Liam Gillick
Fact Structures
Amount Structures
Language Structures

15 MAR until 13 APR 2024

 Exhibition view:

Liam Gillick, Fact Structures Amount Structures Language Structures, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2024

Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Exhibition view:

Liam Gillick, Fact Structures Amount Structures Language Structures, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2024

Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Esther Schipper is pleased to present Fact Structures Amount Structures Language Structures, Liam Gillick’s tenth solo exhibition with the gallery.

Liam Gillick’s new works draw on the artist’s long-standing interest in how ideologies find form. Seeking new ways to represent complex interrelations—material and human—his work involves installation, sculptural work, films, graphics, and texts. All these different approaches are an integral part of a coherent project. A central aspect of his work has been the representation of production as it concerns changing processes of manufacturing, construction, and communication in a period of radical upheaval and displacement.

Recent bodies of works have functioned as abstractions derived from the functional organs of a building. Resembling heat sinks or vents they have suggested the building as a body and an abstraction that draws inspiration from server farms, hard drives and circuits. Gillick’s use of mathematical equations pursued a similar search for an abstracted language, their economy and beauty suggesting a parallel visual language that exists as pure conceptual potential.

In the course of recent large-scale institutional projects, in particular Filtered Time at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin in 2023, Gillick has developed a new underlying narrative in response to his continued engagement with the history of standardized graphical systems.

The new body of work draws conceptually on the work of Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz who in the 1920s developed a system to simply represent complex statistical information, known as the Vienna Method or, beginning in 1935, as ISOTYPE (International System of Typographic Picture Education). A philosopher and sociologist, Neurath recognized in cinema and advertising a visual mode of communication that could be adopted to convey information. With the development of a quantitative system using pictograms, Neurath sought to make specialized knowledge legible to non-specialized mass audiences. The graphics for these early modern pictograms were created by German artist Gerd Arntz. An instrument of education, the visual language was intended to reduce the role of convention, custom and schooling in the reception of knowledge and with its comparative signs also stimulate both intellect and imagination.

Exhibition view:

Liam Gillick, Fact Structures Amount Structures Language Structures, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2024

Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

With this exhibition, Gillick proposes a new model for representing the processes of advance production. The abstract forms in this exhibition represent a more elusive visual language that might represent new advanced forms of production today. This exhibition introduces three unresolved artistic elements that operate alongside each other, in a series of contradictory parallels. Color has always pervaded Gillick‘s work where it is present as a theoretical subject. He deploys the history of color theory, for practical applications, and makes use of its sheer impact, and phenomenological effects. Resolute color choices for individual works and their elements act as a reminder of the artist‘s broad understanding of its transformative power. The works address the gap between what is desired, what is produced and how it is described.

Three distinct types of wall-mounted works attempt to find abstraction in the material structures of advanced production. The wall works are constructed from lightweight aluminium t-slot extrusions that are commonly used for the construction of laboratory rigs, CNC machines, and advanced production lines. These extrusions create self-contained systems evocative of the mute, smooth flows of advanced production in stasis.

Each work is accompanied by a unique book jacket design featuring a new abstract neo-Isotype by Gillick on the cover. While the wall structures are clean, stark and direct – what they point to—represented by the paired potential book—is interwoven and elusive. The neo-isotype marks are a visual language consciously derived from the legacy of attempts in 1920s Europe, to rationalize understanding of production, consumption and social development. Yet in this case they are entirely abstract and elusive in terms of precise representation, developing forms of contemporary abstraction as modes of production and consumption continue to evolve and mutate.

Liam Gillick was born in 1964 in Aylesbury, England. He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London. He lives and works in New York.

A selection of Liam Gillick’s critical writing appeared as Proxemics: Selected Writings (1988–2006) in 2007 and his artistic writing as Allbooks in 2009. In 2016, Columbia University published Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820, an analysis of the origins of contemporary art.

In 2009, Gillick represented Germany at the 53rd Venice Biennale. He participated in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and in documenta X in Kassel (1997). Gillick was the artistic director of the 2016 Okayama Art Summit, entitled Development. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include: Filtered Time, Pergamonmuseum, Berlin (2023); The Work Life Effect, Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju (2021); Stinking Dawn (with Gelatin), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2019); Standing on Top of a Building: Films 2008-2019, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples (2019); Folded Extracted Personified, Qatar MIA Park, Doha (2019). Gillick’s work is held in the collections of Arts Council Collection, London; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC); Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Lenbachhaus Museum, Munich; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London.

Thomias Radin
Hidden in Plain Sight 

15 MAR until 13 APR 2024

 Exhibition view:

Thomias Radin, Hidden in Plain Sight, 

Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2024
Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

 Exhibition view:

Thomias Radin, Hidden in Plain Sight, 

Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2024
Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Esther Schipper is pleased to announce Hidden in Plain Sight, a presentation by Thomias Radin. The artist has conceived of a site-specific environment to present two sculptures and three paintings in hand-carved artist frames. 

