18 – 22 January 2017
Chris Agnew solo booth at
LONDON ART FAIR
Business Design Centre, Islington
Repeating rhomboidal modules tower skywards in myriad iterations, encapsulating the notion of the infinite. Inspired by Constantin Brancuși's sculpture, the 'Infinity Column', British artist Chris Agnew’s new series of drawings ‘Ba da, Dodă’ employs his skills as a meticulous draughtsman, as the form of Brancuși’s Column is populated by the socialist apartment blocks that still dominate the Romanian landscape, a country in which he has lived and worked for the last five years.
The highly detailed pencil and watercolour on paper propose an alternate reality, where abstract ideological form is manifest as utilitarian structure. These Brutalist apartments are hemmed into the shape of Brancuși's Column, yet reveal surprising interventions – monolithic black stones, flying shards, plants growing out of dilapidated stone, ragged flags – alluding to the mysticism growing out of the cracks of such rigid ideology.
As the question of Europe is at the forefront of many conversations, and the status of many immigrants is questioned the world over, Agnew looks towards Brancuși: a Romanian who walked to Paris on foot, and became one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century, who entertained guests from his artistic and intellectual circle in the French capital with the traditional folk songs and cuisine of his Motherland, never wishing to return whilst it was still under Communist rule.
‘Ba da, Dodă’ translates roughly as ‘Of course, my dear’. Dodă, Dodă was a popular Romanian folk song famously recorded by the singer Maria Tanase, whom Brancuși was rumoured to have been in love with. The song is about finding new company in a new place, and being willing to make sacrifices if it means staying with them.
The solo booth also features a brass inlaid wooden floor, building on Agnew’s work in scenography and set design in England, his background in interior and furniture design in Romania and his signature etching technique; engraving directly into traditional gesso panels typically used for icon paintings. The blackened wood floor, cut through with striking shards of brass, mirrors the shard motif present in Agnew’s etchings and drawings.
About Chris Agnew:
Chris Agnew is a British artist known for his highly detailed drawings and icon panel etchings. He received his BA in Contemporary Art Practice from The University of Leeds in 2008, followed by a Masters in Fine Art at the Wimbledon College of Art in 2010. Agnew’s work deals with the construction and deconstruction of belief systems, be they political, religious, social or cultural. He is interested by the malleable nature of what we hold as ‘truth’, and how the presentation of information informs our subsequent understanding of events. Agnew’s work has been shortlisted for awards including the 2016 Derwent Art Prize, and twice for the Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010 and 2009 respectively) and Saatchi's New Sensations (2010). His works are held in collections including the V&A, London, and the Hearst Corporation, New York. Recent solo shows include Dither (2016), The Mighty Grip of Fate (2014), with Kristin Hjellegjerde, London and The Pomp of Circumstances at Nancy Victor Gallery, London (2012). Agnew has divided his time between the UK and his studio in Bucharest for the past five years.
Tuesday 17 January
3PM - 9PM
(VIP & Private view, invitation only)
Wednesday & Thursday 18 & 19 January
11am to 9PM
Friday 20 January
11am to 7PM
Saturday 21 January
11am to 7:30PM
Sunday 22 January
11am to 5PM
Business Design Centre
52 Upper Street
London N1 0QH