
      Framed: 38 x 41 cm
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    • Manuel Mathieu False Horizon, 2017 Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape on canvas smaller piece 18 x 18 in, 45.72 x 45.72 cm larger piece 36 x 24 in, 91.44 x 60.96 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      False Horizon, 2017
      Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape on canvas
      smaller piece 18 x 18 in, 45.72 x 45.72 cm
      larger piece 36 x 24 in, 91.44 x 60.96 cm
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  • James Little

    • James Little Raw Power, 2020 Oil and wax on linen 72 x 72 x 1 1/2 in 182.9 x 182.9 x 3.8 cm
      James Little
      Raw Power, 2020
      Oil and wax on linen
      72 x 72 x 1 1/2 in
      182.9 x 182.9 x 3.8 cm
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  • James Little is an American abstract artist whose distinctive aesthetic language is rooted in geometric shapes and patterns, flat surfaces, and emotive color relationships. Little utilizes a method similar to the encaustic painting technique used by ancient Egyptian and Greek artists, blending handmade pigments with hot beeswax.

  • While developing his unique position within contemporary abstraction, Little has devoted decades to rigorous academic study of color theory, pictorial design, and painting techniques. His practice embodies the complementary forces of simplicity and complexity.

     

    “I’m not cutting edge,” he says. “I’m just trying to stand up next to the great paintings of the past. It’s like building a building. The things that are going to make it stand are the same as they’ve always been. You have to have a solid foundation. I approach painting the same way.”

    • James Little Small Study For Painting, 2017 Raw pigment on paper 16 x 20 in 40.6 x 50.8 cm
      James Little
      Small Study For Painting, 2017
      Raw pigment on paper
      16 x 20 in
      40.6 x 50.8 cm
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    • James Little Re-Set (study), 2017 Raw pigment on paper 16 x 20 in 40.6 x 50.8 cm
      James Little
      Re-Set (study), 2017
      Raw pigment on paper
      16 x 20 in
      40.6 x 50.8 cm
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  • Tomokazu Matsuyama

  • A first-generation Japanese American who lives and works in New York City, Tomokazu Matsuyama (b. 1976, Gifu, Japan) has developed a singular aesthetic that expresses what he refers to as “the struggle of reckoning the familiar local with the familiar global.” Matsuyama’s works feature amalgams of references, including figures borrowed from fashion magazines; clothing reminiscent of historic Japanese garments; backgrounds evocative of Shogun-era screens and panels; curved canvases that simultaneously recollect mid-century Modernist Minimalism and the far more ancient history of shaped tea platters; and elements such as a junkyard tire and a bag of potato chips that situate the images starkly in the present age, and spotlight popular culture as embodied by mass-produced commodities.

     

    The astoundingly vivid surfaces of his paintings project an almost digital brilliance, yet, upon close inspection, a delicate and meticulous, painterly reality becomes clear.

     

  • Mary Sibande

  • South African artist Mary Sibande interrogates the current intersections of race, gender, and labor in Pos-Apartheid South Africa. Her work actively rewrites her own family’s legacy of forced domestic work imposed by the then-Apartheid state. Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle for a focused critique of stereotypical depictions of women, particularly Black women in South Africa. For Sibande, the body is the site where history is contested and where Sibande’s own fantasies can play out.

     

    This counter-history takes the form of an alter-ego in Sibande’s work, a persona by the name of Sophie, who is dressed in various uniforms that allow her to occupy the narratives that were stolen from and denied to her. Transforming through a series of symbolic color periods, from Blue to Purple to Red, Sophie takes on new incarnations of herself unbound from the history of servitude and labor.

  • Esmaa Mohamoud

    • Esmaa Mohamoud Glorious Bones 17, 2018 Used football helmets, textile, adhesive 9 x 10 x 12 in 22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
      Esmaa Mohamoud
      Glorious Bones 17, 2018
      Used football helmets, textile, adhesive
      9 x 10 x 12 in
      22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
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  • African-Canadian artist Esmaa Mohamoud (b. 1992, Canada) describes her studio practice as an examination of “the monolithic versus the multitude.” Her work is a visually stunning and profound examination of the gap between contemporary culture's oversimplification and diminishment of Black people, compared to the complexity, richness, and diversity of their actual lived experiences.

     

    Mohamoud’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat, which toured the National Galleries of Canada, looks specifically at how the Black body is reduced within the vernacular of athleticism. Sculptures such as Glorious Bones critique depictions of the Black body as being disposable, while the photographic series One of the Boys examines the vulnerability of Black masculinity within the guise of professional sports.

    • Esmaa Mohamoud Glorious Bones 13, 2018 Used football helmets, textile, adhesive 9 x 10 x 12 in 22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
      Esmaa Mohamoud
      Glorious Bones 13, 2018
      Used football helmets, textile, adhesive
      9 x 10 x 12 in
      22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
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    • Esmaa Mohamoud Glorious Bones 17, 2018 Used football helmets, textile, adhesive 9 x 10 x 12 in 22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
      Esmaa Mohamoud
      Glorious Bones 17, 2018
      Used football helmets, textile, adhesive
      9 x 10 x 12 in
      22.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
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  • Beverly Fishman

  • Beverly Fishman explores technological, scientific, and biological systems of perception and representation, instigating constructive conversations about the ways people see their bodies and minds and form their identities. Her most illustrious works engage with the visual language of the medical industrial complex. Her highly polished Pill reliefs utilize pharmaceutical forms as the basis for seemingly abstract compositions that radiate with color. Fishman is interested in how humanity sees itself and allows itself to be seen; the extent to which technology alters our perception of ourselves; and the choice between altering our reality and altering our experience of it.

