26 January – 4 March 2023
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Catharine Czudej (b. 1985, lives and works in New York) presents Happy Birthday. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with Josh Lilley and the first major presentation of Czudej’s work within the UK.
Oversized, silhouetted figures cast in sandblasted aluminium stand and kneel in the space. Arms outstretched, bouquets of flowers are offered or weigh them to the floor. Their billowed forms - recalling the balloon models of children’s birthday parties - assume an exaggerated anatomical frame; a distorted metric by which the viewer can reinterpret those objects in view.
Swamp coolers release bursts of shimmer from repurposed domestic cool-boxes. Their debris carpets the floor and accumulates in crystalline mounds, gently obfuscating pathways. Viewers are invited to pass through an iridescent waterfall and explore darker corners, accompanied by the muffled hum of these makeshift machines.
Adorning the walls, a series of paintings rendered in bismuth and aluminium absorb the gallery’s light patterns and the aspect of anything in their path. These bejewelled, mirrored surfaces and obliterated forms emerge through a pseudo-industrial process involving atomic crystallization and plasma cutting; re-engineering one of earth’s most stable elements to take on artifactual form.
Happy Birthday is a proverbial wonderland - an elysium where the proximity of experience is rolled out as its own agentic force. Through a confabulation of materials, scales, form and function, Czudej presents an adjunct proposition; a place where everything is up for grabs.
Catharine Czudej was born in 1985 in Johannesburg, South Africa and graduated from UCLA, Los Angeles and NYU, New York. Czudej has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions as well as a participant in a number of critically acclaimed group shows, nationally and internationally. Previous solo exhibitions include Hippie Puke, Egan and Rosen, New York (2021), Homeowner, Todd Von Ammonn, Washington DC (2020), Imagine all the People, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2019), SHHHHHH, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2016), Look Who’s Coming To Dinner, Office Baroque, Brussels (2016), Belly-Up Dead, CHEWDAY’S, London (2015) and Bite into that soft ass, Ramiken Crucible, New York (2013). Recent group exhibitions include Averard, Ramiken, Averard Hotel, London (2022), World Peace, MoCA, Westport (2020), Frieze Projects (curated by Ali Subotnick), Frieze Art Fair, Los Angeles (2019), The Party (curated by Ali Subotnick), Anton Kern, New York (2018), Pine Barrens, Tanya Bonakdar, New York (2018), The Commodification of Love, Kammel Menour, Paris (2017), Inside Out, Eva Presenhuber Gallery, Zurich (2016), Dolores, Team Gallery, New York (2016), ARSC km15.1 simulation, Ramiken Crucible, New York (2014), Chat Jet – sculpture in reflection Part 2, Künstlerhaus, Graz (2014), Everything falls faster than an anvil, Pace Gallery, London (2014).