This work is part of Settings, a series of eight works by Magali Reus. In each, she uses the road sign as a constitutive shape within which are assembled various disparate elements. For Settings (Plums), onto a powder-coated steel base that has been lacquered and overlaid with a UV-print, she has inset 3D printed resin partial reproductions of a candelabra and a fabric napkin with a ring. As is typical of her working method, Reus has devolved the manufacturing of the different elements of this piece and then brought them together in the studio. The Delftware-inspired pattern detail, for example, has been executed by hand by an industrial-design painter who specialises in the coating of bowling balls.
Settings (Plums) brings together a variety of symbols that suggest a riddle of meanings. The artwork’s base form of the no-parking road sign contrasts with the title suggestive of a table setting. Further references to the dinner table are made by the resin candelabra and napkin, along with the partial glimpse of Delftware, which evoke a bourgeois dining environment. The fact that these are made of industrial materials, rather than the original glazed clay, silver, and fine cloth of the objects themselves imbues a further layer of incongruity. This can likewise be said of the partially-reproduced text on the upper-right, which the artist found on a community-centre board and has applied by hand with a Surrealist décollé aesthetic. The French reads as ‘you...like...if you had been condemned’, suggesting individuals deprived of freedom, which when considered in association with the ‘no parking’ directive evokes the question of access. The invitation to the dinner table is ambivalent.
Born in The Hague, Magali Reus lives and works in London. She studied Fine Art at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2001-2), at Goldsmiths College, London (2002-2008) and at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2013-4). Recent solo exhibitions include Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, USA (forthcoming, 2020); Galerie Eva Presenhuber, New York, USA (2019); South London Gallery (2019); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2017); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland (2017); and The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2016). Her work has been included in numerous international group exhibitions, with recent shows at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019); Backlitt, Nottingham (2019); Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham (2018), and Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (2018). Reus was shortlisted for the 2018 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.
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