Alex Israel - New Waves

Artworks © Alex Israel. Photo: Jeff McLane

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Opening reception:
Thursday, May 24, 6–8pm

I’m not really a surfer but I often think about my approach as related to surfing: I’m on a wave, and I either go with it or I don’t. In some ways, I find it interesting to let myself go with it, to see where it goes and to see how it works. Maybe that gives me the energy or the fuel to be able to carve into it, or to do tricks on it, or to change things up without fighting it.
—Alex Israel

Gagosian is pleased to present New Waves by Alex Israel, his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong.

In Israel’s work, Los Angeles is both city and symbol, reality and fantasy. Brightly colored California sunsets become cinematic backdrops, glimpses of the beach appear in portraits and vignettes, and Hollywood’s mythologies shed light on the American dream itself, embodied by celebrity culture, surfer optimism, and the pursuit of luxury and thrill.

New Waves includes multimedia works related to Israel’s first feature-length film, SPF-18 (2017), a teenage romantic comedy touching on themes of love and loss, with the beating sun and crashing waves of the LA coast giving each scene an ethereal, nostalgic quality. While shooting the film, Israel noticed pelicans silhouetted against the sky or swooping in at the edge of the frame. The closest living species to pterodactyls, these long-beaked birds signal a prehistoric time, suggesting a natural continuity at work within the world’s entertainment capital. Pelican (2017), suspended from the gallery ceiling, is a lifelike interactive sculpture of a California brown pelican. At the pull of a string hanging from the bird’s abdomen, its wings flap, its head nods, and its eyes blink rhythmically, slowing down until coming to a stop. The pelican appears again in a short animated video, to be released online on May 24, in which neon lights, newspaper headlines, and art historical references flash into view, showing Israel’s deep attunement to the intersection of media, history, and visual pleasure.

In SPF-18, protagonist Johnny Sanders, Jr., dreams of a giant animated wave, evoking the sublime power of the ocean, yet imagining this force as a stylized representation, blurring the boundaries between natural and artificial spectacles. Israel expands on this same graphic in his Waves, which incorporate the colors and textures of surfing equipment, from surfboards to slick wetsuits. To form the wave logo, pieces of neoprene were sewn together and stretched over canvas supports. Subsequently, these forms were cast in fiberglass resin and airbrushed in bright gradients, creating eye-catching tableaux that recall Hokusai’s famous woodblock print Under the Wave off Kanagawa (c. 1830–32), as well as the work of West Coast artist and surfer Ken Price.

New Waves marks the debut of Israel’s Los Angeles–based clothing brand, Infrathin, with unisex apparel available for sale in a pop-up store in the gallery’s lobby.

Alex Israel was born in 1982, in Los Angeles, where he currently lives. Collections include Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Solo exhibitions include Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2013); Sightings: Alex Israel, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX (2015–16); Alex Israel at The Huntington, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA (2015); #AlexIsrael, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (2016); Using Walls, Floors and Ceilings, Jewish Museum, New York (2016–17); and Waves, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2018). Israel’s first feature-length film, SPF-18, was released in September 2017 and is available on iTunes and Netflix.



—亞歷克斯‧伊斯雷爾(Alex Israel)

高古軒畫廊欣然呈獻亞歷克斯‧伊斯雷爾(Alex Israel)在香港的首場個展——「新浪潮」展覽。



《SPF-18》的主角Johnny Sanders Jr.幻想有一股動畫巨浪,召喚出海洋的崇高力量,卻將此能量想象成獨具一格的表現形式,從而模糊自然與人工景觀的界限。伊斯雷爾在《浪潮》系列作品中沿用此圖形,並融入衝浪板、潛水服等衝浪裝備的色彩及質感。潛水布料拼湊縫製在一起,然後像畫布一樣裱在畫框上從而形成波浪標誌。隨後利用玻璃纖維樹脂鑄造作品,再利用噴槍營造漸變色效果,呼應葛飾北齋的著名浮世繪作品《神奈川衝浪裡》(約1830–1832年)和西岸藝術家兼滑浪好手肯尼斯‧普萊斯(Ken Price)的作品。


亞歷克斯‧伊斯雷爾於1982年生於洛杉磯,現於當地定居。他的作品獲多間博物館收藏,包括洛杉磯縣立美術館、洛杉磯當代藝術博物館、紐約所羅門‧古根漢美術館、紐約惠特尼美國藝術博物館、紐約現代藝術博物館、巴黎龐畢度中心、斯德哥爾摩現代藝術博物館及鹿特丹博伊曼斯‧范伯寧恩美術館。其個展包括法國第戎Le Consortium(2013年)、德州達拉斯納希爾雕塑中心「Sightings: Alex Israel」展覽(2015至2016年)、加州聖瑪利諾漢庭頓圖書館、藝術館及植物園「Alex Israel at The Huntington」展覽(2015年)、奧斯陸Astrup Fearnley Museet「#AlexIsrael」展覽(2016年)及紐約猶太博物館「Using Walls, Floors and Ceilings」展覽(2016至17年)、奧地利因斯布魯克博物館「浪潮」展覽(2018年)。伊斯雷爾首部長篇電影《SPF-18》於2017年9月上映,並於iTunes 及Netflix有售。


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