Lévy Gorvy, London

June 1 - July 31, 2021

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META VISCERAL (2021) was a curated group exhibition exploring the human body as both an object burdened with historical meaning and a subject of direct experience to be shared. The exhibition featured works by Yves Klein, David Hammons, Bruce Nauman, Louise Bourgeois, Thomas Schütte, Miles Greenberg, Sarah Lucas, Carol Rama, Jeff Sonhouse, and Giuseppe Penone, among others.

A highlight of the exhibition was Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 162) (1960), a major painting from Yves Klein’s renowned series. Klein created the Anthropométries through active engagement: he applied his proprietary International Klein Blue (IKB) pigment to a model, who then pressed her body onto the canvas, leaving a direct impression of her physical form. The resulting painting is sensuous and enigmatic, existing as a permanent trace of ephemeral bodily presence. Resonant with the Anthropométries, David Hammons’s Body Prints of the 1970s saw the artist create ethereal impressions using grease and pigment applied directly to the body. Fundamental to the development of Hammons’s unique artistic vocabulary, the Body Prints establish corporeal images that represent his artistic perspective and experience as a Black man.

The psychologically resonant art of Louise Bourgeois played a defining role in META VISCERAL, which included a selection of sculptural works and Lullaby (2006), a series of 25 phallic abstractions screen-printed onto a background resembling that of music paper. Breasts and Blade (conceived in 1991) extends Bourgeois’s use of anatomical fragments to evoke emotional states, with multiple breasts emerging from within the wavelike folds and protuberances of its corporeal form. Sarah Lucas employs unconventional materials and avant-garde strategies to explore issues of female sexuality in the twenty-first century. Her Nude No. 1 (1999) and Sheela na gig (2012), two central works featured in the exhibition, use bodily surrogates to confront objectification and channel a fiercely charged feminism.