17 June – 23 July 2011 / Private View Thursday 16 June, 6-8pm
PayneShurvell is pleased to present Energy is Eternal Delight, an exhibition by Ian Whittlesea (b.1967 UK).
This will be Ian Whittlesea’s first solo show in London since the publication of his remarkable translation/facsimile of Yves Klein’s book The Foundations of Judo (a project that involved him breaking his ankle, nose and most of his ribs whilst spending three years gaining his black belt at judo). Whittlesea’s work has consistently been concerned with the intersection of language and space, using the lives, words and works of other artists as its source. He has been described as ‘an artist of fascinatingly rigorous refinement’ and his work as ‘a paradigm of concision and single-mindedness’.
Energy is Eternal Delight contains a series of translations, supplements and reflections of existing works, alongside artefacts generated by a work-in-progress. The title of the show relates to this ongoing project and is itself a work, a quotation from William Blake that has been set in Sol Sans, a font based on Sol LeWitt’s handwritten Sentences on Conceptual Art, also used to typeset Blake’s Proverbs of Hell, drawing unexpected parallels between two artist’s writings separated by nearly 200 years.
Whittlesea’s work-in-progress is a rewriting and translocation of John Updike’s novel Couples from New England in the 1960s to contemporary London. This potential work is prefigured at PayneShurvell by the production of a new dust jacket for copies of both the American and English first editions of Couples. Like the original this new design features an image of William Blake’s watercolour Adam and Eve Sleeping.
Other works in the exhibition include a letterpress transimile of Yves Klein’s business card in an unlimited edition and two redrawn and subtly altered versions of the frontispiece to Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
Alongside these is a new work in the Studio Paintings series, a group of works begun in 1995. Curator Andrew Renton wrote of this ongoing project:
The 'Studio Paintings' of Ian Whittlesea, where the address of an artist is painstakingly inscribed onto the canvas, mark space by its absence. The painting is not descriptive of the space but sets up a parallel relation to it. It constructs a new space in the name of the old. In this way, the site of contemplation, where we look at the new work, draws space to it, and if it can be said to describe a space at all, it is in the present tense, at some remove from the space that engendered the concept.
The new painting shows the address of the great American artist and mystic Agnes Martin: 3–5 Coenties Slip, New York. It is hung alongside an Index of the paintings produced in 2002 by the Vargas Organisation, London along with a 2011 Addendum newly printed on the reverse of one of these Index prints.
Whittlesea’s work has recently been seen in London at the project spaces Occasionals and Furnished Space, while his recreation of Yves Klein’s Judo Academie de Paris has appeared briefly at Tate Modern, Cokkie Snoie Gallery, Rotterdam and The Narrows, Melbourne. He was recently included in We Are Grammar at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York and he is preparing an exhibition on Yves Klein and Judo with the Dutch artist Koen Vermeule to be shown at the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in December this year. His edition IDEAS is available from PayneShurvell.
Ian Whittlesea / Energy is Eternal Delight / 17 June – 23 July 2011 (Private View Thursday 16 June 6-8pm) / 16 Hewett Street, London UK EC2A 3NN / Tel: +44 (0) 20 0011 4115 / Open: Wednesday-Saturday 11am–6pm and by appointment / www.payneshurvell.com
For further information and/or images, please contact Joanne Shurvell firstname.lastname@example.org / Mobile: +44 (0) 7977 996568