Lullin + Ferrari

Isabel Nolan – Mamiko Otsubo – Bill Woodrow

06 Nov 2010 - 29 Jan 2011

© Bill Woodrow
Tunnel, 2010
Laminated MDF, steel,
lead, gold leaf, unique
49 x 103 x 211 cm
(19-1/4 x 40-1/2 x 83 in.)
Forms of Reason
6 November, 2010 – 29 January, 2011

The group exhibition Forms of Reason features the work of Bill Woodrow and two young female artists, Isabel Nolan and Mamiko Otsubo. Bill Woodrow’s work was shown in Lullin + Ferrari’s inaugural exhibition in May 2008, however, Forms of Reason will mark a gallery premier for Isabel Nolan and Mamiko Otsubo. The three artists are from different generations and different cultural backgrounds, but they share a practice where sculpture is dominant, and often use similar formal devices in their artistic production; all three sometimes place works on paper or mylar, and paintings close to their three-dimensional works.
Bill Woodrow (born 1948 near Henley in Oxfordshire, England, works in London) has created a new work for this exhibition; a magical sculpture called Tunnel. The sculpture consists of rusted iron chains to which small, but heavy, lead-cast books with gilt edges are attached. The chains flow out of a dark tunnel housed in a yellow form leaning against the wall. This three-dimensional assemblage is complemented by a series of paintings on paper; they vary in colours and show the unadorned tunnel entrance from various angles.
Bill Woodrow‘s sculpture is both singular and very elusive, it draws the viewer through a variety of possible associations. The figure of Hercules Gallicus, the God of eloquence might cross one‘s mind; he captures his audience with chains, heading from his mouth to the ears of his listeners. On a different associative layer Bill Woodrow‘s sculpture might remind the viewer of the iconic painting Approaching a City (1946) by Edward Hopper, which emblematically shows a tunnel entrance in the outskirts.
Isabel Nolan (born 1974 in Dublin) has gained prominence with her delicate sculptures. The titles of her works often allude to a state of mind. Her objects are fiercely tentative. Uplift features a raised sculpture placed on an uncomfortably elevated pedestal. The platform of the pedestal is manufactured from black glass, which has the effect of doubling the sculpture through reflection and giving the impression that it rises out of the dark. In close vicinity to Uplift Isabel Nolan hangs the painting A Broken Man. Its cheerful colour palette seems to conflict with its fragile title; but the work and title are harmonised by the artist’s particular use of watercolours on canvas, which creates a colour gradient that resembles tears. The sculpture Gathering Points of Energy sits on a high pedestal and overlaps the other works of art. Two works on paper, The Signal and Louder and Louder as well as a photograph, succinctly called Black and White Photograph, pick up and extend the formal vocabulary of her sculptures. Titles play an important part in Isabel Nolan‘s œuvre as they give the viewer a sense of direction when interpreting her work. Through poetic titles such as Your Silent Face, a delicate pink coloured relief, the Irish artist shows herself to be indebted to the literary tradition of her homeland.
Mamiko Otsubo (born 1974 in Nishinomiya City, Japan, lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), shows sculptures based on industrially produced elements or manufactured objects. Often the sculptures suggest with minimal means a landscape, or they consist of readymade material to which the artist gives with a slight intervention an unexpected twist. Mamiko Otsubo presents two metal frameworks of the classic Butterfly Chair design. She gives the forms a new level of meaning by simply brass-plating them; the result, following the terminology of Marcel Duchamp a „Rectified Readymade“, is called Stars. This romantic title could lead to wrong conclusions: Most works by Mamiko Otsubo are untitled. The artist leaves it to the viewers to develop their own associations and ideas. The second sculpture by Mamiko Otsubo consists of three stainless steel sticks leaning against the wall. A juggling ball is affixed to one of the sticks; the artist attaches two branches whose bark has been meticulously peeled off to the two other sticks. This intervention has a double impact on the perception of the viewer: On the one hand it gives the sculpture a fragile, almost vulnerable character, and on the other hand it underlines the abstract quality of the two branches. Mamiko Otsubo‘s sculptures eradiate a cool sensuality and hold a subtle humour which is accentuated by her works on mylar polyester foil. Three new paintings complete her group of works. They reveal the artist’s preoccupation as a sculptor, even when she is painting. Mamiko Otsubo has a very special ability to create abstraction, not in the way Classical Modernism used abstraction, but by finding her own formula of abstraction.
All the sculptural works in the exhibition Forms of Reason have something in common: they are referring to a semantic field outside of the present work. The three artists realise this using very different means. In Bill Woodrow’s sculpture, materiality and the narrative are pivotal. In Isabel Nolan‘s works, the reference to feelings is crucial. The works by Mamiko Otsubo hold an abstract, minimal quality, drafting a landscape of different feelings. All works in this show provide a concentrated reflection on the exhibition title „Forms of Reason“, and allow the viewer to enter an intriguing field of overlapping associations and logic.

