David Robilliard at Park View

Artist: David Robilliard

Organized and curated by: Lulu and Paul Soto/Park View

Venue: Park View, Los Angeles, US

Date: March 4 – May 12, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist, Lulu and Paul Soto/Park View

Lulu and Paul Soto/Park View are thrilled to present a solo exhibition of David Robilliard (1952-1988), consisting of a selection of works on paper.

I owe my precious awareness of the work David Robilliard to the existence of his catalog THE YES NO QUALITY OF DREAMS, published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at the ICA in London in 2014. Roger Willems, who designed the book, was visiting Mexico City around 2015, gave me a copy and said to me, “Chris, you should know about this artist.” The work hit me, like it hits many, with the sudden force of a small, if quizzical revelation. Everything from the frank, abbreviated lines of his figuration to the bright primary color palette to the epigrammatic use of language, not to mention its poignancy and wryness, immediately bewitched me. How did I not already know about this artist? How did everyone (outside of the UK) not already know about this artist? There is an explanation for this: the tragic brevity of the poet/artist’s career, which spanned from 1984 to 1989, concluding with his death from AIDS at the age of 36. This meant that Robilliard’s production as an artist and his exhibition history were quite limited. Born in Guernsey, England in 1952, Robilliard moved to London in 1975 to pursue a career in music and poetry. In 1979, he met Gilbert & George, for whom he started modeling. They became supporters of his poetry and encouraged him to add imagery to his words, which he did. He had his first exhibition at Stephen Bartley Gallery in 1984, which was a one-night affair, and later exhibited at L’Escargot restaurant and the Hippodrome in London– exhibitions which, according to Gregor Muir in his introduction to the ICA catalog, “mattered.” After his death, he exhibited at Hirsch & Adler Modern Gallery in New York in 1990 and was also featured in The British Art Show that same year. Rudi Fuchs organized a retrospective at the Stedelijk in 1993, but until 2014, the work had not been exhibited a great deal. It was for these reasons that I was all the more surprised and pleased to learn that Rob Tufnell was exhibiting a few drawings in Miami this past December. I immediately told Paul Soto about it, showing him the ICA catalog, and Paul was no less struck and perplexed than I initially was. “Chris,” he said, “we have to do a show.” It seemed a bit farfetched at first, but thanks largely to the detective efforts of Paul, and Rob Tufnell’s generous willingness to loan us a number of works, we have managed to jointly put together David Robilliard’s first solo show in Los Angeles.

–Chris Sharp

This exhibition is taking place in the context of a gallery share:
Hannah Hoffman, Kristina Kite, and Park View/Paul Soto

in collaboration with

Callicoon Fine Arts, Agustina Ferreyra, Jan Kaps, Lambda Lambda Lambda, Lulu, Max Mayer, Misako & Rosen, Pied-à-terre, and Tif Sigfrids.