Martin Boyce

A Lost Cat and Alleyways, Back Gardens, Pools and Parkways

25.05 — 05.08.07



The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is proud to present the solo exhibition of Scottish artist MARTIN BOYCE.

Boyce has established an international reputation through a series of works which explore the heritage of Modernist design and architecture of the early part of the 20th century - in particular the dreams for a better society, that designers and architects at the time sought to implement through their works. Over the years those dreams have been shattered, leaving rubble of forms and ideas that Boyce feeds from to nourish the sculptures and installations that characterise his production.

In Boyce’s hands, forms and materials initially conceived to be devoid of emotion and purely pragmatic in their objective, are used as the primary elements of installations which exude an ambiance of poignant poetry. Scottish poetry is in fact a source of great inspiration to the artist. The exhibition at the Centre will include the largest body of works by the artist to date, presenting numerous sculptures in several installations.

The artist has been developing this project over two years, taking his inspiration from the book “The Wind Up Bird Chronicles” by contemporary Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. In a suite of different rooms, Boyce proposes a series of 6 environments - backyard or landscape areas - containing a variety of sculptural elements, poetic evocations of the flotsam and jetsam of urban life. Some of these environments are directly referring to the novel, yet what Boyce gleans from Murakami is more an abstract emotional atmosphere, suggested by the haunting descriptions of suburban locations where time seems to be suspended.

At the entrance, a large colourful structure (“Concrete Leaves”, 2006) evoking a children’s play frame challenges the architecture and modifies the visitor’s circulation, while in the next room a metal tree with chains suspends from the ceiling. A series of golden ventilation grills designed by the artist, integrate seamlessly in the architecture just above the ground level (“Vents”, 2007) and are dispersed around the exhibition space. A functional aspect is also suggested in Boyce’s specially made new sculpture, which evokes the form of a concrete ping-pong table with a unique design. The different environments at times remind us of daily objects, such as a telephone booth, barriers, a metal deckchair (“We Climb Inside and Everything Else Disappears”, 2004) with a skeletal beach umbrella made of neon bars (“We Are Resistant, We Dry Out In The Sun (You Close Your Eyes and Imagine You Are Floating)”, 2004).

Despite the variety of the works, a recurrent pattern is present in most of the displayed artworks, such as the play frame and the bronze alphabet hung on the wall, somehow recalling Robert Mallet-Stevens’ concrete trees designed by the modernist architect in 1925 on the occasion of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels modernes in Paris. Thus this motive is declined through different media – architecture, sculpture and printing – and suggests a global aesthetic language reminding of the concept of “Gesamtkunstwerk”, fitting in line with the artist’s inspiring influences.

Save the date

Exhibition: 25.05 — 05.08.07

Opening: 24.05.2007 at 6 p.m.

Curator: Katya García-Antón.

Conference by Dr Klaus Scherer: Friday 25 May at 7 p.m.

Visites commentées pour les membres le mercredi 30 mai à 13h et le jeudi 21 juin à 18h.


Download the press release

The exhibition is supported by
exanederivatives logologo stanley schwarz

Partners: Hôtel Beau Rivage, Carpe Diem and Pernod Ricard Swiss.

Subventionné par la Ville de Genève