Marian Goodman Gallery is delighted to announce Work Desk for an Ambassador’s Wife, an exhibition by Nairy Baghramian and Janette Laverrière, opening on Thursday 7 November and on view through Saturday, 20 December.
The exhibition will present sketches, drawings and maquettes of Baghramian’s works from 1999 to the present that are not intended to be realized, as well as a major collaborative project with Janette Laverrière, and a new related sculpture. Nairy Baghramian’s sculpture and installations have made reference to the history of interior architecture as a means to interrogate ideological norms and reformulate and reposition object making. Embracing antecedents for whom the concept of the installation has played a central role in design and object-making provides a productive tension for the artist, a platform for innovation and new possibilities within sculpture. Baghramian’s reengagement with key maverick histories includes purposeful collaborations which activate the potential of objects and the thresholds they occupy, and brings to light the political, philosophical and institutional contingencies of these spaces. I am always concerned with contradictions and confrontations [in my collaborations] and the resulting debates in a shared space rather than with symbiosis or appropriation. -Nairy Baghramian, 2019
The heart of the current exhibition finds its origin in a friendship and meaningful collaboration Baghramian began in the playful and poetic sphere of Janette Laverrière (1909- 2011). A pioneering Swiss/French designer who conceived of her own mind as an interior architectural space, Laverrière’s famous renunciation of useful objects resulted in the material transformation of figures, ideas and narratives over seventy years, often drawing from literature, politics, and history. Throughout her career Laverrière’s forms were driven by a sense of role-playing and world-making, full of narrative and innuendo, by turns playful and polemical, modern and anti-modern, in and out of time. – Robert Wiesenberger, in “Janette Laverrière: Evocations,” Question the Wall Itself, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2016
The exhibition will feature maquettes, sketches and drawings of Baghramian’s unrealized sculptures which are brought together and shown for the first time, displayed in plexi and zinc- coated metal vitrines, which become like fragments themselves. Models for her working process and not intended for production, the objects are presented as a family of non-utilitarian objects titled Side Leaps, inspired by Laverrière’s own continuous personal history of unproduced objects and the prolific drawings made during her lifetime. Existing in this liminal space, they are works ‘which have not been allowed to become sculpture’ as Baghramian says, but here become visible and part of an overall environment in relation to Laverrière’s design objects, such as Chapeau Chinois II (1952/2012) and Bibliothèque Tournante (1950/2012).