Anya Gallaccio At The Ikon Gallery In Birmingham

| 24 April 2003
Shows a detail of Two Potatoes - a bronze sculpture of a potato.

Left: Two Potatoes - The Base of Metaphysics (detail), 2002. Bronze. Photo: Rik Pinkcombe.

Archive content from the 24 Hour Museum - this exhibition is now closed.

The first survey exhibition of work by acclaimed British artist Anya Gallaccio is on at the innovative Ikon Gallery in Birmingham until May 18, 2003.

Bringing together some of Gallaccio's most admired work with a number of new sculptural projects, the show offers a unique snapshot of a celebrated career to date.

After studying at Goldsmiths College in London, Gallaccio first came to public attention when her work was shown alongside that of a group of young British artists at the notorious Freeze exhibition, curated by Damien Hirst.

Shows Stroke - dark chocolate on card panels and benches.

Right: Stroke, January 1994. Dark chocolate on card panels and benches. Courtesy Karsten Schubert, London.

Like many of her contemporaries she has gone on to achieve success in her own right, enjoying solo exhibitions in both in Britain and abroad, most notably in Glasgow, London, New York and Bern.

Concerned with the notion of permanence and the balance struck between growth and decay, Gallaccio's work has been described as 'wonderfully unreliable experiments'.

Using a wide-range of commonplace, natural and 'found' materials such as vegetables, flowers, lead and candles she attempts to reveal the everyday as remarkable.

A new version of 1993's Stroke surrounds the audience with painted walls of chocolate, while Aspire fills the gallery space with the aroma of wax from lit candles suspended from the ceiling.

Shows Aspire - candles, polycarbonate, glass and rope.

Left: Aspire, 1999. Candles, polycarbonate, glass and rope. Photo: Tadahisa Sakurai, installation Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery.

However, it is perhaps Preserve Beauty that best typifies the artist's project. With 1300 fresh gerbera stems cut at the beginning of the show and pressed to a wall behind panes of glass, the viewer is able to see the flowers progressively lose their flesh and vital red colour.

The work appears as a 3D still-life, yet it ultimately undermines the traditional art form by allowing the life and 'beauty' to visibly fade. Although the artistic concept of faded beauty is not a new one, Gallaccio deals with it in a new and innovative way, thus her apple tree cast in bronze is adorned with real apples.

In contrast to this transience, a bronze cast of a sprouting potato offers a view of growth and new life as strong, tough and lasting.

The exhibition is supported by the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and The Henry Moore Foundation.

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