“I want the manifestation of my ideas to be life-sized, not only regarding their scale, but also
in terms of their relevance to their situation or medium. Then they’re more like the ideas
behind something. Art is just a manifestation, a Trojan Horse, for ideas.”
- Ceal Floyer
The Lisson Gallery is pleased to announce Ceal Floyer’s first major solo
exhibition in London. She will be presenting a new body of work involving video
installation, sound and light projection, works on paper and sculpture.
Ceal Floyer’s clarity of thought and the elegantly concise presentation of her
ideas resonate through all areas of her practice. The deceptive simplicity of the
work is informed by Floyer’s particular sense of humour and an almost
Beckettian awareness of the absurd; her use of double-takes and shifting points
of view forces the viewer to renegotiate his perception of the world.
Floyer’s work examines a dialectical tension between the literal and the
mundane, and an imaginative construction of meaning. Helix, 2001 consists of a
circles template filled with everyday objects selected precisely because they are
exactly the same size as the circles. In Warning Birds, 2002 Floyer uses mass-
produced adhesive ‘warning birds’; simple bird shaped silhouettes used to deter
birds from plate-glass windows. Rather than using a single sticker she covers the
whole window, obscuring the original form and function of both the window and
the warning bird. Through its multiplication, this simple almost elegant image is
brought to the verge of hysteria.
In the sound piece Goldberg Variation, 2002 the title is used as a framing device,
determining the identity and meaning of the work. ‘The Goldberg Variations’ was
originally composed by Bach as a Baroque keyboard exercise in musical structure
and reasoning. It subsequently became a standard in classical keyboard
repertoire, consisting of 30 variations of a single aria. Floyer takes the initial
prototype aria as her starting point, simultaneously presenting all the different
piano recordings and interpretations of it that she could find commercially. The
condensation of the individual versions into one composite playfully
acknowledges and articulates the conceptual themes of the original.
The video work H20 Diptych, 2002 consists of two monitors, one showing a pan
of water slowly reaching boiling point whilst on the other a glass of fizzy mineral
water gradually goes flat. Both processes are almost imperceptible, as the water
inexorably moves towards equilibrium.
For Ceal Floyer, language itself is utilised as a material, intangible yet integral to
the work of art. Ink on Paper, 2002, a new version of the series made specifically
for this exhibition, acts as both the title of the work and a description of the
medium. The circles of colour that are produced by the draining of felt tip pens
onto sheets of blotting paper are both visually beautiful and conceptually pure.
Since graduating from Goldsmiths’ College in 1994, Floyer has exhibited
extensively around the world. Previous solo exhibitions include: Ikon Gallery,
Birmingham; CCA, Berkeley, California; Institute of Visual Arts, Milwaukee;
Kunsthalle Bern; and City Racing, London. Ceal Floyer was awarded the
prestigious Philip Morris Scholarship at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin in 1997