Review: Mark Grotjahn, Gagosian London ‘Brash, Confrontational’


After the angst and beauty of the joint Giacometti-Klein exhibition, the Gagosian is now hosting a small collection of brash and confrontational works from American artist Mark Grotjahn.

Nine pieces in total but all following the same form. Each a large box, cast in bronze, doused in either a lurid yellow or vivid pink. And each with a simplistic face painted on graffiti-style, and each with a rod shoved through their chest.

If the artist didn’t mean for these to be angry then something got lost in translation as these are really ‘in-your’ face’ works and the Gagosian has smartly kept the rest of the rooms absolutely bare of colour or decoration to really accentuate them.

Mark Grotjahn 1

There’s something quite Easter Island-y in the way these works are lined up in formation across the two large galleries. It’s an interesting historical echo to what are, at least on the surface, very modern pieces of work. And certainly an interesting contrast with the provocative sprit on show.

These bronze sculptures feel angry, anarchic pieces.  Maybe a few weeks ago I might have more dismissive of these as there’s not much beneath the (simplistic) surface but, given the state of the nation, the ‘rage against the machine’ feel here kind of reflects how I feel right now.

Gagosian Gallery, Grosvenor Hill, London W1K 3QD to September 17, 2016

Admission free.

All photos by me.

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