Paris – Henry Taylor: “From Sugar to Shit” at Hauser & Wirth Through January 7th, 2024

October 19th, 2023

Henry Taylor, I Got Brothers All Ova The World But They Forget We're Related (2023), via Hauser & Wirth
Henry Taylor, I Got Brothers All Ova The World But They Forget We’re Related (2023), via Hauser & Wirth

Marking its inaugural outing at its new Paris exhibition space, Hauser & Wirth looks west to the work of critically acclaimed Los Angeles artist Henry Taylor, whose major career survey arrives at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York on 4 October 2023 and will remain on view through January 2024. Taylor’s exhibition in Paris, the artist’s first prominent show in France, comprises a wide range of over 30 paintings, sculptures and works on paper encompassing the remarkable breadth of his practice.

Throughout his four-decade long career, Taylor has consistently and simultaneously embraced and rejected the tenets of traditional painting, as well as any formal label. Combining figurative, landscape and history painting, alongside drawing, installation and sculpture, Taylor’s vast body of highly personal work is rooted in the people and communities closest to him, often manifested together with poignant historical or pop-culture references. Rough-shod and direct, colorful and energetic, the artist’s compositions move from depictions of everyday life to meditative tomes, moments of surreal urban juxtaposition and expressive, occasionally somber moments.

Henry Taylor, One Tree Per Family (2023), via Hauser & Wirth
Henry Taylor, One Tree Per Family (2023), via Hauser & Wirth

In this exhibition, with a guiding sense of human connection, Taylor leads us through a multifaceted narrative. Having extended his studio to Paris as part of preparation of the show, the artist drew inspiration from the city and its wealth of works. These influences are portrayed in the exhibition with works such as Forest fever ain’t nothing like, “Jungle Fever’ (2023), depicting four figures in a composition akin to Edouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.

Henry Taylor, Michelle (2023), via Hauser & Wirth
Henry Taylor, Michelle (2023), via Hauser & Wirth

Sculpture also plays an important role in this exhibition and as part of Taylor’s practice. The process involves energetically building, stacking and affixing a vast array of collected objects together, from bottle caps to toilet paper rolls, to create a holistic record of his everyday routine and the materials that define them. Referring to this highly intuitive process as ‘hunting and gathering,’ the artist is able to simultaneously merge multiple references—historic and contemporary—into sharp focus. Examples featured in the Paris show include assemblages made using detergent and millk bottles, toilet paper rolls, furniture, among other objects, which recode the forms and symbolisms of found materials to comment on enduring art historical tropes, echoing an almost Duchamp-esque approach to readymade sculpture.

Presenting a range of expressive and exploratory notes on both reinterpreting his work and that of the City of Lights, the show closes January 7th, 2024.

Henry Taylor, Forest Fever Ain't Nothing Like, Jungle Fever (2023), via Hauser & Wirth
Henry Taylor, Forest Fever Ain’t Nothing Like, “Jungle Fever” (2023), via Hauser & Wirth

– D. Creahan

Read more:
Hauser & Wirth [Exhibition Site]