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Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to announce I Have Wasted My Life, an exhibition of new works by Liz Magor at 22 Cortlandt Alley.

On the wall, a new sculpture titled Perennial is formed from a duffle coat, which in the 1960s and 1970s had become a de-facto uniform for student protestors, including those part of the nascent environmental movement in Vancouver, where Greenpeace was founded in 1971. A near artifact from this time, the coat carries with it the accumulated wear from these actions. The artist’s own interventions seek to repair the garment, though in lieu of erasure, Magor marks the damage using paint, ink, and sculptural material. Simultaneously, Magor adds vestiges of the coat’s past activity, such as two cookies cast in gypsum placed in its pocket to resuscitate it to its prior use. 

Magor often positions humble objects at the center of her sculptures, the stuff that plays fleeting roles in our lives as repositories for memories and affection before being replaced. Three found workbenches, positioned throughout the galleries, become stages for these objects, suggesting sites for their rehabilitation. On each, a meticulously molded and cast toy animal rests between an array of accumulated items that range from the deeply personal, such as small collections of rocks, shells, and dried flowers, to those that are ubiquitous, such as Ikea Lack furniture, which is produced in a way that it is no longer contained to one place, or time. Together, these constellations of objects reflect the ways in which we seek out emotive responses from inanimate objects, a process that Magor ties to how we address sculpture as a medium. With this, narrative emerges, often shaped through assigned hierarchies of protagonists and supporting characters that are replicated in the sculptures themselves - some items are tucked away on shelves, some are positioned in a state of repair or flux, while others seem consciously displayed. Disrupting this, the surface of each sculpture is seemingly littered with the vestiges of daily life, take-out containers, coffee cups, and wrappers, reflecting the small, often inadvertent actions of object management we perform regularly, which carry with them greater consequences than we once thought.

Three sculptures featuring large sheets of cardboard cast in gypsum leaning against the wall represent an ongoing series in which the artist’s hand is regulated to the meticulous replication of packaging, which then functions as a support for found or assembled objects. Each is accompanied by an attached small doll, facing inward, and almost humorously clinging to the works’ surfaces. Together with the other works in the exhibition, these works suggest a realization of the show’s title, I Have Wasted My Life, leading us to question if the ways in which we attempt to drive and enrich our lives, only enlarge the chasm between ourselves and our real desires.

Liz Magor lives and works in Vancouver. Over the past four decades, Magor has developed a singular practice rooted in sculpture that employs traditional mold-making techniques to replicate everyday items and explore our needs for comfort and attachment, using consistent sardonic humor. Recent solo exhibitions of Magor’s work include One Bedroom Apartment, Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada, 2020, TIMESHARE, 500 Capp Street Foundation, San Francisco, 2019, BLOWOUT, Carpenter Center for the Arts, Cambridge, traveled to The Renaissance Society, Chicago, 2019, you, you, you, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, traveled to The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Nice, Nice, and Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany, 2017, The Blue One Comes in Black, Centre d’art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac, Paris, 2016, Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, 2016, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 2015, Peep-hole, Milan, 2015, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, 2014, and Triangle France, Marseilles, 2013.  In addition, she has had solo exhibitions at Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, 2008, the Power Plant, Toronto, 2003, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002.  Magor participated in Documenta 8, Kassel, 1987, and the 41st Venice Biennale, Venice, 1984. In 2017, Magor was an artist-in-residence at the Berlin Artists-in-Residence programme, DAAD, Berlin, and in 2014, was awarded the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.