‘Monuments on Paper’ is a group exhibition that brings together works re-envisioning understandings of the monumental through varied mediums on paper. Subverting traditional conceptions of monuments, the exhibition presents artists Bel Falleiros, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Scott King, Josie KO, Sahil Naik, Sam Porritt and Abigail Reynolds, whose practices have engaged critically and experimentally with the notion of art in public space from differing global contexts.
Historically, monuments and public sculptures have existed as personifications of valour, grandeur and status. Integrated into town planning to occupy a domineering position in the built environment, monuments have often manifested as figures on plinths or motifs and symbols associated with masculinity and nationhood. For example, distinguished statesmen or national heroes. Shared across cultures, these larger-than-life permanent sculptures epitomise a political desire for social aspiration and authority or historic commemoration and seek to embed dominant ideologies in public space.
The works in ‘Monuments on Paper’ probe these notions of the monumental - offering disruptive questioning, artistic experimentation, or innovative ideas. During a period of intense international debate around colonial histories and the place of monuments that commemorate them, the exhibition presents works produced over the past 10 years in different global contexts that both challenge and re-envision the possibilities for large-scale artworks in the public realm. ‘Monuments on Paper’ asks questions such as: Which ideologies do monuments traditionally uphold? Whose histories do they commemorate and whose do they deny? Which structures of power are they embedded in? What role should monuments occupy in today’s society?
Moreover, by working through speculative ideas of the monumental on paper, the artworks in this exhibition bring into fruition confrontational and seemingly impossible monuments in ways that other mediums inhibit. The works in this exhibition are testimonials and future possibilities that avoid the restrictions of policy makers and funders. They open the opportunity for interrogation and place their viewer in an ever-shifting position between subordination and empowerment.
Jamie Fitzpatrick's 'Sketch for a Broken Monument' series explores the rhetoric of monumental image-making, using humour to render domineering sculptures depicting masculinity and nationhood absurd and dumb. New large works resurface collaged elements built of images of imperial monuments screen-printed with Bronze filings then worked on with wax crayon.
Josie KO interprets the idea of monuments by creating her vision of a monumental figure. In line with her sculptures, made of papier mâché, she believes it is monumental in principle to contradict the perpetuation of the male gaze and the white washing of art history by creating a piece where a Black female artist depicts a strong Black female fully in her own terms.
Abigail Reynolds's practice also uses found materials, collaged into a fresh context. In her works ‘The Universal Now: Cleopatra’s Needle 1959 | 1954’ and ‘Pointing’ book pages showing photographs of London’s monuments and Speakers Corner are cut and folded to re-shape the viewers' shared perception of places and identities.
Scott King looks at buildings in Britain that offer key public infrastructures such as hospitals and fire stations, and asks questions about the relationship between public art and infrastructure, architecture and representation, the symbolic and the material.
Charting the nation-building project across Asia and Africa, Sahil Naik's 'Modernist Facades for New Nations' series presents repetitive leitmotifs as acrylic emulsion and archi concrete paint drawings on paper that emerged from studying buildings in cities in newly independent and Non-Aligned countries. Despite their allegiance to diverse political orientations and agendas, the buildings have striking structural similarities displaying a formulaic aesthetic that symbolised development and reflected the 'future'.
Through drawing, Bel Falleiros unveils Ghardaia, Algeria; seeking to get closer to what is under the city’s monument and constructed matter, recorded in a found postcard. The drawings propose to reconnect with what is beneath constructed layers of matter, rubble and forgetfulness. They are then rebuilt in the form of reproduced stacks of postcards in mounds on the gallery floor that can be removed by visitors one by one.
Sam Porritt's drawings use repeating motifs to signify how time buries all. From the perspective of ground level, the drawings present the pinnacles of buried ziggurats appearing as lone cubes, their original form no longer recognisable. 'Monuments' make visible the inevitable process by which human aspiration in built form ultimately leaves little trace.
Presented in VITRINE Basel — which offers a 360 degree ‘in-the-round’ viewing experience from the surrounding public square 24/7 — the show exhibits the works in a way that is both in the public realm and critically independent from it. The exhibition is accessible to both artworld and non-artworld audiences, housed within a custom designed gallery with transparent architecture, which itself has a monumental quality and occupies a central position within the surrounding public thoroughfare. This situation expands upon ideas presented in the show about independence and public, as well as the connection between art in the public sphere and its local community.
