Becky Beasley: Sleep is when you grow
Curated by Vladimir Vidmar
Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia
28. 8. 2015 - 27. 9. 2015
for further information and exhibition documentation
The exhibition is a co-production between Škuc Gallery and the International Centre for Graphic Arts,
and the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, curated by Nicola Lees.
Sleep is when you grow
Text by curator Vladimir Vidmar
Škuc Gallery is pleased to present Sleep is when you grow, a solo show by British artist Becky Beasley.
The show takes place in the frame of the Over you, you, the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, curated by Nicola Lees.
Sleep is when you grow proposes a somnambulistic space, in which recent and older works are paired with new ones, revealing the processes of Beasley's preoccupations which circle around complex relationships between photography, objects and language. The idiom that she develops is both highly symbolic– a sort of a parallel, singular alphabet– as well as very bodily and organic. Her use of references range from literary and art historical loci to emphatically personal episodes.
Sleep is when you grow is a reflection on life– specifically that of her young son– through a symbolist metaphor of the changing seasons, which is formally condensed in a variety of media. Flora, A Life is a series of postcards with images of lush vegetation, while on the back side offering botanical biographies of the plants depicted. The scientific data on plants simultaneously acts as metaphorical self-portrait of the artist in a turbulent period of her life. One of Beasley's earlier works, a large scale photograph entitled Fig tree (Amwell Street), is translated into a book work, Days of Life. Taking fragments of the photograph and choreographing them with a prose poem about the first 9 months of her son’s life, the work builds on Beasley's interest in questions of scale and the limits of language. It is this way of animating her clean minimalist 'writing' that particularly condenses Beasley’s strategies. This is profoundly stated in many of her sculptures, such as Shelves for my parents and Brocken, which translate dimensions of her parents' bodies into minimalist wood works, contemplating the (im)possible intersections of art and life. The subtle movements of two revolving sculptures, Bearings and Given (Cock & Clam), circling congenially at a meditative pace, bind together Beasley's diverse references in a gesture not dissimilar to that of writing. That is why it is no coincidence that Beasley intervenes at the National University Library of Ljubljana, where the eclectic architectural masterpiece of Jože Plečnik serves as a backdrop to her new series of offset works. Seemingly a set of exhibition posters– albeit belatedly produced– for her last six exhibitions, yet again traversed by autobiographical text recounting her private life during the production period of each exhibition.
Undoubtedly there is an existentialist element to Beasley's work, but more prominent are her ontological inquiries. The acutely underlined question on the nature on creation, procreation and re- creation is underscored by the omnipresent allusions to finiteness. These are not memento mori, but rather life-affirming invocations of a future absence, producing a disquieting tension to the experience of her work. A tension that is close to the notion of the sublime, thrusting us to the limit of our cognition, unsettling us and luring into a new phenomenology.
The exhibition will also include the premiere of Beasley’s first video work, A man restores a damaged artwork.