artists & participants
SUPPLE EXPANSIONS draws on work by three artists from disparate positions to mold the gallery space into a portal, a somatic voyage to a dreamscape beyond the frontiers of waking cognition. Born in the mountain city of Winterthur, Switzerland in 1926, Heidi Bucher moved to California in the 1960s, where she collaborated with her husband, Carl Bucher, on a series of oversized, wearable foam sculptures. Shot on 8mm, “Body Shells” documents performers dancing across Venice Beach’s sand in Bucher’s plushy abstractions of familiar shapes. Exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1972, “Body Shells” marked the beginning of an artistic practice that spanned until her death in 1993. In her “Skinnings”, she surveyed the contiguous relationship between bodies, textile, and personal environments. Working with materials analogous to the body – liquid latex, caoutchouc, and rubber – Bucher’s peeled off casts are physical transcriptions of routine material turned poetry. Paired alongside video works by Shimabuku, and an installation by Phillip Zach, SUPPLE EXPANSIONS marks the first presentation of Bucher’s work in Los Angeles since 1972. Staging performances where the event itself defines the intention, Shimabuku encourages us to perceive the simplest experiences in life through a new lens fashioned by humored curiosity. His video “Fly with Me” (2005), documents the artist flying a kite in the shape of himself, like a rocket man soaring high above the sea through an expanse of bright blue. In “Sunrise at Mt. Artsonje” (2007), we see the artist repurposing his breakfast by holding a cutlassfish up to the dawning sun, its silvery iridescent surface serving as a heliograph. Like Bucher’s “Skinnings”, Shimabuku’s performances re-cast that which is familiar into something odd and mysterious. Zach’s contribution for SUPPLE EXPANSIONS is a landscape of modular furniture, styled into a playground. Coated in a layer of wool felt, the work is infused with natural and synthetic dyes, including a plant source for the psychedelic compound DMT and cactus lice. Emulating a large-scale model for the plasticity of the mind, and the polymorphic occurrence of waves, as in light or sound, these works echo organic architecture and utopian design. Projecting a vision of naturally reoccurring forms, they correspond to the human body’s supple physiology. Melding a vision of porous corporeality with figments of systemic structure, Zach’s immersive environment acts as an egress from static materiality.
Born in Winterthur, Switzerland, Heidi Bucher (1926-1993) moved to California in the 1960s, where she befriended Edward Kienholz and collaborated with her husband, Carl Bucher, on Bodyshells - a series of wearable sculptures exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1972. Her work has not been shown in Los Angeles since her show at LACMA. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and North America. Earlier this year, the Swiss Insitute in New York presented the first exhibition of her work at an American institution in more than forty years. In 2004, Bucher was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskurst, Zurich. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Musée d’Art Contemporain (Montreal), Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris), Museum für Gestaltung (Zurich), Kunsthaus Zurich, and the Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, among others. The Estate of Heidi Bucher is represented by Freymond Guth Fine Arts, Zurich.
Shimabuku's (1969, Japan) first large-scale survey exhibition in North America, "When Sky Became Sea", opens November 21st at Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; produced in partnership with previous solo exhibitions: "Something that Floats / Something that Sinks", Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2013) and "Flying Me", Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2014). His forthcoming show in 2015 at Freedman Fitzpatrick will be his first solo exhibition in the US. Recent solo exhibitions include: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa), Overbeck Gesellschaft (Lübeck), Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vassivière (Vassivière), CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (Bordeaux), Wilkinson Gallery (London), Air de Paris (Paris), Zero (Milan), Nogueras Blanchard (Barcelona), Barbara Wien Wilma Lukatsch (Berlin). His work has been shown in group exhibitions at Taipei Biennale, Nottingham Contemporary, Tate St.Ives, MAC Musée d’Art Contemporain (Marseilles), Sharjah Biennial 11, FRAC Ile-de-France (Paris), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the Yokohama Triennale, The National Museum of Art (Osaka), Aichi Triennale, Nagoya City Art Museum, among others.
Phillip Zach (1984, Germany) is currently based in Istanbul in a one-year residency with the Hessische Kulturstiftung (Hessian cultural grant). He studied at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg and at Hochschule für Blldende Künste, Städelschule Frankfurt, where he graduated in 2012. Previous solo exhibitions include "Content is Fiction" at New Jerseyy (Basel, 2013) and "Hospital Postures" at Johan Berggren Gallery (Malmö, 2013). His work has been shown internationally at White Flag Projects (St. Louis), Greene Naftali Gallery (New York), Sandy Brown Gallery (Berlin), Halle für Kunst (Lüneburg), Kunstraum of Leuphana University (Lüneburg), Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt, Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde, Bas Fisher Invitational Gallery (Miami) and Kunstverein Heidelberg.