The light is mutable
as the tides we are
ankle-deep in dusk
our thoughts muddled (1.)
Nuno Centeno is proud to present Pale Planets, the first solo exhibition in Portugal of the Dutch, London-based artist Magali Reus. For the occasion of the exhibition Reus will be presenting a new body of photographic work.
The mushroom of sin. The mushroom of poison and pharmaceutical wizardry. The mushroom of hallucination. The mushroom of a humble meal. The mushroom of comfort, of exoticism, of extra-terrestrial song.
In Reus' new photographic series Knaves (all 2021), Reus documents an array of mushrooms with a magnified intensity that casts each as a form of intimate portrait. Shot against a backdrop of organic plant matter and synthetic t-shirts, the images collide a sense of wonder for the natural world with glimpses of typography that speak of another man-made universe of design, information and dissemination. These images might be read as technological portraits of anthropomorphic things that, while not human, are part of a system of living system of communication.
Like bodies, or speech, mushroom life occurs in rhythms, little satellites of language from the underground. Connected to vast underground chemical networks, their fungal structures link neighbouring plant life with nutrients and information. They sabotage unwelcome roots by spreading toxic chemicals, dispersing wide operational commands at odds with their stoically silent forms. There are mushrooms that grow on the belly of a mountain and others that nest deep in a forest of decaying wood. There are urban mushrooms that sprout behind a garden trashcan or bed down in the water-distressed seats of an abandoned car. Mushrooms might become instruments of spatial or social learning – they are figures in a landscape, revealing intelligence or legend, network and economy.
Mounted on powder coated steel panels whose shape and graphic layout are borrowed from agricultural soil bags, Reus further exposes the nested relationships between earth, body and language: the panels are the rough shape and size of a human torso; the soil bag packaging hints at a commercial redistribution of the very ground matter from which the mushrooms themselves spring; and the collision of steel powder coating with photographic rendering merges multiple kinds of alchemical and linguistic processing.
Reus' images mine a space somewhere between science and folklore; a forensic lens on an imagined world ripe with narrative potential.
1. Excerpt from 'Quintet for Wind and Light' by Robin Boothroyd, 2016
Magali Reus was born in Den Haag, The Netherlands in 1981, and currently lives and works in London. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, USA; Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Ghent, BE (all 2022) and CAC Synagogue de Delme, FR (2023). Recent solo shows include As mist, description, South London Gallery, London (2018); Hot Cottons, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (2017); Night Plants, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen (2017); Mustard, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); Quarters, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2016); Spring for a Ground, SculptureCenter, New York; Particle of Inch, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield; Halted Paves, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (all 2015). Reus has been included in group exhibitions and screenings at Tate Britain, London; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; ICA, London; CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson; Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, LUMA Westbau, Zürich; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporanea, Lisbon, De Appel, Amsterdam and the British Art Show 8 (touring).
Reus has been shortlisted for the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018, and was awarded the Prix de Rome 2015. Her work is included in international collections including Tate Collection, UK; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Collection CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson; Kunstmuseum Winterthur; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen; Lafayette Anticipation — Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin, Paris; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; New York David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Zabludowicz Collection, London, Sarvisalo, New York; Arts Council Collection, UK; The Government Art Collection, London.
Reus's work is featured in three monographs, printed with Sternberg Press (2018), JRP Ringier (2017) and Mousse Publishing (2016).