ParisHarold Ancart: La Grande Profondeur (The Deep End)
David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new sculptures by the Belgian-born, New York–based artist Harold Ancart at the gallery’s Paris location. This will be the artist’s first solo show in Paris and will mark his third with David Zwirner since joining the gallery in 2018.
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This exhibition will feature a new group of sculptures, part of a series of works that the artist began in the summer of 2017. These three-dimensional relief forms are constructed from Styrofoam remnants from the artist’s studio, cast in concrete, and painted with rich layers and fields of color that recall the work of Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Peter Halley, and David Hockney, among other art-historical, architectural, and everyday influences, such as Carlo Scarpa and Ricardo Bofill, as well as actual swimming pools that can be observed in hotel resorts or many suburban areas around the world which are made of many different shapes, sizes, and materials, from the finest marble to the simplest plastic.
The pools’ “compositions are fairly simple,” states Ancart. “The ‘basin’ can have any size and take any shape; so can the ‘staircases,’ and the color, well, the color can be anything too.” (1) Bearing the traces of their making, the pools share the surface materiality and color of the paintings for which Ancart has become best known. They function, in a sense, as relief paintings that are situated within the three-dimensional space of the viewer, while their painted surfaces offer a range of visual and formal possibilities.
“The deep end opposes itself to the shallow end,” says Ancart. “One may rightfully argue that these sculptures are shallow. However, these sculptures are painted. Isn’t something painted automatically granted with infinite depth?” (2)
As Laura McLean-Ferris has written about Ancart’s pool sculptures: “Featuring the bare minimum of detail, a notional basin and a couple steps, the sculpture provides an architecture for the contemplation of paint as pool.… [The] untitled work transposes painterly concerns into three dimensions.… The concrete pool, a container for pigment, becomes a locus for attention and a container for the eye to swim in.” (3) Deliberately ambiguous, the pools present numerous dualities: positive and negative space, form and surface, abstraction and figuration, and, ultimately, sculpture and painting.
In shrinking the size of a pool, Ancart amplifies its imaginative qualities, making an otherwise familiar object uncanny. While the artist has always seen painting as a means to travel, these works are also experienced as sculpture in the round, at once real and appearing perhaps as in a dream or a projection. They may not fulfill the standard promise of a pool, but “one could still invite their friends to have a drink or a cigarette around [it],” as Ancart suggests. (4)
This is the artist’s first exhibition to focus primarily on his sculptural work. It coincides with the release of Harold Ancart: Traveling Light, an exhibition catalogue for the artist’s 2020 show of the same title at David Zwirner New York, published by David Zwirner Books.
Born in Brussels in 1980, Harold Ancart received his MFA at École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre in 2007. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
In 2020, the solo exhibition Harold Ancart: Traveling Light spanned David Zwirner’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street gallery spaces in New York. Also in 2020, Harold Ancart: Pools, an online viewing room of related pool sculptures, was presented by David Zwirner Online. In 2018, David Zwirner exhibited a solo show, titled FREEZE, of new paintings by the artist at its London location.
In 2019 to 2020, Public Art Fund presented Harold Ancart: Subliminal Standard at the Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn. Ancart’s work was also featured in a solo exhibition, Harold Ancart: Untitled (there is no there there), at The Menil Collection, Houston, in 2016. The artist has participated in solo and group exhibitions around the world, including at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent (2019); Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2018); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2017); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); and WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels (2012).
Works by the artist are included in the permanent collections of numerous institutions worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; The Menil Collection, Houston; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
(1) Harold Ancart, artist statement, 2018.
(2) Ancart, in conversation with the gallery, August 2021.
(3) Laura McLean-Ferris, “Contre-Jour,” in Harold Ancart: Traveling Light. Exh. cat. (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2021), p. 69 (forthcoming).
(4) Ancart, artist statement, 2018.
© Harold Ancart/ SABAM, Brussels. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner