On view this month at Sprüth Magers, artist Anne Imhof has brought forward a new selection of works united under the title Avatar II. Continuing and expanding upon the narrative arc of Anne Imhof’s recent exhibitions, the works in Avatar II interweave notions of reality and artifice, presence and absence, exposure and concealment.
In the first show to span all four of the London gallery’s floors, the works range from oil paintings, large-scale paintings on aluminum panels, and drawings to film and sound works. Fitness equipment and gym furniture are installed throughout the gallery, blurring the boundaries between functional object and art while creating a multilayered experience as visitors encounter and move through Imhof’s abundant spaces.
Imhof’s spatial orchestrations are evident from the outset: as visitors approach the exhibition from street level, their line of sight into the gallery’s glass storefront is delimited, boxed in by rows of lockers and blocked in part by the back of one of Imhof’s aluminum panel works suspended unexpectedly from the ceiling. Just below this hanging panel, at the back of the room, one catches a glimpse of a painting depicting Imhof’s collaborator Eliza Douglas.
Imhof’s experimental, restrained approach to installation unfolds further in the subsequent galleries by creating a labyrinthine network with monochromatic banks of gym lockers, conjuring distinct sensations of time and space within the viewer, calling to mind the challenges and tribulations of youth, sites of power and socialization, and the replication of the cultural structure in youth. Long fascinated with youth, power and social systems, Imhof’s work here turns this notion into a supercomplex, with each scene and site bleeding into the next. These are complemenetd with images of human bodies and forms, emphasizing the continued presence of the human form within these systems.
Further revealing Imhof’s sensitive use of space and the human form are a selection of drawings, in which spare, purposeful lines delineate attenuated bodies in motion. Artworks in their own right, the drawings can also be understood as preparatory gestures for future performances, which, like her objects and installations, Imhof carefully plans in tune with the spaces they occupy.
The artists work is on view through December 23rd.
– D. Creahan
Anne Imhof at Sprüth Magers [Exhibition Site]