In this new exhibition, London’s White Cube Bermondsey gallery displays a series of canvases with thousands of glass beads adorning every surface in such a number that imagining the sheer labour hours makes our heads spin. The results of this arduous process in her works in the show Solid / Divide are magnificent; providing a place to reflect on the notion of labour and as well as delight in simply looking at these textured and detailed canvases.
In these latest works by Liza Lou, colour field painting is clearly a strong influence, as well as the vibrant patterning of natural materials and the solid colour of each surface.
Made in partnership with a group of Zulu bead workers from the KwaZulu Natal Township near Durban, these canvases are marked with handmade imperfections that remind us of the political and ethnographic undertones of Lou’s practice. While abstraction can be very personal and subjective, this project was grounded in the communal enterprise between the artist and these 25 local female artisans. The title of the show, Solid/Divide, is also particularly appropriate in reference to the divisive history of South Africa, where the fragile divisions between blocks of colour and groups of beads are as much part of the present as they are the past.
As always with Liza Lou artwork, these canvases offer an escape from reality. However, the question is whether Lou offers a better alternative, or simply a more uncomfortable truth. Visit one of the best contemporary art galleries for the fascinating results of Lou’s patient glass bead creations, but stay for the deeper issues surrounding the daily struggles of South African life.
|What||Liza Lou: Solid/Divide, White Cube Bermondsey|
|Where||White Cube Bermondsey, 144-152 Bermondsey Street , London, SE1 3TQ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||London Bridge (underground)|
26 Nov 14 – 18 Jan 15, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|