• Shows
  • Jan 15, 2022

White Cube Hong Kong Presents Cerith Wyn Evans’s “. . . .)(of, a clearing”

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CERITH WYN EVANS, Folds . . . in shade (also light and shade) 7 leaves, 2020, bronze and glass, 202.2 × 509.6 × 79.1 cm. Photo by Ollie Hammick. All images copyright of and courtesy the artist and White Cube, London / Hong Kong / New York / Paris / Palm Beach.

“The plane of immanence is not a concept that is or can be thought but rather the image that thought gives itself, of what it means to think, to pause for thought, to find one’s bearing in thought.” —Cerith Wyn Evans, October 2021

Furthering the artist’s exploration of perception through the transposition of form, White Cube Hong Kong’s “. . . .)(of, a clearing” by Cerith Wyn Evans features new installation, sculpture, painting, and sound works.

For this exhibition, Evans has conceived the gallery as a vernacular temple, a space for reflection where possibilities can ensue from interstitial spaces: the shadows, vibrations, after-images, and echoes that occur between and around the artworks. Drawing on several key moments of modernism, themes of doubt and ambiguity combine with artistic strategies of reversal, disruption, and deviation, to open up new realms of experience within the imaginary.

CERITH WYN EVANS, Neon after Stella (Tomlinson Court Park), 2022, white neon, 161 × 218.6 cm. Photo by Theo Christelis. 

In the ground floor gallery, a new group of Neon after Stella (2022) neon sculptures take their point of reference from the iconic Black Paintings (1958–60) of Frank Stella. These suspended panels of graphic neon lines form semi-transparent pictorial veils, through which other works in the exhibition are both obscured and revealed. Operating in a similar manner to the artist’s previous neon text works, where poetic passages of writing are transliterated into light, here the two-dimensional abstractions of Stella are reconceived in three dimensions, in the material of commodification, urbanity, and pop art.

Evans’s interest in the Black Paintings lies not in their formal aspects but in the discourse around them and what they might represent. Hailed as a milestone in the history of the “death of painting,” Neon after Stella references Stella’s pictorial denial as a moment of liberating negation, a voiding of narrative that allows for a new conceptual space to emerge.

Installation view of CERITH WYN EVANS’s (Neon after Stella (Die Fahne Hoch!), 2022, white neon, 256 × 154.6 cm cm, at “. . . .)(of, a clearing,” White Cube Hong Kong, 2022. Photo by Ollie Hammick. 

The exhibition also draws on Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale (1947–68), another key moment within modernism’s evolution. Using Fontana’s belief in a fourth dimension within art, and his disassembly of Euclidean geometry as a springboard for the themes of the show, several works on the first floor expose the parameters of perception and how these are constructed through rational perspective.

(A)Plane (In Five) (Primed/Penetrated) (2020) is a series of sculptural panels that recreate sections of a ceiling, featuring light tracks and spotlights, but hung on the wall like paintings. Based on a photograph that the artist took of the ceiling in White Cube Bermondsey, London, during his last exhibition with the gallery, the panels reconfigure a moment from the past into a new medium and format, creating in the process an off-kilter experience whereby our coordinates of looking become complex and disorientated. The white panels are visually echoed in two large-scale, white monochrome paintings from the artist’s Indeterminate Paintings (2021) series, which play with the idea of sheer surface. Featuring lines of clear varnish poured down pre-primed white canvases, their composition results from the reflection of light alone—a painterly strategy of total image negation.

CERITH WYN EVANS, Plane (In Five) (Primed/Penetrated), 2020, oil on perforated canvas, overall 93.2 × 354 × 5 cm. Photo by Theo Christelis. 

Reflecting on controlled chances and accidents, the large-scale sculpture Folds . . . in shade (also light and shade) 7 leaves (2020) is a multi-sectioned byobu or Japanese folding screen that features framed glass panels with a delicate tracery of fine cracks, as if it might have been cracked by a particularly high-pitched sound. The screen’s form characterizes another sculpture on view; two large gongs played at regular intervals, layering the exhibition with oscillating, resonant sound.

Creating a vibrating, near-hallucinatory optical and aural experience, “. . . .)(of, a clearing” questions the authority of perception to suggest alternate paths of understanding, beyond the boundaries of communication, rationality, and vision.

Cerith Wyn Evans’s “. . . .)(of, a clearing” will be on view at White Cube Hong Kong from January 21 to March 12, 2022.

For more information, visit whitecube.com.