Artist: Keith Farquhar
Exhibition title: Coders Reuse Us
Curated by: Moritz Scheper
Venue: Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Germany
Date: February 29 – May 31, 2020
Photography: All images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Neuer Essener Kunstverein
Keith Farquhar’s work engages with everyday objects, materials and technological processes. It aims to advance the proposition of the Duchampian readymade and to distill and re-imagine the artistic gesture in ways that are speculative & open-ended. The often overlooked cultural signifiers that shape his work are the same components that form the background ambience of contemporary life, each providing clues to activities personally undertaken or observed first-hand. In recent exhibitions at Cabinet, London and High Art, Paris, everyday phenomena such as doing the laundry, the daily commute on public transport, the use of meditation apps and respite from stress regularly taken at a municipal sauna provide starting points for sculptural and pictorial experimentation.
Within this latest body of work, there is a return to working with clothing – material that’s been fundamental to Farquhar’s practice for over 20 years. The white T shirts here are stretched and painted with transparent acrylic medium – thus the paint itself remains invisible, allowing the folds, wrinkles and necklines in the abstracted cotton garments to take-on and embody the role of the indexical gesture. Urinary catheters, by-products of an ongoing medical condition, are placed in simple glass vases like blooming tulips to accompany the paintings.
Farquhar’s work is underscored by a subtle humanism – a concern for the human subject amid conditions that radically alienate us from ourselves and our environment. With this new work, the artist may be attempting to disrupt and unsettle the social conventions of the progressive classes, exposing the routines of our everyday lives to undermine our habits of tacit acceptance – seeking to reveal and highlight previously unacknowledged realities and thus generate potentials for resistance and resilience.
Farquhar’s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums that include Cabinet, London, High Art, Paris, Office Baroque, Brussels, David Zwirner, New York, Galerie Neu, Berlin, With de Witte, Rotterdam, CAPC, Bordeaux, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Kunstverein Braunschweig, INIT Kunst-Halle, Berlin and ICA London.