New York, NY…For her first solo exhibition in New York, Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes will present a new body of site-specific works in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. Antunes creates sculptures that reflect the environment that surrounds them and make reference to the work of lesser-known figures from the history of twentieth-century art, architecture, and design. Antunes’s approach to questions of space, measurement and compositional structure in her new installation is informed by the work of experimental filmmaker Maya Deren and textile artist Anni Albers. Likewise, the artist’s deep engagement with native and ancient craft traditions, and her insistence on the work of the hand, is demonstrated through her use of natural material.
For “Leonor Antunes: I Stand Like A Mirror Before You,” Antunes has created a densely choreographed series of meticulously handcrafted objects that find sculptural form as vertical or horizontal demarcations in space or as woven, transparent nets and grids. Dividing and subdividing the gallery, this installation both tackles and expands upon two central themes: an architectural play with transparency and concealment as well as an encounter between an intimate and private exhibition space and a strikingly public stage, which places “on view” the visitor’s every movement. The five-part hanging brass work serving objects (2015) references Albers’s textile Tapestry (1948), in which handwoven checkerboard patterns that shift from dark to light evoke movement and transition from one state to another. Similarly, Deren’s interest in the transformative potential of cinema as a reflective surface influences Antunes’s way of establishing a transient relationship between viewers and objects through the work I stand like a mirror before you (2015). Installed throughout the gallery, these freestanding, translucent screens multiply the reflective surfaces of the gallery’s glass walls and deliberately incite a choreography of movement.