Opening Valentine's Day: House of the Sleeping Beauties at Sotheby's S│2 Gallery

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, June 1, 2023

Opening Valentine's Day: House of the Sleeping Beauties at Sotheby's S│2 Gallery
Jack Bilbo, Fascination, 1953. Courtesy Sotheby's.

LONDON.- This Valentine’s Day, S|2 London presents House of the Sleeping Beauties, an exhibition of thought-provoking works which touch upon the concepts of the erotic, the body, surrealism, performance, and theatricality in art from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Occupying the entire gallery, the show brings together an eclectic host of artists for the very first time, placing them in an egalitarian dialogue with one another; from Marcel Duchamp, whose most famous work Fountain propelled him to international fame in 1917 and rendered him a figure of momentous art historical importance, to contemporary artists Issy Wood, whose work was recently shown in Virginia Woolf, An Exhibition Inspired by Her Writings at Tate St Ives and The Fitzwilliam Museum, and Diane Kotila, whose works were discovered by S2 on Instagram (@letterofresignation), but have never before been exhibited publicly. The show also draws on pioneering artists of the sixties and seventies, with works by Natalia LL and Renate Bertlmann – the latter of whom was the subject of S|2’s gallery programme inauguration in 2017, and who has since gained international recognition; she will represent Austria in the forthcoming Venice Biennale.

House of the Sleeping Beauties features works from twenty-eight artists in a range of media, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography and prints. The works are linked by a thread of suggestive eroticism, bound within an all-encompassing dreamlike haze. Each work is immersed in a dusky-blue gallery, teasingly obscured by midnight blue translucent curtain partitions, so that what might ordinarily be tangible is just beyond full comprehension – like remembering a dream.

From the moment the visitor first enters the gallery, they are confronted with Thomas Woolner’s nude statuette Puck (1865) – the “merry wanderer of the night”, immediately igniting the association of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, founded in 1848, the group drew heavily on Shakespeare, basing many of their works on the fantastical characters and incidents from his plays. The oldest work in the exhibition, Puck is the first key to unlocking the games of fantasy, love and dreams held within the gallery, just as he does in Shakespeare’s most beguiling comedy.

From there the dreamlike obscurity continues to saturate the space, with purposefully hung partitions guiding the visitor’s eye from artwork to artwork. Striking pieces by Kurt Seligmann reflect the mystical and frightening visions of his subconscious, and hang in dialogue with works by John Tweddle, whose impressions of his father spill onto the canvas in rough-edged brushstrokes, with a dark and hellish complexity. House of the Sleeping Beauties also showcases a selection of photographs by ULAY whose work straddles the intersection of photography, performance and body art. Among those presented is White Mask (1973/2016), the product of a long-term collaboration with Marina Abramović who, together, focus on pushing the physical limitations of the mind and body.

House of the Sleeping Beauties is accompanied by a reprint of Yasunari Kawabata’s provocative 1961 novella of the same name. Suffused with a melancholic lyricism and a preoccupation with death, Kawabata tells the tale of a lonely man, Yoshio Eguchi, who keeps returning to the House of the Sleeping Beauties - where men pay to sleep beside young virgins - as his dreams subsume his reality. Intertwining themes of life and death, sex and desire, and fantasy and reality, Eguchi searches to understand his past through memories prompted by the presence of the sleeping woman, before accepting his eventual death. The reimagined cover is pertinently emblazoned with Joseph Cornell’s exquisitely disturbing dreamscape, an unexpected interlacing of structural formations interrupted by a surreal stream of flies.

As in Kawabata’s story, the works presented at S|2 together allude to a convergence of many dreams or perhaps, more simply, to being caught in an endless alternate universe. Diverse in both geographical and temporal terms, the artworks in this provocative exhibition exist in a state of open-endedness, coaxing discreet visual connections at all times, bleeding from the corporeal reality to the unconscious dream-state.

The exhibition includes: Billy Apple, Sue Barnes, Renate Bertlmann, Jack Bilbo, Flávio de Carvalho, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, Lili Dujourie, Rose English, Wally Hedrick, Běla Kolářová, Diane Kotila, Friedl Kubelka, Katalin Ladik, Sherrie Levine, Natalia LL, Pierre Molinier, Tony Morgan, Walter Pfeiffer, Francis Picabia, Kurt Seligmann, Andrew Sherwood, Penny Slinger, John Tweddle, ULAY, Keith Vaughan, Issy Wood and Thomas Woolner.

Today's News

February 14, 2019

First exhibition of its kind pairs classic cars and Postwar paintings

Axel Rüger leaves the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Gagosian presents selected photographs by David Bailey

Exhibition explores Botticelli's revolutionary narrative paintings

Getty Foundation announces grants to support digital mapping of important cultural heritage sites

Two-part exhibition is the first museum presentation of Roni Horn's drawings in the United States

Andrew Jones Auctions' Design for the Home & Garden Auction is full of curated collections

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents monumental sculptures by Bruno Gironcoli

Opening Valentine's Day: House of the Sleeping Beauties at Sotheby's S│2 Gallery

Pirelli HangarBicocca opens a solo show of works by Giorgio Andreotta Calò

Michel Rein Gallery opens exhibition of works by Michel Rein Gallery

Exhibition presents collection highlights within five approaches to subject matter long explored by artists

One of London's oldest charities, The House of St Barnabas, sell part of Contemporary art collection

Woody Auction announces art glass auction packed with many genres

Young Swedish photographer Erik Johansson opens first exhibition in Russia

Moscow Museum of Modern Art extensive solo project of Estonian artist Jaan Toomik

Cultural Center of Namur presents a group exhibition questioning the condition of the human body

Powerful Lynette Yiadom-Boakye painting offered at Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Sale

Industrial photo archive for sale at Swann Auction Galleries brings Britain's 1920's factories to life

TJ Boulting opens 'Subversive Stitch', a group show of textile-based works

Visions of the future transform Whitechapel Gallery

A radically flexible space: Brown, REX preview Performing Arts Center design

'Victoria Cabezas and Priscilla Monge: Give Me What You Ask For' on view at Americas Society

MCA Denver opens three new exhibitions

Is Ashwagandha really works for better sleep?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful