February 28–March 26, 2011
Sprüth Magers at Ambika P3, University of Westminster
Sprüth Magers Berlin London is delighted to present a major solo exhibition by Anthony McCall featuring ‘Vertical Works’ at Ambika P3, University of Westminster and works on paper at Sprüth Magers London.
Internationally recognised for groundbreaking work which occupies a space between sculpture, cinema and drawing, British-born McCall trained at Ravensbourne College of Art & Design in the mid 1960s. Shortly afterwards, in the early 1970s, he began working with performance and film, initially through a series of open-air performances which were significant for their minimal use of elements such as fire.
McCall first took up filmmaking in order to record such performance works, which, in turn, led to an increasing interest in the medium of film itself, and the idea of making films that existed only in the present tense. After moving to New York in 1973, he began his series of ‘solid-light’ works with the seminal Line Describing a Cone, in which a volumetric form composed of projected light slowly materializes in three-dimensional space. In this and subsequent solid-light installations, McCall deconstructs cinema by reducing the medium of film to its most basic elements of time and light. At same time, the idea of cinema is expanded to incorporate sculptural space, with the creation of complex three-dimensional chambers of light, which imperceptibly alter and shift based on a controlling durational structure. McCall’s work has influenced a generation of artists working with film and installation.
McCall’s early 16mm films, such as Long Film for Four Projectors, 1974, as well as many works made in recent years, for example You and I, Horizontal, 2005, maintain a horizontal orientation. The projections occupy the length of the room — the projector one end, the projected line-drawing (the image) on the wall at the other end, with the luminous conical object occupying the space in between. This orientation retains links back to its roots in cinema. A number of these works formed the core of his well-attended Serpentine Exhibition a few years ago (30 November 2007 – 3 February 2008).
Over the past five years McCall has also explored solid-light works that are oriented vertically – projecting downwards from the ceiling onto the floor, forming 10-metre tall, conical ‘tents’ of light, with a base of about 4 metres. Here, the projected line-drawing on the floor is, quite literally, the footprint of the work, with the three-dimensional ‘body’ rising up from the floor and finally narrowing to a point at the lens of the projector, well-above one’s head. From the point-of-view of the observer, the vertical pieces create a profoundly different type of encounter. Four of these works, each of them showing in the UK for the first time, will be presented as a single installation in the Ambika P3 exhibition space. The works are Breath (2004), Breath III (2005), Meeting You Halfway (2009) and You (2010).
Along with working drawings for the 'Vertical Works' shown at Ambika P3, 'Works on Paper' at Sprüth Magers London includes a selection of drawings and photographs from the last 40 years of McCall's career, and showcases two key works: Landscape for Fire (1972) and Five-Minute Drawing (1974). The exhibition also includes a video of the most recent working maquette of his upcoming Column project, a public commission by the Arts Council for the Cultural Olympiad.