Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley present Rand/Goop, a new large–scale installation at Studio Voltaire, the artists’ first institutional exhibition in London.
For this new commission, the artists will embed their works within an immersive environment for the first time, unspooling the narrative of the exhibition through a series of video sculptures, projections and wall–paintings.
The artists have created a circular narrative for six totemic video sculptures. The protagonists, all performed by Reid Kelley, speak in pithy and often capricious four–line cento poems. The contents are drawn entirely from two sources. Appraisals of Russian–American writer and philosopher Ayn Rand’s ‘Objectivism’ philosophies – limited only to evangelist scholars of her work – are spliced with titles of every article listed on the website of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle, beauty and wellness brand Goop.
Whilst these subjects are seemingly unconnected, Rand’s espousals of individualism or the virtues of ‘selfishness’ soon begin to resonate with the purchasable wellness offered by Goop. ‘Self–care’ becomes the relentless pursuit of personal betterment, sold as ‘10 ways’ to do better, to perform harder. Correspondingly, the artists’ characters speak in anxious, blustery palimpsests that swerve between implied emancipation and fear: ‘Let’s talk about a girls–only/ Libertarian alternative/ Where no innocence exists/ Without material property’.
The artists’ expansive practice collaboratively combines painting, performance and poetry. Their elaborate monochrome sets are highly stylized, making use of disorienting trompe l’oeil backdrops and models. Their works subvert and burlesque specific historical and mythological narratives. Often set during moments of political or social turbulence, the artists give voice to characters who have slipped through canonical accounts, to meditate on mortality, gender and sex.
This is the final exhibition at Studio Voltaire before the site closes to the public for a period of twelve months whilst the organisation completes The Studio Voltaire Capital Project, during which time a year–long programme of off–site commissions and projects will be presented ahead of Studio Voltaire opening again to the public in Autumn 2020, marking Studio Voltaire’s 25th anniversary.
Rand/Goop is supported by The Henry Moore Foundation.
Mary Reid Kelley (b. USA, 1979) received her BFA from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and an MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2009. She is the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Grant, has received awards from the American Academy in Rome, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and the Guggenheim Fellowship.
Patrick Kelley (b. USA, 1969) earned a BFA from St. Olaf College, Minnesota, and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. His works have been exhibited at the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information–Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley have collaborated since 2008. Recent solo exhibitions include: Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley – We Are Ghosts, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2017); Mary Reid Kelley, MUDAM Luxembourg (2017); We’re Wallowing Here In Your Disco Tent, The High Line, New York (2016); Mary Reid Kelley, M – Museum Leuven, Leuven (2016); A Marquee Piece of Sod – The WWI Films of Mary Reid Kelley, Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen (2016); Hammer Projects: Mary Reid Kelley, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Swinburne’s Pasiphae, Pilar Corrias, London (2014); Mary Reid Kelley, Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna (2014); and Mary Reid Kelley, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), Boston (2013).