AMW visited“Giles”, the stunning Giles exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in Athens. Giles is a group exhibition curated by Artemis Baltoyanni, inspired by John Barth’s 1966 comic novel Giles Goat-Boy.
Participating artists: FLAME, Louise Bonnet, Maurizio Cattelan, Dan Finsel, Apostolos Georgiou, Matthew Hansel, Anna K.E., Sanya Kantarovsky, Josh Kline, Friedrich Kunath, Calvin Marcus, Frances Stark, Andra Ursuta, Jan Kiefer, Nicolas Grenier, and Cindy Sherman.
Taking the novel as a point of departure, the artists included in this exhibition summon up Giles Goat-Boy‘s unmistakable spirit of self-reflection and dark humor. Alter egos, self-portraits, or orphaned parts of the body become the visual counterparts of meta-fiction, in artworks that display awareness of the artist’s vexed struggle with the muse. Take Maurizio Cattelan’s Untitled(2009), a playful depiction of the artist-trickster hiding his face inside a rubber boot, his distinctive nose protruding, as successful in his disguise as an ostrich with its head in the ground. Where to hide one’s lack of ideas? Or Josh Kline’s Forever 27 (2013), featuring a hipsterized, very much alive Kurt Cobain discussing his upcoming art show, which fits art-making within the current commodification system that produces celebrities and idealizes youth.
In the work of Apostolos Georgiou, in which a lonely painter holds a depiction of somebody else’s togetherness, the pursuit of love and the achievement of ambitions are closely intertwined, the one reflecting the other. Goat Boy’s quest for Grand-Tutor status is in some ways not unlike that of becoming an artist. Mirrored in the struggle between his caprine and human natures is the eternal debate between natural talent, destiny, and choice. Love, too, with its excesses and shortcomings, becomes a metaphor for the creative process. Goat-Boy continues on his lonely journey of self-doubt towards an unresolved ending that is never graced by concrete answers.
Gagosian has evolved into a global network with sixteen exhibition spaces in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, designed by world-renowned architects including Caruso St John, Richard Gluckman, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel, Selldorf Architects, and wHY Architecture. Its vibrant contemporary program features the work of leading international artists including Georg Baselitz, Ellen Gallagher, Andreas Gursky, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Anselm Kiefer, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Taryn Simon, Rachel Whiteread, and many others. Additionally, unparalleled historical exhibitions are prepared and presented on the work of legendary artists such as Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Lucio Fontana, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Roy Lichtenstein, Piero Manzoni, Claude Monet, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and others. A series of groundbreaking Picasso surveys curated by John Richardson has been attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors in New York and London.
The gallery publishes scholarly exhibition catalogues and artist monographs, as well as catalogues raisonnés. Since 2012, an innovative and engaging magazine on the gallery’s art and artists has been published four times per year.