Nairy Baghramian at Marian Goodman, New York

Press release:
Marian Goodman Gallery New York is delighted to announce our first solo exhibition in New York by Nairy Baghramian, which will open on Thursday, May 4th, and run through Saturday, June 10th.

Nairy Baghramian’s work comprises sculpture and installation often in reference to architecture and the fragmented human body. Her work addresses temporal, spatial and social relationships to language, history, and the present, with forms which materialize in response to contextual conditions or the premises of a given medium. These structures offer the possibility of an open and discursive dialogue in response to a site, or a freeing of the assigned relationship between an object and its meaning.

In this exhibition the idea that one thing might not so obviously lead to another could be a fittingly transitional place to start. A series of fragmented floor to ceiling glass pipes held together with zinc bands and dabs of chemical adhesive sealing the bond mounted on the walls recall downpipes internalised, an inverted facade. But only from a distance, like a thing laterally removed from itself, no longer able or required to function or sign in. These layered conduits are patinated with smoky residues – suggestive of use and the passing of material through them. The nature of the absent compound, liquid or gaseous, skyward or earthward bound undeterminable. As sculpture they have no material body, they surround a cylindrical space. But also as sculpture in a gallery they nevertheless command and redefine space as much as windows, walls or the view. They invite the dichotomies of airiness and weight, aloof poise and dependence. As a counterweight to them are: an image of an object and that object again translated as sculpture. Both literally ungraspable, beyond reach, they depict an odd tool unrecognizable to a layperson for use in plumbing. Perhaps there is a sense of the need to repair, be constructive, to add to, although the action is necessarily delegated from the hands to the head atop a moving body, as the paternoster-like image on the invitation card hints.

What then to make of the exhibition title ‘Dwindle Down’? Reduction to the essential, saying what needs to be said and no more is something of a Modernist dictum, a respite from the too-full or over-the-top – but then comes the problem of loss. What if a trickle is really just a dwindle? If the sculptures here allude to infrastructure, to utilities, to apparatuses for the conveying of, it is perhaps to indicate that we need such supports and systems to move material – such as ideas. And by extension art and the social in symbiosis. Who said we might judge a society by its plumbing?

Baghramian makes work which points to conditions of context, site, and medium (the removal of plinths didn’t do away with the need for a stable ground for instance), but also to what we outside but integral to the arts might face. Her work embraces the sculptural as it has been rethought at least since the 1960s – trusting both the reticence and revelatory in material and form – in order to turn and ask what might a thing be in this world to us (all different) in an unfolding now? Positing a sculptural relation between a thing and meaning only then to try and loosen the binds – not to cast them off– but through abstraction, a love of the discursive, a belief in the cultured life, to allow a freer potential for connectivity. In the rear space of the gallery a firehose of improbable dimensions is coiled. But it is your thought that is already fluid in these rooms, so perhaps it can simply stay ready.

Nairy Baghramian’s work will be on view this summer at Documenta 14 and Sculpture Project Muenster 17 . A solo exhibition of her work is scheduled for the Fall of 2017 at The National Gallery of Denmark. In 2018 she will have solo presentations at The Nasher Center, in Dallas, Texas and the Crystal Palace at the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid.

Her solo exhibition Déformation Professionnelle, recently closed at S.M.A.K, Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium and will travel to The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis in September 2017 in combination with her contribution to the new opened sculpture garden. Other recent exhibitions include Scruff of the Neck (Supplements) at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, Switzerland on the occasion of the Award of the Zurich Art Prize 2016; (2016); Hand Me Down, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); Slip of the Tongue, Punta della Dogana, Venice (2015), French Curve/Slip of the Tongue, Art Institute of Chicago, US (2014); Could Shoulder, Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2014); Fluffing the Pillows, MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, US (2013); Retainer, Sculpture Center, New York, US (2013); Fluffing the Pillows, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); Privileged Points, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam NL (2011); The Walkers Day Off (with Phyllida Barlow), Serpentine Gallery (2010); The Walkers Day Off, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany (2008); Es ist ausser Haus, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2006). She has participated in the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Scotland (2012); the 45th International Venice Biennial, Italy (2011); the 8th and 5th Berlin Biennale, Germany (2014 / 2008); and Sculpture Project Muenster 07, Germany (2007).

Nairy Baghramian has been the recipient of the Zurich Art Prize, 2016; the Arnold-Bode Prize, Kassel, 2014; the Hector Prize, Kunsthalle Mannheim, 2012; and the Ernst Schering Foundation Award, 2007.

Artist: Nairy Baghramian
Venue: Marian Goodman, New York
Exhibition title: Dwindle Down
Date: May 4 – June 10, 2017
Text (press release) and images provided by the event.
© Marian Goodman, New York N.Y. U.S.A.