Stories is a space for details, ideas, history and exclusive sales

Missing caption

Nick Goss

Green Lanes

Green Lanes. It sounds pastoral, nostalgic, faintly utopian – like some network of ancient drovers’ tracks and holloways that endures furtively in a pocket of deep England. But Green Lanes could hardly be further from such a place: it is a drawn-out urban thoroughfare, which slices for miles through the suburbs of north London, abutted by old retail parades, housing estates and supermarkets, by ranks of semi-detached houses and parks that renounced their claims to rural retreat well over a century ago.

24 September 2020

Missing caption

Christof Mascher

Presence Above All

Christof Mascher’s Street turns river, a 2015 painting in oil on board, is an urban nocturne washed with the pale purply blue that belongs only to a clear night beneath a big moon. Gas streetlamps set cream-coloured orbs on either side of the scene, repoussoir glass gems from a European city of the 1820s. A boulevard carves through the landscape, parcelling it up. The painting is tight, everything in its proper place.

7 September 2020

Missing caption

Gareth Cadwallader

Painting in the world, around the world

Shortly after the opening of Half-Lowered Eyelids, his first solo exhibition at Josh Lilley in January 2019, Gareth Cadwallader left his South London home to paint in the world. A painter with a meticulous, private methodology in art and life, the following images are all that we know about the genesis of the three works ultimately presented at Art Basel Miami Beach in December of that year.

25 August 2020

Missing caption

Nicholas Hatfull

Sky and vapour

Josh Lilley first showed Nicholas Hatfull's iPad sky drawings — unique archival pigment prints on Somerset paper, modest but glowing — in the 2019 group show of painters' preparatory works Preparing for What. A year later we are proud to introduce and offer the first large oils derived from this daily digital practice.

25 August 2020

Missing caption

Derek Fordjour

SHELTER

SHELTER, Derek Fordjour's 2020 solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, was both a compact survey of the artist's recent work and a site-specific installation that placed the viewer in a position of temporary safety from a heavy storm.

25 August 2020

Missing caption

Ryan Mosley

What People Do

A year ago, Ryan Mosley was approached by the Contemporary Art Society, a heritage charity and consultancy that acquires British artworks for public display around the nation, to submit a proposal for the lobby of a skyscraper growing in London. This skyscraper, 22 Bishopsgate, would be second in size, nationwide, to Renzo Piano’s Shard, and would dwarf the landmarks of the city’s colossus-choked financial center. Paintings, thought this painter of paintings, would not fit for this space.

25 August 2020

Missing caption

Ian Davis

Cruise Ship

Initiated in late 2019 and finished in June 2020, Ian Davis’ Cruise Ship evolved through a changing global reality, and the artist's iconic figures in matching clothes never arrived, never populated the scene. The cruise ship became a ghost ship — its trajectory, its past and its future, elusive. The rippling wake signals motion, but its unclear who is steering.

24 August 2020

Missing caption

Nicholas Hatfull

An Autumn Afternoon

There’s an alley that reappears in Nicholas Hatfull’s recent paintings. It is an alley from An Autumn Afternoon (1962), Yasujirō Ozu’s final film.

24 August 2020

Missing caption

Kathleen Ryan

The Journey of Bad Melon (Party Girl)

Altogether more moist and pulpy than the citrus fruits with which the series debuted at Josh Lilley in October 2018, the Bad Melon works conjure another tangible, tactile aspect of ‘badness’.

24 August 2020

Missing caption

Kathleen Ryan

Ghost Palm

Kathleen Ryan’s Ghost Palm was commissioned in 2019 for the second edition of the biennial Desert X, an exhibition of site-responsive artworks in Southern California’s Coachella valley in the spring of 2019. A lifesize rendering of the Washingtonia filifera (desert palm) in steel, plastics and glass, Ghost Palm sat along the San Andreas Fault, the meeting point of two tectonic plates.

