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Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris
2016.01.16 Sat - 2016.03.06 Sun
Opening Exhibition
3 rue du Cloître Saint-Merri
18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
+ 33 1 42 74 67 68
+ 33 1 53 01 99 76
Opening Hours
Monday – Saturday 11 am – 7 pm
Nathalie Obadia

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[Press Release]

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is very pleased to present Ni Dieu Ni Maître for its new collaboration with Luca Dellaverson, the first exhibition in France of the work of this American artist born in 1987.

Luca Dellaverson Untitled, 2015 Epoxy resin and UV cured inkjet print on glass with wood support 167,64 x 129,54 cm © Courtesy of the artist Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Bruxelles

Luca Dellaverson
Untitled, 2015
Epoxy resin and UV
cured inkjet print on
glass with wood support
167,64 x 129,54 cm
© Courtesy of the artist Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Bruxelles

Using objects and cultural products, Luca Dellaverson examines the simultaneous construction and deconstruction of our frames of reference in our constantly changing society. His works merge an intangible dimension – video imagery, the light of LCD screens and natural light, sound formats, inkjet printing, the creation of a font or pirated film – with a powerful materiality in his choice of media: epoxy resin, structures made from wood and metal, the application of plaster, glass panels, laminated panels of birchwood and Plexiglas, and sanding.

For Ni Dieu Ni Maître, Luca Dellaverson is presenting works from a series that uses shattered glass, a video and sound installation in four panels, two photographic prints on wood, and two compositions in a series that pays tribute to the French painter Martin Barré that he began in 2014. In his assimilation of the history of the 1990s, this American artist expresses the disenchantment of his generation, which has experienced the inexorable growth of consumption under the guise of a certain form of progress. This headlong, persistent development of technology is what he is referring to when he immobilizes an iPhone in epoxy resin: like an archaeological find, the device, just a few months old, proclaims its programmed obsolescence and, in so doing, the short-term nature of our memory.

Luca Dellaverson has profound respect for the literary and artistic figures to whom references are made in his works. For this first exhibition in France, he alludes to Guy Debord and Stéphane Mallarmé, and offers new pieces whose inspiration is given by Martin Barré’s spray-painted arrows; this homage follows similar tributes in his art to Cady Noland, Robert Graces and David Hammons. This personal pantheon is made interdependent with another more collective memory, one that is more meaningful to his generation, of which the prism of pop culture allows him to reference the films Jurassic Park and Independence Day and music from the ’90s. The exhibition title – Ni Dieu Ni Maître – is itself an echo of an anarchist slogan that was originally the title of a review published by the socialist Louis Auguste Blanqui in 1880. It was later appropriated by the French songwriter Léo Ferré in the 1960s and more recently by the punk movement.

In his works using shattered glass, Luca Dellaverson will present a new work, a mirror lined with a print of phantoms covered in allover colours. When epoxy resin is trickled over a mirror in its frame, the glass shatters in a temporal process in accordance with the hardening of the resin, creating chance effects.

This approach is not unlike that of the reconstituted shattered glass panels in Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, described by the artist as “definitively unfinished”, which achieved its final state following breakage during transport. Duchamp celebrated the damage as the required final touch for the completion of the Large Glass.

The inclusion of the glass panel in the epoxy resin makes it difficult for viewers to see their reflection in the shards of glass, an imposed dissociation manifested even more strongly by the choice of the coloured prism, which absorbs more light than it reflects and thus makes it even harder for viewers to recognize themselves. A duality is created between the glass as a fragile, breakable material whose surface is divided into shards, and the compact, frozen solidity of the block of sculptural resin.

In similar fashion, the 4 LCD monitors in the video installation impede our understanding as the images are partly obscured by plaster on the screens’ surface. Two of the screens show extracts from Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle while the two others offer a video montage of the artist’s musical education, which is also that of a distinct generation, made from a soundtrack of ’90s music. The parallel created between the two sound themes offers a non-confrontational approach between the “cultural attitude of American punk rock and French academic dandyism” according to Dellaverson. The four different and simultaneous transmissions deliberately hamper comprehension of each individual recording, but the resulting dissonance is exactly the point.

The two photo prints are of university students in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1978, a few months before the pro-Soviet coup d’état that would lead to the radicalization of the country. Luca Dellaverson has enlarged these black-and-white period photographs and printed them in colour, clearly leaving the RGB colour points visible. The photographs are printed on birchwood plywood panels in which Dellaverson has carved out segments of citations from Stéphane Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés in a font recreated taking, as his starting point, Cyrillic tattoos worn by Russian prisoners. He uses the same procedure in reproductions of convex arrows by Martin Barré, which he scans and then prints with an inkjet printer. He then integrates these into a composition painted on a linen-covered stretcher, which he covers with epoxy resin to give structure to the assemblage. Once again, distance is a decisive factor in viewers’ perception of the work, which is affected by our overall or detailed regard.

By incorporating experimental and accidental factors in the realization of his works, Luca Dellaverson focuses on the formal outcome of the process, which leaves various interpretations of the content possible. It is neither straightforward nor desirable to categorize his pieces, so much do they cross genre boundaries: the works in shattered glass resemble paintings in their format and manner of display but their monumentality and solidity give them a sculptural form, while his multimedia works have the eloquent presence of a picture. Running counter to a certain rationality, Luca Dellaverson imposes stasis and desynchronization on things so as to produce infinitely pertinent works: petrification compels us to consider the ceaseless disillusioned flux by which we are surrounded, without allowing nostalgia to prevent us from embracing a perspective of a brighter future.

Luca Dellaverson was born in Westchester (New York, USA) in 1987. He lives and works in New York.

Luca Dellaverson graduated from Hampshire College (Amherst, Mass., USA) in 2010. His work was presented at the Tilton Gallery (New York) in the exhibition Fight This Generation, and at the Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery (Luxembourg) in American Graffiti. A set of seven works in shattered glass and epoxy resin presented at the FIAC 2014 met with great critical and public success. His first solo exhibition was held at the Tilton Gallery in 2013 and his oeuvre has been selected for several noted group shows, in particular at the Pizutti Collection (Colombus, USA) in NOW-ism: Abstraction Today, at the Signal Gallery (New York) in Surface Support, and at the Sean Kelly Gallery (New York) in From Pre-History to Post-Everything, and …but that joke isn’t funny anymore at the Tilton Gallery. Luca Dellaverson’s work has been the subject of an eponymous book written by Ryan McKenna and Connie Rogers Tilton, and published by the Tilton Gallery.