Regardless of the medium, Radin’s practice is centered in an embodied knowledge formed by his background in dance as well as by growing up between the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe and France. For Radin, the Black subjects of his paintings, sculptures, performances, and films are carriers of memory and movement. Movement that tells a story of deep spirituality, inherited, linked to ancient knowledge, yet still evolving and alive. The emphasis on movement goes hand in hand with one on the fluidity of meaning and the presence of the intangible throughout Radin’s practice. 

Hidden in Plain Sight is an environment in which to experience form viscerally as well as to think about the wider significance and deeper connotations of the works. Profoundly influenced by his birth place, Guadeloupe, and his boyhood in France, Radin‘s art incorporates hand-carved woodwork alongside visual references such as marble and angels that reflect his engagement with European visual heritage and his interest in ancient Egyptian and Greek, as well as Christian mythologies. US ICARUS, 2024, draws on the ancient Greek myth, for example, restaging it in a turbulent ocean—perhaps a reference to his island or to the trafficking of enslaved people between Europe, West Africa, and the Americas. The black hand reaching down to the central figure could be read as the hand of God offering succor, just as the half-bitten apple could be referencing the banishment of Adam and Eve. Incorporating ancient myths and beliefs, the works nonetheless poignantly address contemporary social and political issues: Icarus here can be understood as a symbol of today’s crises-ridden moment. Lush and intricate, Radin’s works often include such disparate and at times conflicting visual cues. 

A universalist at heart, Radin’s work finds a common thread in the power of archetypal motifs and ancient narratives that resonates across the boundaries of their sources. In music and dance for example, he can find concrete history and also an unifying force to engage his audience. Music and Dance enter formally into the painting practice with its fragmented bodies, animated lives, gestural brushstrokes, sampling, as well as through the rhythms of HipHop, Gwo Ka, and Capoeira. The syncopation of beating drums thus becomes palpable in form and execution.

Akin to an improvisational performance, Radin’s painting process draws directly on his dance practice both formally and conceptually. The paintings often appear to be executed in broad dynamic gestures, their subjects appearing as if caught in mid-movement. Generally Black, young and masculine or androgynous, they are often seen only in fragments of muscular bodies. The figures are caught in momentary energetic poses and expressions of great physical prowess. Their movements are full of history and become instruments of storytelling. To the artist, dancers are engaged in a kind of spiritual communion, in a dialogue full of vulnerability and violence in which each gesture carries with meaning.

Sculptural works, such as KA Spirit I, 2023, are hand-carved from wood, decorated with figures and staining, and sometimes embellished with appliqués. The wooden structure combines shapes of drums commonly used in Guadeloupe (Ka) and in Cuba Cajon). Bespeaking the artist’s continuation of the tradition of woodwork practiced in his family over generations, both the carving and the playing of drums have a wider significance in the cultures of Guadeloupe, where they have deep-rooted political associations: the characteristic music of Gwo Ka was an act of remembrance and resistance for the enslaved population. The titles of the sculptures are derived from the ancient Egyptian concept of „ka“, a principal aspect of the soul of a human or divine being. In ancient Egypt, ka statues were believed to have acted as surrogates for the deceased, housing their spirit and providing a vessel to which their descendants could make offerings. Radin‘s work thus draws on the transformative power of movement for both body and spirit. 

Thomias Radin will have a solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Göttingen this summer.

Thomias Radin was born in 1993 in Abymes, Guadeloupe. He received his BFA and MFA from the University of Rennes 2 in 2015 and 2018. The artist lives and works in Berlin.

Radin’s solo exhibitions include POLYCHROME – The Myth of Karukera & Cibuqueira, Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2023); Kimbé Rèd Pa Moli, Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2022); The Myth of Inner Landscapes, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2019).

Amongst his group exhibitions are Poly: A Fluid Show, KINDL- Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2023 – 24); Embodied Spaces: The Body as Architecture, Strada Gallery, New York (2023); Les Enchantées, Frontview, Berlin (2023); The Garden, The Curators Room, Amsterdam (2023); Trangressive: Nonkonforme Zugänge zu Kunst and Stadt, Kühlhaus Berlin, Berlin (2022); Non Playable character, The Fairest, 59th Venice biennale, Venice (2022); Home Alone, ATM Gallery, New York (2020); Berlin-Lagos Mobility and Heritage, Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2018).

Selected performances include The Myth of a Trinity II, KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2023); Oversea Riddim, Deutsche Oper, Berlin (2023); What a Time to Be Alive, The Curators Room, Amsterdam (2022); Gospel of Wealth: Monumental shadow, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2021); The Myth of a Trinity, Oyoun, Berlin (2020); The Myth of a Trinity, Temps fort, Saint Domineuc (2019); The Myth of a Trinity, Performing Arts Festival, K77 Studio, Berlin (2018).