The Tissue of Memory

12 September - 10 November 2018

Simon Lee Gallery New York is pleased to present The Tissue of Memory, a cross-generational group exhibition that considers the gesture and its history, as exemplified by the practices of Kelly Akashi, Robert Mangold, Agnes Martin, Win McCarthy, Monique Mouton, Josephine Pryde, Gary Simmons, Cy Twombly, and Heimo Zobernig. Employing signs, forms, and gestures in service of inscription, the works on view demonstrate artists’ thinking through the medium at hand and materials influencing composition.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the recent book-length study Reading Cy Twombly: Poetry in Paint, in which the literary scholar Mary Jacobus posits the work of Cy Twombly as representative of the working-through impulse. ‘Twombly’s [works] can be read as a form of thinking through (not just about) painting,’ she writes. ‘They invoke both the conditions of their own making and the disciplinary formation of art history.’ In its unique fusion of frenetic painterly abstraction with the metaphysical implications inherent to his scrawled text, Untitled (1981-1982) epitomizes Twombly’s unique formal vocabulary, in which the boundaries between painting and writing have been obliterated in favor of a semantic unity of sign and form. Twombly’s marks manifest both the indexical nature of the medium as well as recording the time the mark was made, the latter literalized in Untitled through the central placement of the artist’s date and signature. To elaborate this premise, the exhibition turns to practices that render their means visible, invoking, to follow Jacobus, those conditions of their own making.

While Twombly’s Untitled produces indexicality through drawing, the Los Angeles-based artist Kelly Akashi’s Woven Lens with Apparatus (2018) does so through sculpture, puncturing glass, still malleable, until the gesture hardens into form. Likewise, the New York-based artist Win McCarthy’s Gridlock Person (2018) also exploits the pliability of molten glass, in this instance by constructing a facial cast that destabilizes our comprehension of its creation, even as it leaves behind a tangible, physical imprint. Like Twombly’s dissolution of language into form, McCarthy’s cast becomes less about the individual and more about an abstracted identity. In Josephine Pryde’s ongoing series Hands (‘Für Mich’), she focuses the camera lens onto the points of connection between hands and various objects, with no other body parts in the frame. Rather than exhibiting the product of the gesture, her photographs concentrate on the closeness of the relation, even a fusion, between the hands and what they are holding. Driftwood worked by the sea, gifts to the artist from her galleries, or tablets with their ‘smartness’ all contain memories, evocations and associations to which the hands make the connection through their grasp. If the final notations are a source of meaning for Twombly, then in Pryde’s photographs, it is rather a visual index of interactions between hands and various devices that is in the process of being created. Elsewhere, New York-based artist Monique Mouton approaches the surface as a site where gestures abound. Brush marks gather on paper alongside fingerprints, pencil marks, punctures, or cuts – vestigial traces of the artist’s process. For Mouton, the frame transcends its conventional purpose to become a form of encasement, binding the work it contains to the moment of its making.

As such, The Tissue of Memory identifies the point at which the artist’s material intervention becomes an act of indexical inscription. All the works included in the exhibition are animated by a certain tension between memory and anticipation, between the implied act of mark-making and its record. After Roland Barthes’ description of Twombly’s works-on-paper, these pieces tend to be ‘conjugated in the past tense or in the future, never really in the present…the tense is perpetually uncertain.’ So, too, for the paintings of Robert Mangold and drawings of Agnes Martin, who, in conversation with the curator Lawrence Alloway, said that her work contained ‘neither objects, nor space, nor time, not anything — no forms…’ Rather than advancing these representational qualities, Martin’s mark-making instead functions as a recording of her act of meditative introspection. For Martin, ‘it is not what is seen. It is what is known forever in the mind.’ Of course, what is ‘known forever in the mind’ is memory, and here we present an inventory of means toward making that fallible, internal process legible.


Kelly Akashi was born in 1983 in Los Angeles, CA and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Recent solo exhibitions include Long Exposure, SculptureCenter, New York, NY (2017); Being as a Thing, Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2016); &, Tomorrow Gallery, New York, NY (2015); and SSOftllY, Michael Jon & Alan Gallery, Miami, FL (2015). Selected group exhibitions include Pine Barrens, Tanya Bonakdar, New York (2018); Dreamers Awake, White Cube, London, UK (2017); Lyric on a Battlefield, Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY (2017); LA: A Fiction, Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France (2017); Take Me (I’m Yours), curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jens Hoffmann, and Kelly Taxter, Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2016); Streams of Warm Impermanence, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK (2016); Made in LA: a, the, though, only, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2016); and Can’t Reach Me There, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN (2015).

Robert Mangold was born in 1937 in North Tonawanda, NY and lives and works in Washingtonville, NY. Mangold has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and retrospectives, have been Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the Akron Art Museum; the Hallen für neue Kunst, Schaffhausen, Switzerland; the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College; the Hallen für neue Kunst; the Museum Wiesbaden; the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Other recent solo exhibitions include Robert Mangold: Paintings and Works on Paper 2013–2017, Pace Gallery, New York, NY (2017); Robert Mangold: A Survey 1965–2003, Mnuchin Gallery, New York, NY (2017); Robert Mangold: Continuity and Discontinuity, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH (2011); and Correspondances–Robert Mangold/Paul Gauguin, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France (2006).

