Fictional Neighbors is an exhibition of a new body of works by British artist, Gerard Williams
When the artist gained early acclaim for solo shows in commercial galleries in London, his work most often dealt with evocative encounters of found objects (or ready-made components), with purpose-built, crafted elements that Williams produced using a diversity of furniture-making, carpentry, and upholstering techniques, for example.
Williams’s practice rapidly evolved away from the gallery context. His preoccupations migrated towards more conceptual, site-specific, often monumental works, made with a variety of materials and conceptual intentions, and produced for a range of alternative venues, art centers and museums. In Münster, the artist proposed a large-scale structure that was a three dimensional rendering of a shape made by taking the average conception of the citizens’ plan of the city. In a similar way, for the exhibition, Taking Form at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, Williams used stretched fabric to create a curtain reconstructing the Scottish border at a scale allowing it to fit into the exhibition space. Most recently, for Beacon in the Lincolnshire countryside, medieval, roofless South Kyme Tower was given a vast bright red lining, transforming the experience of visiting the building.
Over the last three years, Williams has focused a good deal of his attention on Interior Worlds, a series of ongoing site-specific installations commissioned for a touring ex_hibition by museums in the United Kingdom as well as by the Kaunas Biennial in Lithuania. _The Interior Worlds installations are created behind existing, mostly domestic, vacant windows, usually in close proximity to the hosting museum. In these works, Williams “dresses” the windows with fabric, curtains and found objects, in order to indicate the fictional presence of unknown inhabitants, apparently living in these previously unoccupied spaces. The artist is particularly interested, here, in the discretion of an almost subliminal intervention in the public urban context, challenging preconceptions through the exploration of a few of the still unchartered stretches of the nomansland between art and life.
For this new exhibition, Gerard Williams has reformulated these interests specifically for the gallery setting, and in so doing, reunites with some of his earliest concerns. In Fictional Neighbors, the artist has made a new series of “windows”, floating with even stronger ambiguity between what the artist has fabricated, found, modified, transformed, or simply acquired “off the shelf” from a supplier. In this way, Williams’s recipe for this new series of works mixes sculptural trompe l’oeil with the ready-made, appropriation with subtly incorporated fine craftsmanship, as well as artistic license with what could even be seen as stirrings of a kind of social super-realism. This mixture is sprinkled with a good deal of poetry and humor and held together by an intriguing subtext of partly ironic inquiry into the nature of wall-based, “gallery art”, and its history.