Isabel Nolan: born 1974 in Dublin. Lives and works in Dublin.
Education: 2005-06 Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin / 1998-2001 University College Dublin / 1991-95 National College of Art & Design, Dublin
Solo Exhibitions (selection): 2010 Gallery Side 2, Tokyo (forthcoming) / 2009 On a Perilous Margin, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin / 2008 The Paradise (29), The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin / 2007 This Time I Promise to be More Careful, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin / 2006 Here and Now, The Studio, Glasgow International, curated by Francis McKee / 2005 Everything I Said Let Me Explain, Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Group Exhibitions (selection): 2010 Forms of Reason, Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich; King Rat, Project Arts Centre, Dublin; Arrivi e Partenze Europa, Mole Vanvitelliana, Italy / 2009 Mehr als ein T-Shirt, Kunstverein Bielefeld; Fragile – Fields of Empathy, Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, France, curated by Lóránd Hegyi / 2008 Fifty Percent Solitude, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin / 2007 Like Leaves, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, curated by C. Mac Giolla Leith / 2006 If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, De Appel, Amsterdam / 2005 Ireland at Venice 2005, Venice Biennale, Italy; K3 at Centre d‘Art Contemporain, Geneva

Mamiko Otsubo: born 1974 in Nishinomiya City, Japan. Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Education: 2004 MFA, Yale University / 2002 BFA, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA / 1997 BA in Economics, University of California, San Diego
Solo Exhibitions: 2010 Masks, Curatorial Research Lab at Winkleman Gallery, NY curated by Courtney J. Martin / 2007 Cuts, Spielhaus Morrison, Berlin / 2006 Rub, Galerie Mark Müller, Zurich
Group Exhibitions (selection): 2010 Forms of Reason, Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich; Reader’s Delight, McKenzie Fine Art Inc., New York / 2009 N-1 Transitional Relationships, Museo Patino, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Offset, Hudson Franklin, New York, NY; Prose pour des Esseintes, Karma International, Zurich / 2008 Works from the Rolf Ricke Collection, Villa Merkel Bahnwärter Haus, Esslingen, Germany; Art & Entrepreneurship by Credit Suisse, Dubai, UAE and other venues / 2007 Aquarium Show, Frieze Art Fair, Camilla Løw, Mamiko Otsubo and Stefan Thater, Daniel Reich Gallery at Hotel Chelsea, New York; The Happiness of Objects, Sculpture Center, New York; You Come Home (The House is Empty but the Lights are on), Galerie Mark Müller, Zurich

Bill Woodrow: Born 1948 near Henley, Oxfordshire, UK. Lives and works in London.
Education: 1971-72 Chelsea School of Art, London; 1968-71 St. Martin‘s School of Art, London
1967-68 Winchester School of Art, Winchester
Solo Exhibitions (selection): 2009 Bill Woodrow: Selected Sculpture and Drawings, Sabine Wachters Fine Arts, Knokke, Belgium / 2008 Bill Woodrow: Oscillator, New Sculpture and Painting, Waddington Galleries, London; Bill Woodrow: Sculptures and Drawings, Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich / Bill Woodrow: Sculpture, Waddington Galleries, London / 2004 Lead Astray, shared sculptures with Richard Deacon, New Art Centre Sculpture Park and Gallery, Roche Court, Salisbury / 2001 The Beekeeper, South London Gallery, London / 2000 Regardless of History, Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London
Group exhibitions (selection): 2010 British Council Collection, Fall Out: War and Conflict, Whitechapel Gallery, London; Sculpture after 1960, Tate Britain, London; The Future Demand your Participation:
Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai / 2009 DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture, Tate Liverpool; Im Blick des Sammlers, Museum Würth, Künzelsau, Germany / 2008 Punk. No one is Innocent, Kunsthalle Vienna; British Sculptors’ Drawings: Moore toGormley, British Museum, London / 2007 Panic Attack! Art in the Punk Years, Barbican Art Gallery, London / 2005 Raised
Awareness, Tate Modern, London

Tags: Richard Deacon, Marcel Duchamp, Edward Hopper, Camilla Løw, Isabel Nolan, Mamiko Otsubo, Stefan Thater, Bill Woodrow