GROUP EXHIBITION

1984, Artists' Realities

-

1984, Artists' Realities

1984, Artists' Realities

Press release

For Frieze Masters 2017, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents memorable works from the year 1984. The exhibition seeks to contrast the artists’ reflection of the reality of the era with the dystopian vision foretold in George Orwell’s eponymous novel, predicting as it does a world in which despotic totalitarian regimes suppress all individuality & independence, a monochrome, micro-managed proletariat ruled over by remote sinister dictators. Orwell’s nightmarish vision was of a world in which all creative endeavour was annihilated.
                                                                                      
In truth, the emergence of neo-liberal political theory in the 1980's saw a decade of meteoric economic growth in the West whilst the art world witnessed an era of startling creativity. The 1980’s was the decade that started with the death of Mao, the end of the Cultural Revolution and the emergence of capitalism in China before ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union and all of its satellite states; two revolutions that have done more than any other to determine the shape of the world in the first two decades of the 21st century.  In short, Orwell got it wrong. The 1980’s was the decade in which, for a few glorious moments, it seemed as though good might actually triumph over evil, that democracy & freedom would prevail over the dark forces of totalitarianism, that the rising tide of capitalism would lift all boats.

After an era in which creative attention had been largely focused on austere, performance and conceptual art that was remote and difficult to comprehend, a new generation of artists emerged who reflected this great optimistic surge: exuberant, liberated, excessive, materialistic. In the UK specifically, 1984 marks the year in which the Turner Prize was inaugurated, the event which has done more than any other to symbolise the British public’s growing fascination with and love for contemporary art.
 
The exhibition will feature works by Georg BaselitzJoseph BeuysTony CraggRichard DeaconGilbert & GeorgeAntony GormleyIlya KabakovRobert MapplethorpeSigmar PolkeRobert RauschenbergDavid Salle, Emilio VedovaAndy Warhol and a collaborative work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Andy Warhol.
 
Early sculptures by Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon and Antony Gormley converse with the socially engaged work of Joseph Beuys and the neo-expressionism of Georg Baselitz. In all the works, figurative and metaphoric imagery often appear together with poetic or evocative titles.