Tal R Untitled Flowers

    26 May–30 July 2022
    16 Wharf Road
    London N1 7RW

    Victoria Miro is delighted to present Untitled Flowers, an exhibition of new paintings by Tal R. The paintings are complemented by a large-scale installation of new and recent drawings. On view in the waterside garden are a number of recent bronze sculptures by the artist.

    In his work Tal R often employs apparently simple compositional devices and motifs from everyday life to create complex, atmospheric worlds that, beginning with the recognisable and known, expand or collapse into spaces of enchantment or ambiguity, heady with atmosphere and colour. For the past few years he has made paintings and drawings of flowers in vases. Each work depicts a bunch of flowers picked by the artist from around his home in the Danish countryside, presented in a vase on a tabletop within a closely cropped interior space.

    Accompanying the exhibition is a free poster produced in collaboration with the artist, featuring The Garden, an essay by Hilton Als.


    Untitled Flowers

    Oil on canvas
    250 x 150 cm
    98 3/8 x 59 1/8 in
    (TR 378)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    ‘When you look at flowers on the table, you might say “beautiful”, and that’s actually quite correct. Then you are going to say a lot of different things. You are going to project all kind of emotion, intellectual ideas about vanity, death and beyond that.’ — Tal R

    In this deceptively quotidian world there is a deliberate, non-hierarchical sense of things existing on the same plane. Throughout, perspectives are tilted to create an intimist space in which the seemingly everyday is served by the image’s emphatic flatness. As the artist explains, ‘You can’t say the table or the tablecloth is less important than the flowers. You have to say everything counts.’ Nonetheless, we notice how certain stems ascend buoyantly while others droop under heavy heads, how blooms become like characters within and between the works. There are definite emotional registers at play in addition to the rich chromatic ones we encounter at first sight.


    Tal 2

    Oil on canvas
    250 x 200 cm
    98 3/8 x 78 3/4 in
    (TR 379)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    Oil on canvas
    250 x 200 cm
    98 3/8 x 78 3/4 in
    (TR 382)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    Tal 4

    Crayon and oil stick on paper
    52 x 40 cm
    20 1/2 x 15 3/4 in
    (TR 427)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2021

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    Oil stick on paper
    73 x 42 cm
    28 3/4 x 16 1/2 in
    (TR 433)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2021

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    Crayon and oil stick on paper
    52 x 40 cm
    20 1/2 x 15 3/4 in
    (TR 425)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2021

    More info

    ‘You can’t make a hierarchy when you do a painting, you can’t say the table or the tablecloth is less important than the flowers. You have to say everything counts.’ — Tal R

    Flowers in vases are, of course, a kind of contained beauty, nature tamed, and in this context they can be considered as memento mori, poetic reminders that our time is fleeting. The artist would always prefer to talk about his work in terms of what he defines as the ‘painter’s mathematics’ – how a stem goes into a vase or hits the water. And yet, as he says, ‘I think if you talked to a mathematician very late at night, he would say mathematics is very emotional. It’s actually a way of organising the world. I’m trying to organise things that have too many details.’


    Tal 3

    Oil stick on handmade paper
    178 x 130 cm
    70 1/8 x 51 1/8 in
    (TR 455)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    Ink on paper
    124 x 80 cm
    48 7/8 x 31 1/2 in
    (TR 398)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2020

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    Oil stick on handmade coloured paper
    178 x 130 cm
    70 1/8 x 51 1/8 in
    (TR 451)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    POSTER PROMO

    Oil on canvas
    212 x 147 cm
    83 1/2 x 57 7/8 in
    (TR 389)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2021

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    ‘What is it about flowers that no matter where they’re grown – in death camps or by the sea, in private homes or on the border of war zones – why is it they keep on flowering while insisting on their right to inspire feelings in us that we can barely know, or articulate in all our truth and terribleness?’ — Hilton Als


    Tal 5

    Oil on canvas
    212 x 127 cm
    83 1/2 x 50 in
    (TR 388)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2021

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    Oil on canvas
    250 x 150 cm
    98 3/8 x 59 1/8 in
    (TR 381)

    Tal R, Untitled Flowers, 2022

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    Sculpture

    Patinated bronze
    157 x 27 x 65 cm
    61 3/4 x 10 5/8 x 25 5/8 in

    Tal R, Adidas Boy, 2018-2019

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    ‘I’ve made many different kinds of sculptures. Looking back, they all tried to rise up and be figurative: a boy walking, somebody lying down, somebody standing up.’ — Tal R

    Sculpture has long been an integral part of Tal R’s practice, its presence – metaphorical and material – leading to an extended consideration of things we might label as ‘objects’ that, in the shared physical realm of the exhibition space, begin to exert themselves as ‘beings’. For the artist, the figurative sculptures on view in the gallery’s waterside garden are the most complete expression of this career-long impulse. ‘I’ve made many different kinds of sculptures,’ he says. ‘Looking back, they all tried to rise up and be figurative: a boy walking, somebody lying down, somebody standing up.’


    Tal 8

    Patinated bronze
    177 x 96 x 46 cm
    69 3/4 x 37 3/4 x 18 1/8 in

    Tal R, Bow and Arrow, 2019

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    Patinated bronze
    138 x 54 x 35 cm
    54 3/8 x 21 1/4 x 13 3/4 in

    Tal R, Rose, 2020

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    As with his paintings, these are works that dwell in both contemporary and historical realms – indeed, viewed together, they tackle different aspects of the great classical tradition. A kneeling archer, or a striding figure such as Adidas Boy, in fact a sculpture of the artist’s teenage son wearing sportswear and sporting a mullet haircut, appear initially as archetypes. Also like his paintings, the sculptures on view are materially lush. Shaped in clay, cast in plaster and moulded in bronze, they draw the viewer into their tactile surfaces, inviting us to consider mysteries of origin and meaning that, far from being assuaged by recognition or familiarity, are enhanced by it.


    About the artist

    Photo: Casper Sejersen

    Born in Tel Aviv in 1967, Tal R lives and works in Copenhagen. Institutional exhibitions in 2022 include Tal R: The Wrong Side, an exhibition of sculptures and drawings, on view at Artipelag, Stockholm (15 January–1 May 2022); and the touring group exhibition Human Conditions of Clay at John Hansard Gallery, Southampton (19 March–17 May 2022). Recently, the artist has held solo presentations at Ordrupgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark (2021); Glyptoteket, Copenhagen, Denmark (2020–2021); Magasin II, Jaffa, Israel (2019); Hastings Contemporary, Hastings, UK (2019); MOCAD, Detroit (2019). His major survey Academy of Tal R opened at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in 2017, touring to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Previous solo exhibitions have been staged at institutions including ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (2013–2014); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2013); Kunstverein in Hamburg (2011) and Camden Arts Centre, London (2008), amongst others. Tal R held a Professorship at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from 2005–2014.

    His work is held in public collections including: ARKEN, Ishøj, Denmark; ARoS Århus Denmark; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, New York, USA; Goetz Collection, München, Germany; Hammer Contemporary Collection, Los Angeles, USA; Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Magasin III, Stockholm, Sweden; Moderne Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France;  Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA.

     

    Credits

    All works © Tal R, courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

    The Garden by Hilton Als, first published in The Paris Review. Copyright © 2021 Hilton Als, reprinted with permission of The Wylie Agency LLC


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