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Exhibition

Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect

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A formidable painter known for her deployment of illusionistic trompe l’oeil effects and architecturally-scaled installations, Lucy McKenzie (b. Glasgow, 1977) quickly established herself as one of the most exciting artists of her generation. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, and featuring over 80 works dating from 1997 to the present, the exhibition will bring together examples from all of the artist’s significant bodies of work and for the first time examine the full scope of her oeuvre.

Exhibition info

Period

until

Duration

ca. 90 minutes

About the exhibition

Lucy McKenzie excavates and appropriates images, objects, and motifs from the histories of art, architecture, and design; literature, music, and film; fashion, politics, and sport. She transforms these source materials using the outmoded techniques of nineteenth-century decorative painting, creating surprising new constellations that illuminate an alternative history of painting that emphasizes the vernacular, the domestic, and the collaborative. The so-called “applied arts” emerge as key points in a narrative that diverges from the established chronologies of the avant-garde and modern art.

 

Although renowned as a painter, McKenzie’s oeuvre also includes drawings, texts, sculptural objects, and videos. Often both collaborative and interdisciplinary, her practice has often extended beyond the gallery space to include the founding of a record label, a bar, and a successful line of ready-to-wear fashion, among other activities. Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, this exhibition will provide an opportunity to examine the full scope of her oeuvre for the first time anywhere.

 

With over 80 works dating from 1997 to the present, the exhibition will bring together examples from all of the artist’s significant bodies of work, including her early paintings of athletes and scenes from Cold War-era Olympic games and 1980s pop music; her subsequent engagement with the traditions of Scottish and Eastern European muralism; Belgian illustration and typography; large-scale paintings based on historic architectural drawings; the collaborative fashion label and research project Atelier E.B; recent trompe l’oeil works blurring the lines between painting, sculpture, and furniture; and her ongoing series of Quodlibet paintings; as well as new works commissioned especially for the exhibition.

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Besucherinnen vor Lucy McKenzies Werk „May of Teck“ (2010) in der Ausstellung „Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect“
Besucherin vor Lucy McKenzies Werk „Faux Shop“ (2018) in der Ausstellung „Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect“
Besucherinnen in der Ausstellung „Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect“. Gezeigte Werke (v.l.n.r.): „Arcade 2“ (2019), „Rebecca“ (2019), „Ghent-Sint-Pieters“ (2017)
Besucherin vor Lucy McKenzies Werk „Glasgow 1938 1966“ (2017) in der Ausstellung „Lucy McKenzie – Prime Suspect“

Architecture

Most houses are inhabited by different people over the years. All these residents shape the house through their respective tastes. On the other hand, sometimes houses are designed and built from the outset to meet the needs and desires of specific people. Both modes of living and designing interest the artist Lucy McKenzie. In her journeys through the last 200 years of architectural history and practice, she has always kept in mind the traces of time: through various techniques of appropriation, she transfers elements of past styles into new contexts, creates historical superimpositions, and examines the socio-critical aspects of the original works ­– pointedly or provocatively – through these connections. This is visible in one of her series of works from the mid-2000s, in which she transferred interior drawings from the turn of the twentieth century onto large canvases at almost life size – to see what it feels like to “be in a drawing”. The same can be seen in McKenzie’s wall paintings and murals, which she not only regards as a typically propagandistic art form in the political sense, but which she also mobilizes as a means to uncover the ideologies that can be concealed within and beneath architectural forms and styles.

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“There's no point in time where everything is just contemporary.”

Lucy McKenzie

Gender politics and feminism

No project by Lucy McKenzie can be understood in isolation from the examination of gender politics and female self-determination. From very early on, the artist has dealt with representations of women in fashion, sports, architecture, and literature. She employs various strategies to expose and critique sexism and misogyny in trenchant, often satirical, ways. As McKenzie herself says, she is always concerned with attempts to absorb or reinterpret fictional female identities. The artist openly highlights female sexuality – for example through the depiction of masturbation or menstruation. When she places other female artists and authors in the focus of her work, it is not to flatter them, but to challenge existing visual cultures and gender norms. McKenzie is interested in artists like Agatha Christie, Muriel Spark, and Madeleine Vionnet, each of whom represents technical brilliance, a consistent attitude, and a precise perception of the world.

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Artworks on view

Werkabbildung zu
Lucy McKenzie Rebecca, 2019
Lucy McKenzie, Fountain and Portrait of a Mannequin, 2019Ausstellung
Lucy McKenzie Fountain and Portrait of Mannequin, 2019
Werkabbildung zu
Lucy McKenzie May of Teck, 2010
Werkabbildung: Lucy McKenzie, Mooncup, 2012 (Detail), Ausstellung
Lucy McKenzie Mooncup, 2012
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Lucy McKenzie Top of the Will, 1998-99
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Lucy McKenzie Global Joy II, 2001
Werkabbildung: Lucy McKenzie, Curious, 1998, Ausstellung
Lucy McKenzie Curious, 1998
Werkabbildung: Lucy McKenzie, Loos House, 2013, Ausstellung
Lucy McKenzie Loos House, 2013

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and abundantly illustrated catalogue, providing the first systematic representation and scholarly analysis of Lucy McKenzie’s oeuvre. Alongside an essay by exhibition curator Jacob Proctor, the catalogue will include contributions by noted international artists, critics, and historians of art and design. It will appear in two editions (German, English) and will become the standard reference work for the ongoing international and interdisciplinary engagement with McKenzie’s work.

Supporting program

06.02.

Saturday 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Event

The eternal now – Lucy McKenzie: Inspiration. Appropriation. Illusion.

Dialog with Dr. Polina Gedova & Dr. Michael Press Lucy McKenzie, born in Glasgow in 1977, uses the materials of painting, design, installation and writing in her work. She takes objects and motifs from the history of architecture and design, from literature, music and film, as well as from fashion, politics and sport, and alters these source materials using the te

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