On view this month in London, Sadie Coles HQ presents REPEATER, a show that makes the most of a reflection on repetition and difference, the act of continued movement, duplication, and continuation over a range of approaches and media. Encompassing a wide range of artists, the show examines ideas of sequence, seriality and replication – whether in the form of modular sculpture, painting in series, or digital reproduction – in order to highlight the potential that exists in the act of repeating.
The show demonstrates how repetition generates plurality as much as sameness. Sequence as a conceptual mode is reflected in the algorithm-derived grids of Michele Abeles’s B&W prints of 2014, for instance, drawing on representational imagery ‘encrypted’ into a series of black and white tessellations. The act of repetition here is embellished by a sense of hidden language, movements and gestures that raise new meanings from the churning patterns on view. By contrast, artist Sarah Lucas’s repeated portraits, Red Sky Gha (2018), the artist herself is the subject of vision and revision, her figure and form twisting in and out of view as a result of the many iterations of its representation. This sense of meditation and movement brings a new awareness not only of her image, but of its subjection to the rules of representation, and its ability to move in and out of those rules in limited capacity.
Other works in the exhibition explore the relationship that exists, in any sequence, between part and whole. In the new jigsaw sculptures of Alex Da Corte, the emblem of a plant pot and knife harnesses seriality to a more emotive and playful register, flouting the high-minded seriousness of minimalist repetition in favor of a more playful and elusive end. By contrast, Laura Owens’s paintings of drop-shadowed glyphs – computerized marks that dematerialise against white grounds – use an interplay of repetition and variety to foreground the relationship between the digital and the gestural.
The works in the exhibition highlight, in various ways, how the regularity of an artistic sequence often carries with it a contrary impulse – a sense of disorder, or anomaly, or unrepeatability. Taking on the space of repetition as a point of entry for new discussions on space, politics and understanding, the show is a dense and immersive show that no doubt welcomes repeated viewings.
The show closes March 26th.
– D. Creahan
Repeater at Sadie Coles HQ [Exhibition Site]