Sunday, 9 June 2013

Cage Fighters Add Punch to New Chatsworth Exhibition

A new exhibition by the young British artist Emma McGuire inspired by her time immersed within New York’s cage-fighter subculture, will open at Chatsworth on 11 July and run through until 8 November 2013.

Through McGuire’s characteristic use of photographic and mono-lithographic printing techniques the exhibition, titled ‘XXXX’ aims to challenge established ideas around male identity, violence and beauty.  McGuire’s work explores the inherent tension between society’s perceptions of cage-fighters and the reality of their personal narratives.

The ‘XXXX’ exhibition features large-scale, abstracted images of cage fighters in combat captured in Atlantic City, New Jersey during 2011 and hand-processed throughout 2012.

McGuire, who grew up in Nottingham but is half-American, divides her time between London and New York, which is where her interest in the subject was initially sparked by regular visits to the famous Renzo Gracie Fight Club. There she met the Gracie family, known for their founding of Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well as their success in combat sport competitions.

“There is a long standing tradition of gladiatorial games, predating antiquity, which is now being popularised in contemporary TV series like ‘Spartacus’. How comfortable we feel about our spectatorship, which is essentially voyeuristic, of this often violent sport is an overlooked factor in the continuation of the tradition,” says McGuire.

“Although my initial focus was capturing the fighters during the photographic stage, interestingly it was during the printing process that the spectators emerged as a parallel subject matter – and our voyeuristic nature as human beings became amplified.”
The resultant pictures were further developed using McGuire’s unique mono-lithographic technique, which progressively degrades the original plate producing a slightly different image each time. These abstracted, long exposure images have been developed into a variety of sizes, with some of the artworks over a metre high, and will be displayed in the North Sketch Gallery at Chatsworth.

McGuire first met the Duke of Devonshire while studying at the Royal College of Art and over the years he became an admirer and collector of her work. “I acquired several artworks from Emma McGuire’s ‘Warrior’ exhibition in 2012 and it was there that we began to talk about a new show for Chatsworth. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to make it happen with XXXX and that more people will get to see her provocative but beautiful work.”

XXXX is a solo exhibition of Emma McGuire’s work ( and entry is free with the purchase of a ‘House and Garden’ ticket. It includes predominantly new pictures as well as some images seen as part of the ‘Warrior’ joint exhibition with the artiste Echo Morgan at Blackhall Studios, London during October 2012.

Other exhibitions at Chatsworth:

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669): Drawings – ‘Views from the riverbank: landscapes by Rembrandt’
. 10 March – 31 July 2013 in the Old Master Drawings Cabinet. Rembrandt’s often deceptively simple style and the spontaneity and economy with which he sketched is evident in this display of ten landscape drawings. This is the first time they have been displayed for visitors at Chatsworth since they were purchased by the second Duke of Devonshire in 1724/25.

Beyond Limits (9 Sept – 27 Oct)
– monumental sculpture exhibition in the garden including leading artists from around the world. In recent years the exhibition has included new work from Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn amongst others.

Modern Makers (18 Sept – 23 Dec)
- For the first time contemporary applied art will be shown in the New Gallery. Makers including Joseph Walsh, Maisie Broadhead and Junko Mori will create furniture, ceramics, metalwork and textiles to deliver a fresh take on Chatsworth’s State Rooms.

No comments:

Post a Comment