Universes 4 Show Galerie Droste 66 Rue Charlot 7500 Paris, France
After the initial Big Bang edition in Imola, Italy, back in 2018, follow-up presentation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2019, and an introduction to the Asian art-loving community in Hong Kong in 2020, Wuppertal, Düsseldorf, and Paris-based Galerie Droste has decided to bring the 4th iteration of Sasha Bogojev’s Universes concept to the French capital. Coinciding with the long-awaited 2021 FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair, Universes 4 will be on view from October 16th until October 30th at a pop-up location in the fashionable Marais district in the 4th arrondissement, also known as SoMa (South Marais).
Curated by the Juxtapoz magazine’s contributing editor, writer, and curator, Sasha Bogojev, Universes 4 will bring another selection of international artists whose work revolves around depicting scenes and characters from their own distinctive universes. On top of being the biggest itineration of the series, the presentation will also introduce a selection of sculptural works, marking the expansion of the concept from the flatness of a canvas into a 3rd dimension.
Altering the common elements of our shared reality through their own unusual filters or portraying the inhabitants, settings, and scenes from their fictional worlds, Universes 4 presents the type of work that blends the imagination and technical accomplishment into an unusual and novel sensory treat. And while imagination and sheer creativity take the leading role in this exhibition, the masterful, as well as wide-ranging ways of using the paint, is certainly something that elevates the experience for the viewer. Whether it’s Ryan Travis Christian’s velvety smoothness, Bianca Fields’ raw and expressive application and manipulation technique, James Ulmer’s graphic-like precision, and structures, or Olivia Sterling’s illustrative approach to rendering comic-like vignettes, the showcase offers different layers of appreciating the displayed heterogeneity.
On other hand, a moment in the life of Hein Koh’s signature broccoli character, Dennis Scholl’s delicate renditions of fantasy-like scenes, Jake Troyli’s fun takes on self-portraiture, or Carlos Rodriguez’ joyful celebration of queer life is equally otherwordly as they are evocative of earthly pleasures, struggles, and experiences.
Comprising exclusively bust-form pieces, the second part of the show is somewhat of an identity parade comprising bust statues of the most peculiar oddities. Built from a variety of materials, from clay or resin, over ceramic or wood, to wool and ready-made objects, this selection of works literally and figuratively adds a new dimension to the eclectic Universes series. The likes of toy-like doofus and his little clones visiting from Jeremyville, Koji Kasatani’s homo bananas, Kiko Miyares’ embodiments of automotive pandemonium, Bas de Wit’s deflated and fallen historic icons, or Salmah Khosroo’s striking woolen effigies, are all serving as tangible metaphors for the relentless expansion of the universe as well as the Universes show concept.
Presented in a 100m square space in the center of one of the world’s leading cultural capitals and during one of the most important weeks for the local and regional culture, Universes 4 continues its mission of presenting and supporting the bold steps beyond the figurative frontier.
Participating artists: Dennis Scholl Asif Hoque Drew Dodge Hein Koh Ryan Travis Christian Wardell McNeal Bridget Mullen Makito Takagi Lily Wong Bianca Fields Roby Dwi Antono James Ulmer Carlos Rodriguez Felix Treadwell Tomohiro Takahashi Jake Troyli Olivia Sterling Brittney Leeanne Williams Arjen Chia-Chun Chung Ivana de Vivanco Daan Gielis Jason Boyd Kinsella Jeremy Ville Bas de Wit Koji Kasatani Kiko Miyares Trent Whitehead Salman Khoshroo Miguel Angel Payano Jr Mira Makai Ákos Ezer