B140529182836 002

I Believe History Is a Force

Tony Lewis

29.05.2014 | 18.07.2014

Massimo De Carlo Gallery London is proud to present I Believe History Is a Force, the first solo show in London by the American artist Tony Lewis.

Lewis’s practice articulates itself as a series of drawings that translate and question via graphite on paper the underlying connections between the word and the image, the symbol and the sound, the artist and his identity. The inspiration for his drawings is often sought in the world of text, from books to comics, which the artist has eagerly consumed since being a child. Childhood appears in fact to be a strong presence in the bodies of work exhibited in I Believe History Is a Force: there is a playful element of blurred, though never naïve, reminiscence of early days that each of us can associate with.

In I Believe History is a Force the artist will introduce a group of new works. Located on the ground floor is the series entitled Oreo Group, as the famous chocolate and cream cookie sandwich, which are a subset of a larger group of text drawings. Oreo Group tackles with one of the key themes of his recent practice: that of converging the structures of language and it’s meaning with familiar materials, studio considerations, and the activity of incessant drawing. These works all begin with a statement based on pre-existing terms that Lewis wrote to declare the past, present, and future of the color line in the United States.

The exhibition also presents, in the lower floor of the gallery, a selection of new collages and works on paper, which aim to celebrate the artists personal experience of Calvin and Hobbes, the famous American comic by Bill Watterson, by introducing himself into the narrative he was not only passionate about as a child, but still is.

The title of the show I Believe History is a Force is a quote from one of these works, that can be found in the small drawing situated in the window space on the ground floor, here the fact that the character who is pronouncing the statement is blacked out will leave the viewer wondering if its Calvin, Hobbes or Tony Lewis himself making the statement.

On the same theme, but following a different direction, are the Empty Drawings: an aniconic representations of dialogues from The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes book. Tony Lewis here uses aniconism,the absence and avoidance of the imagery of God, as a tool to idolize Calvin and Hobbes without using their image: this is a reference to the public history of plagiarism of the comic and at the same time an attempt to provide introspection for the author’s work as the true representation of Calvin and Hobbes.

In his work Tony Lewis tackles with a range of subjects that vary from theories such as semiotics to popular culture, questioning through symbolism issues related to the word such as recognition and logic. I Believe History is a Force is an overview of Tony Lewis’s work: the three series on show illustrate how the artist is able to work on different themes, and depths, aesthetically and conceptually, leaving in the viewer a sense of mystery that the artist creates by shifting in and out of the narrative he creates.

The Artist

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Tony Lewis

托尼·刘易斯 1986 年出生于洛杉矶。 他目前在芝加哥生活和工作。

刘易斯的实践侧重于符号学和语言之间的关系,以应对种族、权力、交流和劳工等社会和政治话题。 刘易斯使用石墨、铅笔和纸进行绘画,艺术家使用这些媒介来追踪和发展抽象叙事以及对手势概念的反思。 通过突破绘画的界限和抽象的可能性,他扩展了语言“材料”的使用。 正如赫希霍恩博物馆馆长 Melissa Chiu 所言:“刘易斯通过形成独特的视觉语汇,将诗歌和文本与抽象属性融为一体,迅速在当代艺术界站稳了脚跟,他的单色绘画取材于各种视觉和书面来源 ,从个人到政治。 他通过分离、重新排列和删除文本,改变了我们在语言中移动的方式,从而开辟了新的、意想不到的阅读方式。

刘易斯参加了 2014 年在纽约惠特尼美国艺术博物馆举办的惠特尼双年展,并获得了布兰代斯大学罗斯艺术博物馆 2017-2018 年露丝·安和内森·珀尔穆特驻场艺术家奖 ,马萨诸塞州沃尔瑟姆

Tony Lewis Portrait 3 m7 In0y