January 23–April 21, 2018
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Robert Irwin’s work, both to the art history of his native Southern California and across contemporary art more broadly. In the late 1960s, he shifted focus from creating traditional art objects to producing sculptures and installations that explore perception and the very conditions of art viewing. Irwin has continued to push the boundaries of artistic practice into the twenty-first century through installations precisely conditioned to the sites they occupy, both inside and outside the walls of cultural institutions. It is with great pleasure that Sprüth Magers announces its first exhibition with the artist, several years in the making, on view at the Los Angeles gallery. It is the first large-scale presentation of Irwin’s work in Los Angeles since 2011.
In keeping with Irwin’s experimental approach to light, space, and the phenomenological experience of the viewer, the artist has produced an immersive installation comprising an arrangement of scrims that responds directly to the architectural layout and visual qualities of Sprüth Magers’ modernist interior. As he wrote in Artforum in 2016, “The scrim is a great material; it both is there and it’s not.” Irwin has used scrim since the early 1970s as a means to alter viewers’ experience of their environment; by stretching it to create new interior walls and pathways, he deploys a simple material to shift space in radical ways.