Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release

Saturday, Sep 29, 2018 – Mar 10, 2019

220 E. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

This fall, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Italian-born, London-based Enrico David, who has distinguished himself as one of the most original and fascinating artists working today. Using a wide range of media, David's imagery revolves around the human figure and its many states of being, creating an encyclopaedic yet extremely personal accounting for the human form, from fragile and vulnerable to grotesque, tortured, and ecstatic. Named after his sculpture of the same name, Gradations of Slow Release characterizes the circular process of his work where imagery and ideas slowly morph and evolve over time into different but related forms. Exploring the connections between privacy, introspection, interiority, and disembodiment, this survey traces David's work over almost 20 years starting with Untitled (1999). Organized by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling, Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release runs from September 29, 2018 - March 10, 2019 at the MCA and from April 2 - September 19, 2019 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Themes of physical transition and transformation are tangible throughout David's work, for example in his small-scale sculpture, The Assumption of Weee. The sculpture shows figures in phases of development as the figure grows out of the ground, or decline as it descends into a shapeless mass. With this and other works, such as The Incessant, David explores the circular evolution of life in a way that resembles stop-motion animation, or a sci-fi scene of zombie regeneration.

Gradations of Slow Release features drawing, sculpture, painting, tapestry, and installation works in conversation with each other--often as variations of similar ideas, shapes, and forms. Rooted in the act of drawing, this survey showcases the range of David's processes and technical skill in a wide variety of materials and styles, from the figurative to the abstract.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with a special visual contribution from Enrico David, an essay by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling, and a conversation between Mark Beasley, Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the artist.

Enrico David (Italian, b. 1966) lives and works in London, where he obtained his BA in sculpture from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in 1994. David has exhibited at venues around the world, including the Saatchi Gallery, Galerie Neu, and the Venice Biennale, and has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum, Tate Britain, the Hammer Museum, and Seattle Art Museum. His work is in the collection of the MCA Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Hammer Museum, and Tate Modern among others. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009 and exhibited at the Turner Contemporary that year alongside other nominees.