Anya Gallaccio

11/07/2006 - 18/09/2006

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Thomas Dane gallery

Gallaccio’s work is memorable for its use of organic materials such as chocolate, flowers and fruit in ambitious sculptural projects through which she explores the ephemerality and transience of nature. Working with these often unpredictable materials, Gallaccio, manages to harness their power creating an often, strikingly beautiful result. In producing temporal sculptures and installations, she challenges the notion that art can outlive life, instead suggesting that the residue and record of her work will survive an inevitable entropy. Often site-specific, Gallaccio’s works thereby consider not only the ephemeral nature of each work but also that of its environs.

In much of her previous work, Gallaccio has explored the process of organic transformation (melting ice, dissolving sugar, decaying flowers) in materials that posses only a very short lifespan. In contrast, the sculptures displayed in this exhibition are made from more durable material. One major work exhibited here, Untitled, (Lion Tree) extends the themes of transformation in the artist’s use of bronze, a material that is slow in its metamorphosis. The sculpture is cast from a Californian apple tree that was being removed from an orchard to be replaced by an olive. The matte finish of the bronze trunk contrasts with the decadent gloss of the apples cast in porcelain from real fruit. The surface of the tree is dotted with small holes which look at first like knots of age but are in fact made by a woodpecker found only in that part of California.. The tree has become almost regal and posses a distinctive sculptural beauty while at the same time preserving all of nature’s imperfections.

Delicate casts of branches, My my, hey hey and The needle tears a hole contrast with the Lion Tree with an almost fragile vulnerability. In Gallaccio’s use of branches here we see another recurrent theme of the sculptural quality of the tree, its sheer beauty and almost mythic stature. Already sculptural in form, Gallaccio accentuates this by its casting in bronze or covering it in Palladian silver leaf and positioning in a gallery environment.

In other works exhibited here, such as the delicate fishing nets of gold lame, hand-knotted by fisherman in the Netherlands, we witness again Gallaccio’s interest in materials, their manipulation and their context. This attention to detail and observation of craft is visible in all of Gallaccio’s projects, often resulting in a lengthy period of installation or creation. It is this tenacity though, that results in works of incredible natural beauty suffused with a sense of human emotion and history.

Anya Gallaccio was born in Scotland in 1963 and lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include One Art at the Sculpture Center, New York, (2006) Shadow of the things we know, Blum & Poe, New York (2006), The Look of Things, at Palazzo delle Papesse in Siena (2005). Gallaccio was also a nominee in the Turner Prize Exhibition, London (2003). In her work we can observe references to Duchamp and the ready-made, arte-povera, minimalism and performance amongst others.

Anya Gallaccio is represented by Thomas Dane Gallery, London, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles.