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Hobson’s Choice – Richard Prince at Sadie Coles

8 March 2013 By
Richard Prince, installation view, Sadie Coles, London (1 February to 16 March 2013). Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

1 February – 16 March 2013

4 New Burlington Place, London W1

www.sadiecoles.com

Open Tuesday – Saturday 12.00 – 18.00

American artist Richard Prince came to prominence in the New York art scene of the 1970s as a leading exponent of ‘appropriation art’, citing and parodying the visual and verbal clichés of American popular culture in order to draw attention to underlying ideological and cultural assumptions.  Referencing, re-working and collaging together diverse visual source materials – from advertising, to pornography, to the history of art – are central to this practice.  Sadie Coles in New Burlington Place is currently showing new large-scale paintings by Prince where ink-jet print images of female figures – drawing upon the heroic poses of neo-classical sculpture, but also suggesting pin-up and soft-porn magazines from the middle decades of the twentieth century – have been over-painted and endowed with gigantic sculptural limbs in grisaille, pink and mustard, referencing Picasso’s stylised representations of the female form.  The faces of the females are wrestling masks and each figure seems to be trapped in flight and in motion, enslaved by the concrete club-like extremities that allude to the distorting and violating modes of treating the female form in twentieth century image-making.  The paintings seduce in their co-opting of the grand and expressive painterly conventions of Modernism, generating a conflict in the reading of these brutalised forms.  Shown downstairs in dialogue with the paintings are a group of black and white prints from pornographic spreads of women censored by DVD and CD music and film titles and scanning barcodes.  This is a great show which offers much food for thought, not least of all of the enduring relevance of the representation of the female form in art and society – but visit soon, as the show closes in a week!

Main Image:  Richard Prince, installation view, Sadie Coles, London (1 February to 16 March 2013). Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London