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4th November – 3rd December 2011
FAILE’s all-new exhibition, Fragments of FAILE, the widely popular US artists’ first UK solo show in three years. Whilst the show, running from 4 November until 3 December, will still please FAILE’s many fans it strikes out in a sophisticated new direction.
Over the course of the past decade, FAILE developed an artistic practice inflected with remixes of mass culture, and built on careful juxtapositions of seeming dualities. Such juxtapositions are both thematic and compositional, and are evident in FAILE’s balancing of deconstructions of found material with original constructions of new iconographies, environments, and narratives. Fragments of FAILE allows us to see them working at one frontier of their practice, stripping their painting down to its essentials and engaging a century of the more expressive terrain of abstract portraiture.
This suite of new works provides an intimate counterpart to FAILE’s recent large-scale explorations of religious motifs while drawing out less obvious threads in their practice, from subtle gradations of color and pattern to a conscious removal of clear identities in order to explore archetypical structures beneath. These choices are underscored by a formal approach that draws on quilting traditions—building something new and vital from otherwise discarded or overlooked materials. Such compositional “quilting” is complemented by eight new pieces “stitched” together from rough-hewn objects—wood blocks, copper printing plates, t-shirt fragments—that extend FAILE’s use of puzzle boxes, and obscure the boundary between fine and folk art. That all of these materials, visual and concrete, are assembled from FAILE’s own archive means that Fragments of FAILE represents not a radical departure, but a rare opportunity to see their iconic practice anew.