24 August 2020

Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour
Installation view of The House Always Wins at Josh Lilley, presenting Derek Fordjour

Artworks

Rower by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Carnival I by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Carnival II by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Jamestown Champ by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Conductor by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Southside Row Club by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Pomp and Regalia by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Colonial Headdress (after Cecil J. Rhodes) by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Southeastern Semi-Finals by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Highstep Double by Derek Fordjour, 2019
The Ringmaster & The Rider by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Burden Cycle II (Blue) by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Anderson Memorial by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Pringle Memorial by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Edwards Memorial by Derek Fordjour, 2019
Currie Memorial by Derek Fordjour, 2019

Derek Fordjour

The House Always Wins

4 October – 16 November 2019

Josh Lilley is proud to present The House Always Wins, American artist Derek Fordjour’s first full solo exhibition in the UK.

The exhibition comprises a new series of paintings across the two floors of our 44-46 Riding House Street galleries, an immersive installation entitled In Memoriam inaugurating our new 40-42 Riding House Street space, and Storefront, a street-facing sculpture spanning the gallery’s extended picture windows, transforming the neighbourhood.

The House Always Wins adopts its title from the world of casino gaming and the lopsided deal of the house edge. The house edge describes the built-in advantage of a casino operation. No matter how long the player tries, no matter how much he bets, he doesn’t win. There is no way to beat the house.

The space of gaming becomes allegorical for the quandary of identity. More than a gambling term or an economic principle, within the context of Fordjour’s work the idea of The House Always Wins is also an emotional state, one that questions practical notions of fairness and equality alongside holistic, societal notions of opportunity and progress. The three discrete moods and methods of the exhibition each tie back to the theme of the crummy deal that faces the gambler or, indeed, anyone trying to beat a rigged system.

Fordjour's new paintings depict competitors and performers, protected and elevated by their uniforms, proud of their accomplishments and risking it all. They move in harmony, in the rippling diagonals of swimmers filling the lanes of a pool, or display the vanquished through their spoils, like the boxer with his championship belts draped over his shoulders. A conductor holds the actions of an undepicted orchestra at the tips of his fingers, an electric place of power and responsibility. A rower, that quintessential 19th-century striver of Thomas Eakins America, is alone with the water. The boats name is Ayiti, the French Creole word for Haiti.

Storefront, the sculpture across the gallery’s newly extended facade, is an artwork and spectacle that meets the people on the street 24 hours a day. Pulling from the commercial practice of window display and advertising, Fordjour presents a collection of nearly 1500 individual units populated with miniature handblown glass balloons and figurines cast in plaster, dirt, resin and iron. Blinking lights beckon the attention of passersby in red and blue drawn from the colours of the Union Jack, the stars and stripes, and the democratic ideals first espoused by the French. The wooden structure is a stripped, calcifying white, a pointed reference to a growing tide of racial and ethnic animus taking the form of aggressive anti-immigration policy in the western world.

In Memoriam, the installation in the new galleries, is an enclosed spiral canopy draped in industrial tent fabric. The floor is packed dirt. A succession of sculptures of a hanging bust, suspended in a bicycle-tire halo, lead to a ferris wheel, rotating slowly, with glass balloons hanging down. A South African Methodist hymn plays. Small spotlights on the sculptures are the only light. Incense burns.

The installation is an internal, personal space, inspired by Fordjour's recent travel through South Africa, where the artist visited townships in Cape Town, the diamond mines of Kimberely, and Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. While on this journey researching the history of Apartheid and its subsequent societal effects, Fordjour suffered the loss of a childhood friend. Unable to attend the funeral and thousands of miles that day from the place he knows as home, Fordjour wept when he heard the hymn, Letsha, that plays in the space. In Memoriam encapsulates the grief of personal loss and the historical magnitude of black suffering, and he offers it as a public shrine and place of momentary reflection.

Derek Fordjour (b. 1974, Memphis, Tennessee) is a graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta; the Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; and Hunter College, New York. He has received commissions for public projects from the Whitney Museum Billboard Project and from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City for a permanent installation at the 145th Street Subway Station in Harlem. He was the 2016 Sugar Hill Museum Artist in-Residence, a resident of the 2017 Sharpe Walentas Studio Program in New York City, and was awarded the 2018 Deutsche Bank NYFA Fellowship. His work is held in collections throughout Europe and the United States, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Perez Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Fordjour frequently serves as a lecturer at institutions and as a Core Critic at Yale University School of Art. In January 2020 he will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis.