Private Song I

DOOSAN Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Collective exhibition, with artists RYU Biho, James Clarkson, Valerian Goalec,
Jinseung Jang, Jaehee Jung, Alexia Laferté Coutu, Eduardo Leon, Ana Wild.
Curated by Honggyun Mok 
July 22 - August 19, 2020

St James’ Park Drinking Fountain : Vessels
plâtre, fibre de verre, argile rouge | plaster, fiberglass, red clay deposits

St James’ Park Drinking Fountain : Reclining leaves
verre coulé, laiton | cast glass, brass

‘In residence at Unit 1 Gallery (UK), Alexia Laferte Coutu began researching the many drinking fountains that mark the landscape of London. Dating from the late 19th century, these fountains were erected by the hundreds as an initiative of an association operating under the anodyne moniker of the Metropolitan Drinking fountain and Cattle Trough Association, following the major cholera outbreak in London of 1853-54. As the spread of the disease began to be associated with contaminated water from wells and pumps, these fountains were installed to purify and promote access to clean water. Often annexed to churches, or integrated into their architecture, these fountains - in practice and theory - mirrored both the political and the religious and spiritual philosophies of the time. Focussing on redemption and “purification”, the fountains underscored the hygienist wave that overtook London in the second half of the 19th century.

Laferte Coutu applies clay poultices to architectural markers on a landscape and fills them with glass, creating semi-transparent negatives that mimic their origin vessels. Here, plaster casts stand alongside a glass offering; the two elements are drawn from an imprint of leaves taken at the St James’ Park Drinking Fountain in London. Displayed as a network of repetitions in a horizontal relationship to the earth, these vessels and their bearings invoke their own language of redemption; by seeking knowledge through a process of circlusion, they offer a reparation or reversal. Viewers are invited to face the cumulative effects of opaque chapters in human history; the nested elements conjuring uncomfortable questions about inheritance, while offering translucent votives against legacy and the monument.’

Text by Danielle St-Amour

Exhibition views : printframe