Curated by Francesco Bonami, Achim Borchardt-Hume
The Whitechapel Gallery presents Viral Research, the second in a series of displays from the Collection Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Viral Research takes its title from the central work by US sculptor Charles Ray.
With an absence of colour, this display of monochrome works creates a sense of suspense and the uncanny, reminiscent of film noir. Shown for the first time in the UK, Ray’s Viral Research (1986) is a group of various shaped glass bottles arranged on a transparent table and interconnected by a system of pipes. As if in a chemist’s laboratory, the bottles each contain the same level of thick black ink, the liquid remaining in perfect equilibrium. Other highlights from the display include Cindy Sherman’s fictional Film Stills (1978-79) which present the artist in portraits inspired by female roles from cinematic history. Referencing Hollywood films, post-war European cinema and American B movies, the photographs capture their subject mid-action, creating a voyeuristic air as if taken candidly.
Questions of perception and a sense of precarious balance are key to the works on show. In wall sculpture, Untitled (Alpha & Omega) (2011), an arrangement of pots and vases defy gravity, hanging sideways on the wall, while Trisha Donnelly’s Untitled (2005) depicts a hand wearing a leather glove clutching an upturned, empty glove suspended in the air. The display presents works which engage with the artifice of image construction. Untitled (Vitrine Film #2) (2008), features a vitrine of a miniature night time landscape, the only sculptural remnant of the set for an abstract film.
The display also includes works by artists including Becky Beasley, James Casebere, Flavio Favelli, Zoe Leonard, Sherrie Levine, Eva Marisaldi, Reinhard Mucha and Rosemarie Trockel.
The presentation is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme showing rarely-seen works from public and private collections. The series of four displays will include works of art shown in the UK for the first time in many years. The Whitechapel Gallery Collections programme is supported by specialist art
insurer Hiscox. Since the 1990s Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has collected contemporary art. One of the most important private collections in Europe, it includes work from leading international artists such as Doug Aitken, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Thomas Demand, Damien Hirst, Paul McCarthy, Sarah Lucas, Paola Pivi, Anish Kapoor and Mike Kelley.
The displays are shown in the dedicated Collections Gallery. Following Viral Research, two further displays will explore other key themes in the Collection, A Love Meal from 19 March– 9 June 2013 and Have you seen me before? from 18 June – 8 September 2013.
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