Late 18th century France brought us decapitation and, in equal measure, rococo, with its playful, effervescent brush strokes and soothing pastel radiance. Fragonard’s grand gesture of The Swing was as much a sweeping erotic spectacle of ancien régime courtship as it was a prologue to the sanguine collapse of the French social order. And yet, within the jardin à la française, all are subject to a rigid Cartesian logic, from the hare’s warm blood still flowing over freshly-cut grass to the upskirt hijinks of a maiden and her two male admirers.
It is from the exterior environment of the French garden to the chateau’s interior where the rococo steps in, imagineering domestic space with a complete totality, and an overwhelming compulsion to link spatial awareness with sensual cues. Gilded leaves, floral patterns, branches, tree roots and bronze cherubs become hyperlinked invitations to touch, hear, smell or taste this simulated garden of earthly delights. Unblemished mirrors are part and parcel of the experience, bouncing midsummer sunshine throughout the room’s arched surfaces and asymmetrical stucco trim—a tableau of bourgeois rituals regurgitated as decor.
The primacy of the mirror in the rococo was perhaps a reflection of the frivolity of form, yet as an interface it made viewing oneself both a social and political experience. The world made flesh reworked into the picturesque, the curious and the whimsical, atop mantels, ornamented wall panels and gallery passages. Here was a codification of the glances, winks and errant looks that sustained a social order fortunate enough to occupy this private space, and whose future slaughter would thrill a jeering public. The mirror is the same imagined site of action within which we now touch, tap, swipe and pinch, all in the hope of an immediate realization of an imponderable dream.
Anat Ebgi is pleased to present Chris Coy’s first solo show at the gallery opening September 10 and on view until October 22, 2016. Comprising a new series of painting, installation and video work, Coy expands on his previous use of themes blending frivolity with horror, sublimated psychological desire and sanctified experience. A mural-sized oil painting of airbrushed chrome mines the surface language of rococo, linking the movement’s attentiveness to sensuality and form with the overwhelmingly haptic characteristics of the modern interface. Elaborating upon these narratives are mirror installations placed at opposite ends of the gallery, one atop a mantle in the front room, while an opposing pair etched with Disney iconography flanks a video installation in the gallery’s rear. In situating his work in the rituals of social identification, beauty and superfluidity, Coy addresses how the visual paints a vector towards both unknowable and transcendent potentialities.
Chris Coy (b. 1980) lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV. Coy received his MFA at the Roski School of Visual Arts at USC in 2012. He has previously shown at institutions including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City; Torrance Art Museum, Torrance; Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam. Coy has previously shown internationally at galleries including Johan Berggren, Malmö; Michael Thibault, Los Angeles; Honor Fraser, Los Angeles; and Import Projects, Berlin. In addition to his exhibited work in galleries and institutions, Coy is also a former member of the internet art collective Nasty Nets and additionally has presented work at Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontiers in Park City, Utah, Free Form Festival, San Francisco and the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art.