Curated by Alys Williams
Bel Falleiros (b. 1983 São Paulo, BR) lives and works in New York, US. She holds a BA from the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo, BR (2007). Falleiros has been exhibited internationally at galleries, institutions and museums including: Interaction Gallery, Berlin, GER; Paço das Artes, São Paulo, BR; Projeto Fidalga, São Paulo, BR; Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin, GER; Caixa Cultural São Paulo, BR; Kalpany Gallery, Milano, IT; Emma Thomas, São Paulo, BR; Musashino Art University, Tokyo, JP; CAC, Cincinnati, US; Burnside Farm, Detroit, US; Governors Island, New York, US; Spring Break Art Fair, New York, US; LFDC Foundation, Switzerland, CH; Mexic-Art Museum, Austin, US; Marília Razuk Gallery, São Paulo, BR; The Clemente, New York, US; Coffey Studios, New York, US. Residencies include: National Park Arts Foundation Grant, New Mexico, US (2016); Burnside Farm residency, Detroit, US; Equal Justice Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico, US (2018); AnnexB residency, New York, US (2018); Massapê Projetos Resident, São Paulo, BR (2019); Socrates Sculpture Park Artist Fellowship, New York, US (2020).
Jamie Fitzpatrick (b.1985, Southport, UK) lives and works in London. He graduated in 2015 with an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, having gained a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practice in 2009 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee. Awards include: Vordemberge-Gildewart Award (2016), shortlist; XL Catlin Art Prize (2016); UK/RAINE Saatchi Gallery Sculpture Prize (2015); New Contemporaries (2015 and 2016); Cowley Manor (2015), shortlist; LAND Securities Award (2015). He has been exhibited internationally at galleries, institutions and art fairs including: Contemporary Forward at Touchstones Rochdale Museum, Rochdale, UK; Exeter Phoenix, UK; ICA, London, UK; Camden Arts Centre, London, UK; Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Sheffield Museum, Sheffield, UK; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, UK; Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK; Backlit, Nottingham, UK; Pangaea Sculptor’s Centre, London, UK; Cowley Manor Sculpture Garden, Cheltenham, UK; Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, UK; VITRINE London, UK and Basel, CH; Deborah Bowman, Brussels, BE; Litóst gallery in Prague, CZ; PADA Barreiro, PT; Cassina Projects with ARTUNER, New York, US; ARTISSIMA, Turin, IT; and POPPOSITIONS, Brussels, BE; ASC Gallery, London, UK; Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer, UK. Residencies include: Eastside International Los Angeles Residency (US, 2017), Biruchiy contemporary art project with the British Council (Ukraine, 2016); Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre, London (2015); The Leatherseller’s Company (2014); Telfer Gallery, Glasgow (2012); John Kinross Scholarship, Florence, Italy (2010); Cite International des Arts, Paris Residency (2014); and Scottish Sculpture Workshop (2009).
Scott King (b. 1969, Goole, UK) lives and works in London. King holds a BA in Graphic Design from Hull College of Art, UK (1992). He has been awarded the D&AD Nomination for Sleazenation 'Absolut Sell Out' cover (2002); the Total Publishing Awards for 'Best Designed Cover Of The Year for 'Cher Guevara' by Sleazenation and 'Best Designed Feature Of The Year' for 'Stepford Lives' by Sleazenation (2001); and the D&AD Nomination for i-D '15th Anniversary Issue' (1996). King has been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries, institutions and festivals including: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, DE; Studio Voltaire, London, UK; Herald St, London, UK; Bortolami, New York, US; Merchant City Festival, Glasgow, UK; Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, DE; Zabriskie Point, Geneva, CH; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, US; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK; Kunstverein München, Munich, DE; European Championships of Graphic Design, Museum of Graphic Design, Breda, NL; Artist's project, Pisa, IT; Sonio Rosso, Turin, IT; Supportico Lopez, Naples, IT; Magnani, London, UK; Forde, Geneva, CH; La Condition Publique, Roubaix, FR; Goldsmiths, CCA, London, UK; Centre Pompidou, Brussels, Belgium, BE; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NL; Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Somerset House, London, UK; MAXXI, Rome, IT; MOSTYN, Llandudno, UK; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR; Beaufort Triennial, BE; Barbican Centre, London, UK; State of Concept, Athens, GR; The Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow, UK; S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK; Club Midnight, Berlin, DE; Venus Over Manhattan, New York, US; Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, AT; Spike Island, Bristol, UK; Focal Point, Southend-on-Sea, UK; 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, US; Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, RU; Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, US; Kunstverein Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, DE; 2nd Moscow Biennale, Moscow Museum of Art, Moscow, RU; Tranzit, Bratislava, SK; Museum of Modern Art, New York, US; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Kunst-Werke, Berlin, DE; Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR; Gallery Maze, Turin, IT; Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, US; Cubitt, London, UK; Centre d'Art Contemporain, Fribourg, CH.
