15C Entertainment Building 30 Queens Road Central
2017.11.23 – 2018.01.10
Pace Hong Kong is delighted to present an exhibition of works by British artist Keith Coventry, on view from November 22 through January 10. This will be the artist’s third solo exhibition with Pace and his first presented at Pace Hong Kong. The exhibition will feature Coventry’s recent body of work, Golden Arches. An opening reception will be held from 6-8p.m. on Wednesday, November 22.
For more than two decades, Coventry has created paintings and sculptures that manipulate legacies of modernism while addressing conditions of contemporary urban life. As a member of the YBAs, he took part in many of the group's most important activities, including the landmark exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. In 2010, Coventry was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize, one of Britain’s most prestigious prize in contemporary painting.
The series, Golden Arches, implies that the simple, abstract curves refer to the logo of American fast-food chain McDonald’s. This instantly recognizable logo was first shown in Coventry’s work in 2000, and was further explored in the following years. Coventry noticed that the yellow and red of the company’s visual identity align with aesthetic elements in modern art history. To decontextualize the consumeristic logo by appropriating aspects of the Russian Constructivist movement, his work implicitly references 20th-century aesthetic representations.
In this exhibition, Coventry pushes the concept forward by literalizing the golden arches euphemism. One of the most famous trademarks in the world, this sign has often been the subject of appropriation by contemporary artists. Coventry, however, has not chosen to use this common cynical approach to magnify the cruder side ofthis logo. Instead, the elegant curves remove it from the image of junk to which it is associated, inviting the viewer to reexamine the recognizable trademark. Reaching subtlety, the pursuit of the memorable and simplicity is juxtaposed with refinement of modern society.
Coventry’s creative practices over the past decades have always attempted to awaken the idealistic, orderly and humanistic spirit represented by modernism within contemporary social issues. His work highlights social affairs through repeated art historical referencing. In Golden Arches, the artist has intentionally avoided the use of plastic and other contemporary mass-produced industrial goods, opting instead for such traditional sculpting materials as plaster, bronze and gold. Meanwhile, the sharp contrast between the formal language of the works and their content creates a dynamic that is a perfect metaphor for the artist’s quest for utopia within the spiritual ruins of contemporary consumer society.
Keith Coventry (b. 1958, Burnley, United Kingdom) lives and works in London. He attended Brighton Polytechnic from 1978–81 and the Chelsea School of Art, London, from 1981–82. He was featured in the seminal exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1997 and in 2006 he received a mid-career retrospective at Tramway, Glasgow. He was also a co-founder and curator of City Racing, an influential not-for-profit gallery in Kennington, South London, from 1988–98.
Coventry’s work has been exhibited widely in the UK and Europe and is included in collections worldwide, including the Arts Council Collection, London; British Council Collection, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others. In 2010, Coventry was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize. Recently, his work was included in Double Act: Art and Comedy, an exhibition presented at The Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, in 2016.
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