David Dale Gallery are delighted to present the first UK solo exhibition by Swiss artist Claudia Comte. Incorporating wall murals, installation, sculpture and film, Comte has presented her characteristic form of irreverent and joyful referentiality.
In the main gallery space, growing exponentially from the wooden sculptures produced while on residency in South Africa, the installation stands as an elaborate staging device – designed to enhance and augment the impact of these sculptures. Carved with a chainsaw from native Yellowwood, the shapes are a gesture scaled up, but in no means intuitive – using modelling clay, pressed between her thumb and fore finger as the initial expression, Comte employs this maquette as a schematic for the final shape. Working in forms that seem to pay homage to Modernist giants, such as Brancusi, the method and execution playfully undermine this comparison – as it is unclear whether it is the first absent minded gesture or the months of execution that take precedent.
The installation which houses these sculptures, is produced with a similar arbitrary rule structure – following its own logic from inception. The structures which act as plinths for the sculptures, are constructed to the grid system implied by the architecture of the building and concurrently the standard UK size of sheet material. The sheets, which are individually scorched and chainsawed, follow this geometric logic throughout producing a repetition of form within familial variations.
The set is completed with the gradient wall murals, echoing and counteracting the plywood structures. Using the same size and grid structure, the paintings follow the tenet of the surrounding installation, with one final leap of subjective reasoning – that the gradient should be Tequila Sunrise, the colour scheme from the Indiana Jones logo.
In the second space, the first time the gallery has used this building for an exhibition, is the film Nightscape. Filmed over ten days –often in the middle of the night – in the fjords of northern Norway, during the perma-daylight of summer, the film utilises a cyclical structure in which layout, sound and image lead on from one another under the influence of the movement of the water in a particular scene. The recurrent circle motif overlaid on the film, in tandem with the soundtrack, amplifies the hypnotic quality of the landscape throughout the journey.
Employing a lightness of touch across wide references from cartoons and Hollywood to Modernism, Comte produces a performance of object and phenomenon. Forms become reformed with new meaning, and shapes lose all previous connotations in this most democratic use of signifiers. Creating a parallel of our normal interpretation, Comte involves us all in a naive complicity.
Claudia Comte (born 1983 Lausanne, Switzerland) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Recent exhibitions include: Elevation 1049.2, curated by Neville Wakefield, Gstaad, Switzerland (2014); Wir Baden auf der freianlage, invited and curated by Neville Wakefield, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo, 2013); Summer Villa Extension, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France (Solo, 2013); La Jeunesse est un art, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland (2012); Scantione-Tensione, Institut Suisse de Rome, Rome, Italy (solo, 2013).
Commissioned by David Dale Gallery in association with Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.