José Damasceno’s installation in London’s Holburn Library was created to be explored by every day users of the public building. Designed to be viewed from the vision of library goers, Plot draws visitors deeper into the building on a journey which makes it difficult to fine ones bearings within the space and changing character as it does in a manner that mimics the act of reading. Works are found in different parts of the working space, co-habiting areas used for reading and research, and leading a series of linked encounters towards a former auditorium on the top floor, no longer in use. This journey is not unlike those we take in the reading of classic literature, to imagined lands and places of allegory and satire, shifting our perspective, transforming the familiar into something alien.
Inspired by the artist’s research into London’s architecture and social history, along with seemingly disparate influences that range from Jonathan Swift to Hammer Horror, under Damasceno’s interpretation, Holborn Library becomes the departure point for an excursion into a realm where two dimensions become three and one time is transposed onto another.
Plot is commissioned and produced by Artangel with the support of the José Damasceno Supporters’ Circle and The Henry Moore Foundation and in partnership with London Borough of Camden.
José Damasceno is an artist whose work across sculpture, installation, drawing and collage is characterised by an enormous generosity of humour and play. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1968, where he continues to live and work, he represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and is today considered one of the foremost artists of his generation. International exhibitions of his work include those at the Centro Cultural São Paulo (2012), Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (2008) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2004). Artangel is pleased to present Damasceno’s first major exhibition in the UK: Plot at Holborn Library.
For the past 20 years Artangel have commissioned and produced exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists in London and all over the world. Their remit is to respond to buildings and sites that change our general perception of the works of art shown or the locations they are presented with/in. Previous pieces Artangel have produced include first female Turner Prize winner Rachel Whiteread and her infamous ‘House’, Roger Hiorns’ ‘Seizure’ which has since been moved to Yorkshire Sculpture Park as a permanent piece and the amazing ‘Spectra’ which appeared in the London night sky to commemorate the anniversary of WW1 earlier this year.
José Damasceno: Plot Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Road London WC1X 8PA 3 October – 23 November 2014