Economist Plaza Exhibition: Karen Tang – Toile de Dexion

12 June 2006—14 July 2006

Consultancy, Economist Plaza

The Economist Plaza
25 St James's Street
London, SW1A 1HG United Kingdom

An abstract geometric form, with an Art Deco aura of elegance and purity, is presented at the Plaza, its silver bolts proudly exposed, displaying its basic fabrication process with bold Constructivist confidence. Dexion steel racks, usually employed for shelving units, have been adapted to create an arrangement of parallelograms and voids. As the viewer walks around it, the sculpture morphs into multiple compositions and interweaves a new blend of backdrops.

Wrapped in the ornate cream, blue and white pattern of Toile de Jouy wallpaper, from afar the work exudes a porcelain-like delicacy and becomes camouflaged, merging with the tonalities of the surrounding glazing, bricks and stone. On closer inspection the Toile De Jouy design comes into focus, presenting idyllic rural scenes that jar with the formality of the outdoor corporate city environment.

Karen Tang’s sculpture idiosyncratically portrays a fusion of references from Asian and European decorative arts, architecture and popular culture. Toile de Jouy, manufactured in France from around 1780 following the French prohibition of trade with India, is here combined with Dexion, a British mid 19th Century invention. Both these materials continue to appear in modern day homes, offices and fashion.

Tang explains: “My sculptures aim to disturb expectations… Industrial structures are combined with unlikely surfaces or imagery… Jolting expectations in this way prompts alternative narratives and understanding of the elements selected “.


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