Marking the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the artist’s sculptural work, David Zwirner is presenting a selection of new sculpture by artist Harold Ancart at the gallery’s Paris exhibition space, a show that also marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in the French capital. The show, which compiles a set of new sculptures from a series begun in 2017, the exhibition focuses in particular on swimming pools, cast in concrete, and painted with rich layers of color that recall art-historical, architectural, and everyday influences.
Ancart’s pool sculptures, like much of his sculptural work, is fairly simple in execution: a basin that ranges in shape and dimensionality, with the presence of a set of steps and varying depths. Accordingly, his pieces here oscillate between familiar forms and imagined ones. Pools suddenly drop off in depth, or the stairs are placed in a unique place in relation to the rest of basin. Bearing the traces of their making, the pools share the surface materiality and color of the paintings for which Ancart has become best known. They function, in a sense, as relief paintings that are situated within the three-dimensional space of the viewer, while their painted surfaces offer a range of visual and formal possibilities. “The deep end opposes itself to the shallow end,” Ancart says of the work. “One may rightfully argue that these sculptures are shallow. However, these sculptures are painted. Isn’t something painted automatically granted with infinite depth?”
In shrinking the size of a pool, Ancart amplifies its imaginative qualities, making an otherwise familiar object uncanny. While the artist has always seen painting as a means to travel, these works are also experienced as sculpture in the round, at once real and appearing perhaps as in a dream or a projection. These bodies, accordingly, become a fitting juncture between new space and the classical iconography of the pool, a hallmark of Ancart’s work. Mining the landscape of the everyday as a mode of exploration and transformation, his pieces here (and elsewhere) call to mind a vision of a world progressing slowly through a set of variations on form and function.
The show closes November 20th.
– D. Creahan
Harold Ancart [Exhibition Site]