Claudia Comte: The Cavern of Lost Dreams (nine characters)
September 5 - October 26, 2019
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present The Cavern of Lost Dreams (nine characters), an exhibition of all new artworks by Swiss artist Claudia Comte. Comprising sculptures, paintings, and site-specific works, this exhibition highlights the artist’s multidisciplinary approach to artmaking and perceptive investigation of the materiality of both natural and fabricated elements. Using mediums such as wood, marble, bronze, ceramic, and paint, Comte creates imaginative forms and landscapes that question competing notions of industrial production verses handmade craftsmanship, high versus low culture, and fact versus fiction.
For this exhibition, Comte expands her career-long interest in constructing immersive installations that encompass a variety of her creative practices to suggest visual and conceptual dialogues between the various modes of artistic production she employs. Throughout the space, a series of new figurative and abstract sculptures made from differing natural materials adorn each room. The artist creates objects such as biomorphic figures, coral, a motorcycle helmet, a flip flop and an axe out of wood, marble, bronze and ceramics to question ascribed meanings to highbrow materials and seemingly insignificant artifacts of contemporary culture. This specificity of material also connects to Comte’s concerns for the environment and how mass production of human-made objects has drastically impacted equilibrium of living organisms on Earth. The artist’s sculptures, sitting atop tall, frame-like open plinths made of concrete, demonstrate Comte’s careful attention to the materials she carves with incisive, delicate understanding and appreciation, while suggesting deeper meanings connected to global warming and the detrimental effects humans can have on the environment.
Equally significant to Comte’s sculptural work is her painting practice, which has become more ambitious and immersive over the last several years. Adorning every wall of the exhibition space is a new site-specific wall painting inspired by the Monument Valley Mountains in Western America. This is the artist’s first wall painting to extend beyond a single room and portrays Comte’s ever explorative and continuously developing approach to painting. The cartoon-like depiction of this mountain range is inspired by the artist’s earliest recollections of landscapes excavated from popular culture, terrains which differed immensely from her wooded Swiss surroundings early in life. Through the use of aerosol spray paint, Comte prompts a compelling tension between graffiti and the quaint domesticity of the townhouse to elevate the significance of materials and mediums she continues to experiment with on a variety of scales. Comte also unveils two new works from her Turn and Slip series, consisting of rounded canvases that she paints in flat, monochromatic gradients of black on white in a continuous, circular motion. Together with the artist’s new sculptural works, the works in this exhibition envelop viewers into the rhythmic, expansive, and carefully constructed worlds Comte conceptualizes.
Claudia Comte was born in 1983 in Morges, Switzerland and is currently working and living in Grancy, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen (2019); “Zigzags and Diagonals,” MOCA Cleveland (2018); “Swiss Performance Now,” Kunsthalle Basel (2018); “KölnSkulpture #9,” Köln (2017); “La Ligne Claire,” Basement Roma (2017); “NOW I WON,” Messeplatz, Art Basel (2017); “10 Rooms, 40 Walls, 1059 m2,” Kunstmuseum Luzern (2017); Desert X, Palm Springs (2017); “The Language of Things,” Public Art Fund, New York (2016); “Easy Heavy III,” Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2014); “Sharp Sharp, If I were a rabbit, where would I keep my gloves?,” BolteLang (2013); and Elevation 1049, Gstaad (2013).