RICHARD PHILLIPS @ Almin Rech Gallery, Brussels
NOV 17, 2016 – FEB 25, 2017
Richard Phillips
Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels
17 November 2016 – 25 February 2017

For his first solo exhibition with the gallery comprised of new paintings inspired by fascist era Roman sculptures and Cy Twombly, American artist Richard Phillips will create a space for a new history between distance and surface, magnification or reduction.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience where time collapsed in a city as much as when I visited Rome. Wandering from the Pantheon, to the Colosseum, and then to the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana—the “square Colosseum” Mussolini built with giant figurative sculptures on the outside—you understand the contest of power and form. It makes you submit—I was surprised at how that took over me. I am surprised at our current global crisis and at the form of totalitarianism that is arising with a renewed shift toward this strong man imagery and I felt it was really important to look at it. It wasn’t long after that the Twombly-related images came up, like MMXVI (2016), because I saw them going hand in hand. The fascist sculpture and Cy Towmbly paintings are both a particular image of Classicism. I really see them as subject to the same type of visual filtration, thinking of power exchange and what aspects of culture they promote, and who is holding the reigns those paintings are not separate from that. There is no separate spiritual ether for them to exist in. That might make people angry, but it’s true. Part of the deliberate physical dissatisfaction of the paintings I made with the Twombly is counterweighted by their visual satisfaction, the physical is dominated by visual impact they look good and they’re meant to look good. That visual aggression was how Mussolini’s artists and architects succeeded. They took a look at ancient Roman achievement and then made it look simpler and contemporary. Actually when you go back to the museums and look at ancient roman sculpture after having seen fascist sculptures from the ’30s it screws up how you see them it makes your memory of the Fascist sculptures seem distorted, cartoonish and strange, but also causes the ancient ones to look over-articulated, as though they actually lose authority because their brilliance, beauty and verisimilitude. I took iPhone photographs of these sculptures and painted them in this graphic method of halftones I’ve been developing, using neon paint and wax-oil emulsion so that the effect is almost sculptural. It wasn’t about a pure reflection of history, but creating a space for a new history that takes into account how these dominant positions of power and authority were being achieved through form. The scale of my images of the sculptures puts them at a slight distance. Distance and surface, magnification or reduction, is essential to all these works. In the MMXV series the images are all details of Twombly’s paintings, glimpses that are blown-up, but the canvases themselves are small.”

Extract from the conversation between Richard Phillips and Jarret Earnest, 2016
Richard Phillips - ISBN 978-3-905770-28-5
More information about the event
1-5 (22)
NOV 17, 2016 – FEB 25, 2017
RICHARD PHILLIPS @ Almin Rech Gallery, Brussels

FEB 03 – MAR 25, 2017
BARBARA KASTEN @ Thomas Dane Gallery, London

JAN 28 – APR 30, 2017
WADE GUYTON @ Museum Brandhorst, Munich

FEB 7 – OCT 15, 2017
@ Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

JAN 12 – MAR 04, 2017
RITA MCBRIDE @ Alexander and Bonin, New York

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