Focal Point Gallery is pleased to present David Mabb’s exhibition ‘Announcer’. The British artist has gained international recognition for his appropriation of the work of 19th century designer and socialist, William Morris [1834–1896].
This exhibition marks an exciting culmination of Mabb’s work which, for over fifteen years, has investigated the utopian socialist concerns in Morris’ designs by contrasting them with other forms of modernist and utopian production.
The main gallery space is dominated by a new installation of paintings entitled Announcer. Composed of thirty large canvases, the work covers three walls of the space and surrounds the audience. Each canvas is pasted with pages from facsimile editions of the Kelmscott Chaucer, a collection of works by Geoffrey Chaucer published by the Kelmscott Press , which Morris founded and worked on as a typographer and designer. Onto this surface are painted enlarged recreations of El Lissitzky’s Constructivist illustrations from Vladimir Mayakovsky’s book of revolutionary poems For the Voice .
In this work, the publications cease to be objects that can be held and digested, instead becoming an environment. Rather than simply combining the designs, Announcer interweaves and juxtaposes them. Sections of the Kelmscott Chaucer are left unpainted to disrupt the geometric Lissitzky designs. A dialogue is created between the two, which are simultaneously frozen, but never fixed, unable to fully merge or separate.
In Gallery 2 Rhythm 69  combines pages from a 1960s Morris wallpaper sample book with a Kazimir Malevich-inspired storyboard by the filmmaker and artist Hans Richter. Richter shared many ideological concerns with Russian artists working after the Revolution and these smaller-scale paintings again focus on the interrelationships between differing visual representations imagining a new world.
To accompany this exhibition, a site-specific triptych of murals painted along the Window Gallery present a series Morris patterns defined into Suprematist forms.