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Exhibition -

Gary Carsley - Gardenesque

Gary Carsley - Gardenesque

Exhibition overview:

07 Jan - 18 Feb 2012

TORCH gallery

On Saturday the 7th of January TORCH gallery Amsterdam will proudly start the new year with Gardenesque, a solo exhibition by Dutch/Australian artist Gary Carsley. After the festive opening his works will be exhibited until the 18th of February. Facebook RSVP


Carsley creates immersive installation pieces that play on feelings of comfort and security within man-made natural settings such as parks and gardens. The pieces that will be exhibited at TORCH are inspired by the 18th century Dutch tradition of the 'behangselschilderij': fully painted sections of wallpaper that offered inhabitants views into Arcadian fantasy gardens or impressions of famous idyllic vistas. Besides this starting point the works also function as an re-appropriation of Gilbert and George's The Tuileries (1974). For this piece the famous Living Sculptures decorated a Amsterdam gallery space with charcoal drawings of an English garden and furnished it as a living room. Carsley transports this piece into the 21st century by creating a fully printed living space based on a modern version of the classical Chinese garden. To accompany this exhibition a special audio tour was made using QR-codes.

The work of Gary Carsley is often presented as an IKEA-kit. He makes the observation that building your own furniture from one of these kits can be seen as a very rudimentary form of performance. By presenting his own work in a very similar manner he tries to bridge the gap between the complex discourse concerning installation- and conceptual art, and the practical reality of a living space. By using set rituals, tools and - when building a larger or more complex kit - coordinated cooperation one creates a functional object. This kind of interaction with building materials creates a bond between the object and its constructor, even if the end result does not quite match the blueprints. This can be seen as a continuation of the ideas of Fluxus; a loosely connected group of artists that wanted to further the fusion of art and daily life.

Carsley covers these IKEA-objects with adhesive prints of parks which are constructed from fragments of real parks from all over the world. He combines the appearance of the Amsterdam Vondelpark with Central Park and Chinese gardens with English landscapes. But not only the outward appearance of these parks is transferred to prints, the colours from which these images are constructed were chosen from Carsleys vast database of scanned in faux wood grain adhesive foils. This gives the piece the appearance of intarsia. The final piece relies on a triple layered construction of the image: the final image is made up from fragments of man-made nature (parks) which in turn is a collage of simulated wood grain which is made to look like the classic decorative craft of intarsia.

Carsley's wall mounted adhesive prints combine with his furniture and plastic plants into a completely constructed living-space installation. Within the original space a new space is build that is completely detached from any clear origin. In this way these pieces function in in the same way as the 'behangselschilderijen'; they offer a view into a non-existent world. This train of thought is essential to Carsley's work; knowing that the imitation of an imagined original can claim an autonomous existence. This means that decoration in itself creates a new space; a new reality build from aesthetic abstractions of the idea of an other place.

Gary Carsley (1957 Brisbane, Australia) lives and works in Sydney and Amsterdam. His works have been exhibited worldwide and are part of the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum voor  Moderne Kunst Arnhem and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. His recent work has been part of the biennials of Singapore and Shanghai. He is currently working on a portable large-scale version of Central Park for the museum of Art & Design in New York.