Agnes Martin was born in 1912 in Macklin, Canada and died in 2004 in Taos, NM. Martin received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1997 and the National Medal of Arts in 1998. She has been the subject of numerous international institutional exhibitions, including a five-part retrospective at Dia: Beacon, New York. NY, in 2007, as well as a 2015 retrospective at Tate Modern, London, UK, which traveled to Kunstsammlung NRW, Dusseldorf, Germany; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Other recent major exhibitions include Agnes Martin: The Untroubled Mind/Works from the Daniel W. Dietrich II Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (2018); Agnes Martin, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (2014); In Honor of Agnes Martin’s Centenary, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK (2012); Agnes Martin: Work Ethic, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2010); Agnes Martin, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, NY; and A Field of Vision: Agnes Martin’s Paintings from the 1980s, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, NY (2006).

Win McCarthy was born in 1986 in Brooklyn, NY, where he lives and works. Recent solo exhibitions include Gridlock Person, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2018); Mister, Silberkuppe, Berlin, Germany (2017); and Mouth, etc, Off Vendome, New York, NY (2015). Selected group exhibitions include In Search of Sunrise, Galerie Crevcour, Marseille, France (2018); Michael Krebber/Win McCarthy/Josephine Pryde/Trevor Shimizu, Marta Cervera, Madrid, Spain (2018); Pure Fiction, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France (2016); Mirror Cells, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2016); Takashi Murakami’s Superflat, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan (2016); and Puddle, pothole, porthole, Sculpture Center, New York, NY (2014).

Monique Mouton was born in 1984 in Fort Collins, CO and lives and works in New York, NY. Recent solo exhibitions include A Place Partly Known, Natalie Hug, Cologne, Germany (2017); More Near, Bridget Donahue, New York, NY (2016); and Pieces, Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland, OR (2014). Selected group exhibitions include Blue State, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Carry the Bend, Brennan & Griffin, New York, NY (2018); Lyric on a Battlefield, Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY (2017); Sputterances, Metro Pictures, New York, NY (2017); Fort Greene, Venus Over Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Postal Mascota, Galerie Mascota, Mexico City, Mexico (2016); and White Columns Benefit Exhibition + Auction, White Columns, New York, New York (2015).

Josephine Pryde was born in the UK in 1967, and lives and works in London and Berlin. Pryde was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2016. She has had solo exhibitions in major institutions worldwide, including Tate Britain, London, UK (2016); CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CA (2015); Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2014); Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany (2012); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (2012); and Secession, Vienna, Austria (2004). Other recent solo exhibitions include Traces of Accessibility: Josephine Pryde, Marilyn Thompson, Goton, Paris, France (2017); Knickers, Berlin, Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn, Estonia (2014); PHOTOGRAPHS YOU TAKE Josephine Pryde, THE SCHTIP, Sheffield, UK (2013); and Night Out, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2012). Selected group exhibitions include Faithless Pictures, National Museum, Oslo, Norway (2018); Social Surfaces, Artists Space, New York, NY (2017); Turner Prize 2016, Tate Britain, London, UK (2016); THE GEO POLITICS OF MONETIZED AIRSPACE — Come Fly with Me, I Meet You by the Airside Gucci Concession at 4, Fox Fur Hat, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN (2016); Collected by... Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2016); Faux Amis, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2015); Container and Contained, Ku nstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (2015); and Lisa Oppenheim, Anna Ostoya, Josephine Pryde, Eileen Quinlan, MoMA, New York, NY (2013).

Gary Simmons was born in 1964 in New York, NY and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He was the 2013 recipient of the Studio Museum Harlem’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize. Simmons has presented one-person exhibitions at numerous institutions, including the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Drawing Centre, New York, NY; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; The Bohen Foundation, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA; The Saint Louis Art Museum, MO; Kunsthaus Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and White Columns, New York, NY. Other recent solo exhibitions include Balcony Seating Only, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA (2017); Post No Bills, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2016); Gary Simmons: Fight Night, Metro Pictures, New York, NY (2014); Gary Simmons: Sweet Science, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO (2014); Shine, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2011); and Double Feature, SAKS, Geneva, Switzerland (2010).

Cy Twombly was born in 1928 in Lexington, VA and died in 2011 in Rome, Italy. In 2010, he was knighted France's Légion D'Honneur concurrent with the unveiling of his site-specific painting Ceiling in the Salle des Bronzes at the Musée du Louvre. Recent major exhibitions have been held at institutions including the Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens, Greece (2017); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY (2014); Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2014), Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, Italy (2015); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2011); Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany (2011); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2009); Tate Modern, London, UK (2008); State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (2003); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2003); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Serpentine Gallery, London, UK; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and The Menil Collection, Houston, TX.

Heimo Zobernig was born in 1958 in Mauthen, Austria and lives and works in Vienna, Austria. Zobernig was the 2016 recipient of the Roswitha Haftmann Prize as well as the Austrian representative for the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). Recent solo exhibitions include Heimo Zobernig, Nagel Draxler at Kunsthaus Lempertz, Brussels, Belgium (2018); Heimo Zobernig: Chess Painting, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2017); Generali Foundation Studienzentrum am Museum der Moderne im Rupertinum, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria (2016); schwarzescafé, LUMA Foundation, Z rich, Switzerland (2016); wood painting, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden (2016); Here and now in the Museum Ludwig, Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany (2016); Heimo Zobernig, Simon Lee Gallery, London, UK (2015); Heimo Zobernig, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria (2015); Heimo Zobernig, Mudam
Luxembourg, Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2014); and Heimo Zobernig, Mudam Luxembourg, Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2012).