30 August – 26 November 2017
The Whitechapel Gallery’s new autumn 2017 collection display takes its name from Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s photographic series, The End of Love (2012). Comprising 48 portraits of mainly brides and grooms taken in the 1960s and 1970s at the now defunct Studio Shehrazade in Lebanon, the photographs mark the ‘end of love’ as over time they have been separated from their owners and the people who loved them to become a social archive and an artwork.
Contemporary portraiture – both real and imagined – and the relationship between self and other, or between artist, sitter and viewer, is further explored by nearly 30 international artists alongside Zaatari in this display.
A salon-style portrait gallery offers a range of depictions of relationships from close personal ties such as Man Ray’s photograph of lover Nancy Cunard (1928); Rashid Johnson’s painting of his father made with Afrocentric materials like black soap (2014); Alex Katz’s painting of his wife and muse on a bright yellow background in Black Hat No. 3 (2010); Alice Neel’s portrait of her son’s seated colleague Stephen Herbert (1977) in a relaxed informal pose; to more distant connections. These include Jim Lambie’s tribute in the form of an abstract sculpture to jazz musician Sun Ra (2014) made with brightly-coloured potato sacks or Luc Tuymans’ William S. (2012) based on a found image.
A selection of text-based portraits are also on show. The relationship between a mother and child is explored in Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document: Documentation VI (1978 / 2010) as the artist’s son develops his writing skills, while Fiona Banner reinvents the genre of the female nude through the use of written language to depict her subject, described from life.
Maria Lassnig looks at relationships and desire by painting the metaphorical biblical liaison of Adam and Eve with Apple (2005). The figures are captured in a moment of attraction, however their stances convey a sense of nonchalance, offering a subtle prediction of a change to come.
This exhibition also includes work by Ida Applebroog, Michaël Borremans, Bill Brandt, Gyula Halász Brassaï, Don Brown, Gillian Carnegie, Chantal Joffe, Leon Kossoff, R. H. Quaytman, Wilhelm Sasnal, Catherine Story, Fiona Tan, Wolfgang Tillmans, Paloma Varga Weisz, Gillian Wearing.
The presentation of the ISelf Collection is part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up rarely-seen collections from around the world in a dedicated Collections Gallery. The series of four displays, which focuses on the subject of self and personal identity, are each titled after an artwork in each display and run from April 2017 to August 2018.
Notes to Editors
-Central to the ISelf Collection is identity, with particular reference to the human condition. Through painting, sculpture and vintage photography the themes of birth, death, sexuality, love, pain and joy are all rigorously explored. Many of the works examine the existential dilemma that is inherent to human nature. Figuration plays a major part, and a majority of the artists represented are women. The ISelf Collection was established in 2009 by Maria and Malek Sukkar, and the collection is curated and managed by Anderson O’Day Fine Art.
-For over a century the Whitechapel Gallery has premiered world class artists from modern masters such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo to contemporaries such as Sophie Calle, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George and Mark Wallinger. With beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, inspiring art courses, dining room and bookshop, the Gallery is open all year round, so there is always something free to see. It is a touchstone for contemporary art internationally, plays a central role in London’s cultural landscape and is pivotal to the continued growth of the world’s most vibrant contemporary art quarter.
-Future ISelf Collection displays include: The Upset Bucket (5 December 2017 – 1 April 2018) and Bumped Bodies (10 April – 12 August 2018).
-The Whitechapel Gallery ISelf Collection displays are curated by Emily Butler, Mahera and Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Curator, Whitechapel Gallery with Candy Stobbs, Assistant Curator, Whitechapel Gallery.
-The exhibitions are accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue entitled Creating Ourselves, exhibition price: £24.99 with essays by Glenn Adamson, Frances Borzello, Emily Butler, Nicholas Cullinan, Amelia Jones and Lydia Yee, as well as an interview between Iwona Blazwick and collector Maria Sukkar.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm; Thursdays, 11am – 9pm
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