Josie KO lives and works in Glasgow. She graduated in 2021 with a BA in Fine Arts: Painting & Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art. Awards include: BadArt Collective Black Artist Grant (2020); Circular Arts Network Glasgow School of Art Award (2021); Craft Award, Creative Scotland. She has exhibited in galleries and projects including: GENERATORproject, Dundee, UK; Pipe Factory, Glasgow, UK; Hidden Lane, Glasgow, UK; Hidden Door Festival, Edinburgh, UK; Glue Factory, Glasgow, UK; Negative Space, Surrey, UK. Upcoming exhibitions include solo shows at Govenhill Project Space, Glasgow, UK and Changing room gallery, London, UK; and group shows at ASC Gallery, London, UK (November 2022); French Street, Glasgow (September 2022); and RSA New Contemporaries, Edinburgh, UK (March 2023).
Sahil Naik (b. 1991) lives and works in Goa, India. He holds a BFA in Sculpture from Goa College of Art and an MVA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda. He has been awarded the National Students Biennale Award, Kochi-Muziris Biennale; The Jury Prize, CIMA (2017); The Chinmoy Pramanick Memorial Award for Excellence, M.S. University of Baroda (2016); The Sir Rajnikant Panchal Best Display Award, M.S. University of Baroda; and the Uttam Pancharane Sculpture Award, Bombay Art Society. Naik has exhibited in galleries, museums and institutions including: Galleria Continua at Foundation Elpis, Milan, IT; Experimenter, Kolkata, IN; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, IN; Serendipity Arts Festival 2019, Goa, IN; Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi & Kolkata, IN; Khoj international Artists Association, New Delhi, IN; Asia House, London, UK; Aomori Contemporary Art Center, Aomori, JP; Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York, US; Delfina Foundation, London, UK; Center of International Modern Art, Kolkata Art Festival, Kolkata, IN. Upcoming exhibitions include the 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale (December 2022) and a group show at the Church of Santa Monica with the Museum of Christian Art and the India Foundation for the Arts (January 2023). Residencies include: Khoj International Workshop, Goa, IN (2017); Peers Emerging Artist Residency, Peers Share (2016).
Sam Porritt (b. 1979, London, UK) lives and works in Zürich, CH. He holds a BFA in sculpture from the Chelsea School of Art and Design (2002) and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools (2005). He was selected for the Swiss Art Awards 2017 & 2020 and his book ‘ASSEMBLY – Cast of Characters’ was published by SIDE ISSUES, Zurich, CH (2015). He has been exhibited internationally at triennials, institutions, galleries and fairs including: Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, CH; Centre Culturel Suissie Paris, FR; Nidwaldner Museum, Stans, CH; Kunsthalle Zürich, CH; Museum Bellpark, Kriens, CH; 17th Tallinn Print Triennial, Tallinn, EE; South London Gallery, London, UK; DAMA 2019, Turin, IT; Living Art Museum, Reykjavik, IS; Paradise Works, Manchester, UK; VITRINE, Basel, CH; VITRINE, London, UK; INDIANA, Vevey, CH; CAN, Neuchâtel, CH; The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Toves, Copenhagen, DK; Q. Projects, Amsterdam, NL; Foundation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris, FR; Arcade Fine Arts, London, UK; MONA, Tasmania, AUS; SALTS, Basel CH; CIRCUIT, Lausanne, CH; c.o.m.p.o.s.i.t.e, Brussels, BE; Frutta, Rome, IT; Saint-Martin Bookshop, Brussels, BE; Naming Rights, London, UK; 100 plus, Zurich, CH; MOK, Rotterdam, NL; PEER, London, UK; Anne Mosserie-Marlio Gallery, Zurich, CH; Die Diele, Zürich, CH. He has curated the exhibitions ‘What’s in a Band? Eyes, Ears, Mouth & Nose!’ at Corner College, Zurich, CH (2012) and ‘Oneself As Another’, at K3 Project Space, Zurich, CH (2011).
Abigail Reynolds (b. 1975, Stamford, UK) lives and works in Cornwall. Reynolds holds a BA in English Literature from St Catherine's College, Oxford University and an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She was awarded the BMW Art Journey prize at Art Basel (2016) and has completed a permanent major commission accompanied by a publication for Kresen Kernow, Cornish archive centre (2022). Reynolds has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums and fairs including: Kestle Barton Gallery, Cornwall, UK; British Art Show 9, UK; The Harris Museum, Preston, UK; Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK; Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen, DE; Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK; PEER UK, London, UK; Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK; Art Basel Miami Beach, US; Art Basel Hong Kong, HK.