Magali Reus’ installation presents a form of dirty realism, with sculptures deriving from motifs of compartmentalised privacy often experienced in bathrooms and kitchens. Evoking activities of filling and emptying, stuffing and purging, Reus’ sculptures allude to fridges, toilet seats and cooking pots. Although her most frequented aesthetic is clean, bold and precise, it has been inverted and revitalized through the more amoral vices and excesses of consumerism.
Surfaces reserved for functional encounters are here perverted, patterned with stains, soaked with caricature rotten puddles and comically violated by domestic hangover objects made of steel, rubber and foam. Containing burnt pizzas, rusted cutlery and plastic placemats, the sculptures appear as mournful yet sheltering volumes. As temporary zones of exchange or activity, the fridges and pans could be described as “cheapskate architecture.” Their filthy interiors and sexualised handle protrusions contrast with their bizarrely opulent claddings. The piled and open-ended fridge-like sculptures function as screens: closing off, opening up, forming translucencies, windows and backdrops for more narrative suggestions of social taboo and domestic escapade. What these skewed rectangles and hand-made pans aspire to, is a framing of residual moments– a bracketing, a way of quoting the real world via more hand-touched objecthood.
The smaller elements of the sculptures – hand-hammered steel pots, folded aluminium trays, laser-cut shapes approximating toilet seats – act as appendages. Fabricated from folded and riveted steel plates, the formal language of the fridges could be compared to the callousness of Brutalist architecture, but with their organically propagating interiors, these works are also evocative of the body. From the family-freezer to the sexier mini-bar, the fridge vessels may represent competing ideas of civic monumentality and domestic self-restraint. They could be loosely bracketed as sculpture-as-receptacle in their discarded and ruinous state, their details recalling the freedoms of hedonistic lifestyles or the urban home. The pieces in Reus’ installation are preserved by a fetishist instinct, condensed and congealed. In contradiction of both the readymade and of the specifically constructed sculpture, Reus has reinterpreted degraded cast-offs as highly formal and newly significant objects.
Magali Reus, (b. 1981, Den Haag, The Netherlands), works in London. Reus will be included in the Assembly: A survey of recent artists film and video in Britain 2008-2013 at Tate Britain and has forthcoming group exhibitions at Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland; David Roberts Art Foundation, London and De Hallen, Haarlem, The Netherlands. Forthcoming solo shows for 2014 include Freymond Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, Switzerland and Circuit, Lausanne, Switzerland. Recent solo exhibitions include: Highly Liquid, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Out of Empty, Albert Baronian, Brussels, Belgium (both 2013); ON, The Approach, London, UK (2012); Background, IBID Projects, London, UK (2010) and La Salle de bains (2009), Lyon. Recent group exhibitions include: Rijksakademie Open, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam; Silent Hardware, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; Comrades of Time, Cell Project Space, London; Shadows of a Doubt, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia; SLIP, The Approach, London; Notes (on declassing), curated by Vincent Honoré, Galerie Opdahl, Stavanger, Norway; and Heavy duty, silent haze, racing hearts, Freymond Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, Switzerland (all 2013).
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