Donald Urquhart – Balls
On Friday 30th of November 2012 at 7.00 pm Galleria S.A.L.E.S. is proud to inaugurate the second Italian solo-show of Donald Urquhart, BALLS.
The exhibition will display a series of mid-size and small-size ink drawings on paper, realized between 2000 and 2012, inspired by Leigh Bowery, a key figure of the London scene of the 80-90’s and close friend to the artist.
For this opening, at 6.00 p.m., indipendent curator Cristiana Perrella will hold un introduction to the show and a conversation with the artist in the gallery.
In this second Italian show at Galleria S.A.L.E.S. Donald Urquhart reopens and develops a project begun with his participation to the group show “XTRAVAGANZA – Staging Leigh Bowery” organized by the Vienna Kunsthalle for which he also produced an artist’s book. At S.A.L.E.S. are presented the drawings that Urquhart used as illustrations of the book, for which, in addition to his most typical works, he has realized a series of scrotum prints. Joint to this first body of works, there will be exhibited part of the Beautiful Bend Series, dating back to the year 2000 and displayed here for the first time. Finally, a third group of works that -in style and subjects representedreconnencts to the most known production of the artist (the writings, the nearly stylized portrays of men, the allusions to the clichés of fashion and show-biz). As Donald Urquhart writes:
“There are two topics that I avoid touching [...]: the Beautiful Bend and Leigh Bowery. Alas neither are subjects that I can avoid as they are solidly hewn into my rocky past.”
In a very special way the figure of Leigh Bowery has so deeply influnced Donald Urquhart, that every distinction turns out to be superfluous and the three groups of works coalesce around those uniform patterns that talk about Bowery and the time that the artist spent with him. The scrotum prints are not only a provocation, but also recall his “legendary Yves Klein style Paint Show”:
“We used to wear 1960s bikinis and make bum prints and leg prints; tit prints – we even involved our pantomime cow sometimes. … I thought that a print of my balls made in this manner might look like a Leigh Bowery pom-pom head dress.”
BALLS is an exhibition both nostalgic and intimately rooted into the present, whose historical and somehow political value is softened by the cruel romanticism proper to Urquharts’ works.
Referring to the Beautiful Bend (the night-club run by the artist and his friends and one of Bowery’s favourite places where he used to go) Donald Urquhart writes: “It was a metaphysical experiment tank; supernaturally surrealist, with the now legendary DJ Harvey on the decks. … I thought nothing of creating a sick Sylvia Plath-themed concentration camp in the mens toilet, with folded up pyjamas, old spectacles, dentures and rings round the sinks; covering the dancefloor in compost and leaves, hanging vegetables or left-footed vintage ladies shoes inside tights from the ceiling, perilously near hot disco lights. Others have won the Turner Prize with less imagination or balls.”
In addition to the ink drawings, for this exhibiton the artist is going to intervene into the gallery space with wall-paintings and photocopied posters. In the project-room will be screened an unreleased video showing a performance by Leigh Bowery at the Beautiful Bend. Copies of Leigh!, the artist’s book realized by Donald Urquhart for the Vienna Kunsthalle will be available at the gallery.
November 30-February 15
galleria s.a.l.e.s. - via dei Querceti 4/5, Rome