Maria Sukkar’s Collection, named ISELF, looks at identity with particular reference to the human condition. It explores the central themes of birth, death, sexuality, love, pain and joy. Much of the collection examines human nature and emotion, and most of the artists represented are women. The collection is very figurative with portraits and sculptures ranging from caricatures to traumatized figures and erotic imagery.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Whitechapel Gallery Archive
After the exhibitions “ISelf Collection, Self-Portrait as the Billy Goat” and “ISelf Collection-The End of Love”, the exhibition “ISelf Collection, The Upset Bucket” continues Whitechapel Gallery’s commitment to showing art from rarely-seen Public and Private Collections. The exhibition takes its title from Francis Alÿs’s “The Upset Bucket” (1992) which is exhibited here for the first time it was made. Exhibited with a further 27 artworks by leading international artists, including installation, sculpture and photography, the exhibition explores how people shape a sense of self through their relationship with others and through the material world. Francis Alÿs’s “The Upset Bucket” (1992) comprises a partially rolled canvas depicting a dog, an overturned chair and a spilt bucket, and is hung on a brightly painted patterned wall. This enigmatic, domestic scene encourages viewers to reflect on what possessions might say about their owners. Many of the works in the exhibition draw attention to the notion that people project their identity through their appearances and consumer choices. Matthew Darbyshire’s museum-like display of household objects, including Ikea shelves, souvenir Murano vases, and acrylic water pipes, for example, questions the extent to which people imbue certain objects with aspirational codes. Visitors are prompted to reconsider the everyday use and value of objects, repurposing industrial materials and found materials, such as:Mona Hatoum’s “Doormat II” (2000-01), a mat with the word “welcome” spelled out in pins. Nevertheless, with their austere, slick esthetic, her objects are oddly beautiful. “People always say that beauty and politics can’t work together, and I think that’s rubbish” says Hatoum. “I feel that form and content are part and parcel of the same thing”. Rayyane Tabet’s suitcases that are encased in concrete as a universal and timeless symbol of migration issues, while Ellen Gallagher creates delicate assemblages from glossy African-American beauty magazines in “Spoils” (2011). The exhibition also considers how artists explore discarded materials including waste and its receptacles: Gabriel Kuri’s sculpture consists of precariously stacked wire bins, while the photographs by William Eggleston and Richard Wentworth capture beauty in the everyday, depicting a colourful dumpster and a found assemblage of trash bags respectively. Featured Artists: Ai Weiwei, Francis Alÿs, Lynda Benglis, Walead Beshty, Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Alice Channer, Claire Fontaine, Matthew Darbyshire, Thomas Demand, William Eggleston, Ceal Floyer, Ellen Gallagher, Mona Hatoum, Georg Herold, Gabriel Kuri, Jim Lambie, Linder, Paul McCarthy, Mike Nelson, Damián Ortega, Ugo Rondinone, Daniel Sinsel, Rudolf Stingel, Rayyane Tabet, Wolfgang Tillmans, Erika Verzutti and Richard Wentworth.
Info: Curator: Emily Butler and Candy Stobbs, Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London, Duration: 5/12/17-1/4/18, Days & Hours: Tue-Wed & Fri-Sun 11:00-18:00, Thu 11:00-21:00, www.whitechapelgallery.org