Anton Alvarez: Tight Squeeze is on view at Huxley-Parlour Gallery, London
July 15 – September 11, 2021
Huxley-Parlour presents an exhibition by Swedish-Chilean artist, Anton Alvarez. The first floor of the gallery is taken over by eleven heavily textured and coloured ceramic towers. Tight Squeeze showcases Alvarez’ largest and most complex fired ceramics yet.
Alvarez’ machinery is at the centre of his practice, operating in a symbiotic relationship with the sculptures they produce. Each of the ceramics are created by a custom machine built by the artist himself, which extrudes clay through tailored moulds under heavy pressure. The squeezed clay drops onto a platform, which can be adjusted in height to create stretched sculptures of different lengths. Here, the alethic factors of chance and variation dictate the outcome of Alarez’ work, placing him in the artistic milieu of makers like Max Ernst, Andre Masson, and the fluxus artists. Alvarez’ sculptures are then glazed, petrified in the shape they have fallen into. Hence, Alvarez’ practice raises questions about the boundaries between mechanical production and craftsmanship.
Alvarez likens his sculptures to alien, organic lifeforms that appear to grow by themselves. Placed on top of plinths, Alvarez’ ceramics take on an anthropomorphic agency; their height subverts a typical subject – object relationship, as viewers feel the sculptures watch them, instead of the other way round. At this scale, Alvarez’ works broach the realm of architecture.
Anton Alvarez (b. 1980) studied at the Royal College of Art, in London, going on to exhibit internationally across Europe and the US. His work has been exhibited widely, including at Salon 94 in New York, and at Larsen Warner, Stockholm. Alvarez’ work is included in multiple prominent private collections, alongside the public collections of the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden, the Denver Art Museum, Colorado, USA, and the Rohsska Museum, Gothenburg. He lives and works in Sweden.
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Images courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery