Alex Harley at Victoria Miro in November
Opening on 16 November 2016, Alex Hartley’s exhibition As You Left at Victoria Miiro, London will feature a new series of wall-based works in which photography and painted elements combine to depict iconic modernist buildings in a variety of natural settings, suggesting narratives alluding to entropy and decay.
His architectural intervention (pictured) A Gentle Collapsing II transforms the gallery’s waterside garden into a scene of poetic dereliction and decay and is built on the canal bank and into the water itself with the assistance of specialist teams of fabricators and scenic artists. The home, vacated without explanation, stands in stark contrast to images of domestic architecture and attendant aspirational lifestyles from the period. Instead, created especially for the garden, with its tree ferns suggestive of an ancient subtropical or temperate landscape, A Gentle Collapsing II looks to have undergone an accelerated process of ageing. It is as if we have been teleported into the future in order to look back at the present or very recent past.
"A further collapsing occurs between genres. Hartley’s work always encourages us to consider how we experience and think about our constructed surroundings – through surface and line, scale and materials, locations and contexts. A Gentle Collapsing II breaks down rigid categories of production, referring as much to painting as to architecture, landscape design, sculpture or even theatre. It is, on one level, static, scenic, resolutely artificial. Yet during its installation it will evolve as the seasons change. The patina of age, applied with paintbrush and roller, will be further acted upon by the elements in unforeseen ways. And just as nature will impress upon the structure with its own narrative, the work’s very incompleteness allows the imagination to roam freely, to envision what might have been and what might be to come." Victoria Miro Gallery
A Gentle Collapsing II is the second in an ongoing series of outdoor pavilions by Hartley and follows the recent completion of a private commission in Kentucky, loosely based on Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22. Additionally, in spring 2017, Hartley, working alongside British artist Tom James, will commence a major public commission in the historic grounds of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Warwickshire.