     

    In addition to traditional supports, such as wood, paper, blown glass and aluminum, and unconventional elements, like cast resin, mirrored Plexiglass, powder-coated metal, and phosphorescent pigments, Fishman uses mediums like chrome and urethane automotive paint that speak to the legacy of the Detroit area, where she lives and works.

  • Clare Rojas

    • Clare Rojas Love, 2013 Oil on canvas 40 1/2 x 51 x 2 in 102.9 x 129.5 x 5.1 cm
      Clare Rojas
      Love, 2013
      Oil on canvas
      40 1/2 x 51 x 2 in
      102.9 x 129.5 x 5.1 cm
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    • Clare Rojas Mystery Science, 2013 Oil on canvas 40 1/2 x 51 x 2 in 102.9 x 129.5 x 5.1 cm
      Clare Rojas
      Mystery Science, 2013
      Oil on canvas
      40 1/2 x 51 x 2 in
      102.9 x 129.5 x 5.1 cm
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  • For Clare Rojas, storytelling manifests in many different ways: sometimes visually, as a painting, drawing, or sculpture; other times musically, as a song. Yet one similarity Rojas has noticed between these various forms of expression has to do with reduction. Her songwriting pares down the essence of a story to something that can be conveyed in minutes, just as the essence of form and line in her abstract visual compositions is reduced to an examination of the tension of balance.

     

    Her visual language proliferates from a personal totemic form unrooted to figurative meaning, but evocative of the shape of a drop of water or a mountain. The form has evolved over time, from an abstract shape that Rojas instinctively drew to something concrete she began noticing in her everyday visual environment. Says Rojas, “The more I drew it, and meditated on the shape, the more I saw it everywhere I looked. I found it in the figure, in nature, in water, in land, in animals.”

    • Clare Rojas Blacky, 2013 Ink on paper 20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1 1/2 in 52.1 x 41.9 x 3.8 cm
      Clare Rojas
      Blacky, 2013
      Ink on paper
      20 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
      52.1 x 41.9 x 3.8 cm
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  • Inka Essenhigh

  • Inka Essenhigh is renowned for her dreamlike paintings, which translate her encounters with, and intuitions about, contemporary society into haunting, playful, sometimes disturbing visual scenes. Her most recent series, titled Uchronia, envisages a hypothetical, idyllic future for the inhabitants of Earth. Essenhigh is part of a generation of artists that includes Rachel Feinstein, Lisa Yuskavage and Cecily Brown, that rose to prominence in 1990s New York as leaders in the contemporary return to figuration.

     

    She employs a mix of automatism, imagination and “inner vision” to translate the visible world into arabesque enamel paintings that reveal the unseen worlds of energy, feeling and mystery that lurk just beyond everyday life.

  • Young-Il Ahn

    • Young-Il Ahn Water SQGO 19, 2019 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 x 2 in 61 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
      Young-Il Ahn
      Water SQGO 19, 2019
      Oil on canvas
      24 x 20 x 2 in
      61 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
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    • Young-Il Ahn Water SQBB 19A, 2019 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 x 2 in 61 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
      Young-Il Ahn
      Water SQBB 19A, 2019
      Oil on canvas
      24 x 20 x 2 in
      61 x 50.8 x 5.1 cm
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  • Young-Il Ahn (b. 1934 - d. 2020) developed a distinctive oeuvre defined by meticulous, abstract paintings that explore his relationship with beauty, nature, and music. Ahn’s most famous body of work, the Water series, has been associated with Dansaekhwa, an aesthetic position specific to Korea characterized by the expression of natural processes through a monochromatic palette. 

  • Ahn was born in 1934 in Gaesong, a city now located in North Korea, which was then considered part of colonial Japan. After relocating to Los Angeles in 1966, he became enamored with the famous Southern California light, especially the interplay of sunlight on surfaces. One day, on a fishing trip between Santa Monica and Catalina Island, Ahn had the harrowing experience of becoming lost in a dense fog. When the fog finally lifted, the sea around him was completely calm. The sunlight shimmered on the waves. He wrote about that moment in his autobiography, And still it flows towards me: A Life Lived with Art: “My favorite colors from nature stretched to infinity. The sunlight crashed and reflected against the water every moment, dispersing splendid and sparkling colors in layers.” The experience inspired Ahn to create his Water series, on which he worked for more than 30 years, until his death.

     

  • Kour Pour

  • British-Iranian artist Kour Pour creates meticulously composed and delicately rendered artworks which intersect diverse material and aesthetic traditions, allowing for a remapping of the standard understanding of “Eastern/Western” cultural exchange. Appropriating forms and techniques from numerous cultures and time periods, Pour’s truly global vision weaves together representational imagery, abstract patterning, and ornamental elements to create new hybrid artworks—equally ancient, classical, and contemporary—a constellation of influences from Iran, Britain, Egypt, India, and China, among others.

  • These global references are used as starting points for his paintings, in which a source image is often cropped, abstracted, or adjusted in palette to create vivid, intricate, and layered painting surfaces. Kour’s synthesis of image and process often connects different art histories in an attempt to highlight the cultural exchanges that lead to artistic innovation and disrupt the notion of singular originality.