07/04/2006 - 06/05/2006
Location: 52-54 Bell Street
Lisson Gallery announces a solo exhibition of new work by Ceal Floyer previewing Thursday 6th April from 6 - 8 pm. The work of Ceal Floyer is nothing if not succinct - sometimes it can be pretty hard to spot: the image of a light switch, for instance, projected on to the wall of a gallery precisely where you would expect a light switch to be. But if her work can seem minimalist, she might just as easily make something large. Floyer's work, in a way, distils the "eureka!" moment. It captures the crux point between expectation and fact. It exposes the flip-side of life, it plays with the absurd. It has a quicksilver conceptual wit. "There's a fine line between making sense of the world and making nonsense of it," she says." Rachel Campbell-Johnston, South Bank Show Breakthrough Award, Sunday Times, 6 January 2006 In this exhibition Ceal Floyer presents a poetic, quietly humorous, rigorously minimalist body of work incorporating sound work, a light projection, photographs and incorporated readymade objects. 'Genuine Reduction', 2005 is an assisted readymade sign typically seen advertising a sale or price reduction in shops. The large street-facing gallery window acts as a "shop front". By removing the 's' at the end of the word 'reductions' making it a literal reduction, Floyer creates a play on meaning and action, as well as words.
'Double Act' 2005 is a 'play in two parts' suggesting a stage set whereby Floyer uses a theatre spotlight to project the image of a red theatre curtain onto the gallery wall. While the work plays with theatricality, it is in fact quite structural - a simple physics trick of light projected onto a right angle, forcing the light into two focal planes; one on the wall and one on the floor. It is a slide projection mimicking the function of a theatre spot. While the projection appears to be a spotlight shone on a curtain, it is actually a beam of light projecting the image of the curtain. The work becomes a binary visual gesture where everything revolves around the idea of two parts, from the title to the elements and media to the distortion of the light itself.
'Reversed' 2005 is a colour print of a simple black and white plastic 'reserved' sign, the kind used on tables in restaurants. Floyer flips the image so that it reads back to front. The title of the work then becomes integral as the eye is momentarily thrown by its perception of the conflict of the language, the image and its title. Again, there is that 'eureka moment' when the eye and brain at last conspire to understand. 'Drain' 2005, is a happy marriage between hardware and sound, the aural and visual. In this work Floyer places a simple round speaker component on the floor along with its flex and essential leads. Sporadically the speaker emits the sampled (store-bought) sound of water being sucked down a drain. Although the small, round, black speaker suggests a plug, the work is nonetheless allusive rather than illusive as it refers to what is not there rather than what is. Ceal Floyer lives and works in Berlin and London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Portikus, Frankfurt; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Forthcoming solo exhibitions include: Powerplant, Toronto and Swiss Institute, New York.
"I want the manifestation of my ideas to be life-sized, not only regarding their scale, but also in terms of their relevance to their situation or medium. Then they're more like the ideas behind something. Art is just a manifestation, a Trojan Horse, for ideas." Ceal Floyer's clarity of thought and the elegantly concise presentation of her ideas resonate through all areas of her practice. The deceptive simplicity of the work is informed by Floyer's particular sense of humour and an almost Beckettian awareness of the absurd; her use of double-takes and shifting points of view forces the viewer to renegotiate his perception of the world. Floyer's work examines a dialectical tension between the literal and the mundane, and an imaginative construction of meaning. Helix, 2001 consists of a circles template filled with everyday objects selected precisely because they are exactly the same size as the circles. In Warning Birds, 2002 Floyer uses mass-produced adhesive 'warning birds'; simple bird shaped silhouettes used to deter birds from plate-glass windows. Rather than using a single sticker she covers the whole window, obscuring the original form and function of both the window and the warning bird.
Through its multiplication, this simple almost elegant image is brought to the verge of hysteria. In the sound piece Goldberg Variation, 2002 the title is used as a framing device, determining the identity and meaning of the work. 'The Goldberg Variations' was originally composed by Bach as a Baroque keyboard exercise in musical structure and reasoning. It subsequently became a standard in classical keyboard repertoire, consisting of 30 variations of a single aria. Floyer takes the initial prototype aria as her starting point, simultaneously presenting all the different piano recordings and interpretations of it that she could find commercially. The condensation of the individual versions into one composite playfully acknowledges and articulates the conceptual themes of the original. The video work H20 Diptych, 2002 consists of two monitors, one showing a pan of water slowly reaching boiling point whilst on the other a glass of fizzy mineral water gradually goes flat. Both processes are almost imperceptible, as the water inexorably moves towards equilibrium. For Ceal Floyer, language itself is utilised as a material, intangible yet integral to the work of art.
Ink on Paper, 2002 acts as both the title of the work and a description of the medium. The circles of colour that are produced by the draining of felt tip pens onto sheets of blotting paper are both visually beautiful and conceptually pure. Since graduating from Goldsmiths' College in 1994, Floyer has exhibited extensively around the world. Previous solo exhibitions include: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; CCA, Berkeley, California; Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee; Kunsthalle Bern; and City Racing, London. Ceal Floyer was awarded the prestigious Philip Morris Scholarship at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin in 1997.