Alex Israel’s second solo exhibition at Galerie Almine Rech, following up on ‘Thirty’ (2012), features an ensemble of his recent works – “Lenses” and other new works – staged in a configuration that asserts his conception of the exhibition as an event.
The exhibition revives the memory of ‘Thirty’, its walls entirely painted with a sky motif said to be Californian with resolutely pink and blue accents summoning the memory of Edward Ruscha’s pictorial skies, via a new Sky Backdrop Painting whose craftsmanship and color range present a notable evolution, substituting orange tones for various blue hues and purple shades for pink ones, and generally speaking presenting a hazier appearance. Before being elements of the décor, these large pictures made in the Warner Bros. studio are paintings whose style and manner are each time put back into play by Alex Israel. Moreover, this is the structure itself for all the elements in his work, which combine several functions, several readings, and several critical intensities. Better say it now: all these rather pretty things composing his oeuvre offer several levels of intent–from an obvious ambition to simply delight to an acerbic yet irresolute criticism, this amplitude embracing as many possible approaches as can be imagined, inevitably leading the viewer into a palette of feelings that range from libidinal satisfaction to pure guilt.[…]