Cowboy #73, 2008, Oil on canvas, 245 x 125 x 6 cm and TOILETPAPER (Maurizio Cattelan & Pierpaolo Ferrari), GOD, 2013, Polyurethane foam, 130 x 70 x 70 cm
Andres Serrano American indians (Jack Rain Maker Mansee, Lenape), 1996, 152,4 x 125,73 cm and Edward S. Curtis
Andres Serrano, American Indians (Jack Rain Maker Mansee, Lenape), 1996, Cibachrome, silicone, plexiglas, 152,4 x 125,73 cm - Courtesy: Olbricht Collection
Edward S. Curtis, Hamasaka in Tlu'wuláhu Costume with Speaker's Staff – Qagyuhl, 1914, Photogravure on japon vellum , 51,6 x 61,7 x 3 cm
Riva Project presents an exhibition which brings together a selection of works inspired by the iconic figure of the Cowboy in contemporary art through the works of Edward S.Curtis, Cécile Defforey, Toiletpaper (Maurizio Cattelan & Pierpaolo Ferrari), Malcolm Morley, Richard Prince Hannes Schmid, Andres Serrano .
The exhibition is rooted in a dialogue between works and artists, which explores references to the genre of the western movie. Art historian Pierre-Yves Desaive has been working alongside the collection to curate the exhibition.
The exhibition presents a critical engagement with the figure of the cowboy, taking the work of Cécile Defforey as a starting point. The cowboy is a recurring element in Cécile Defforey’s work. It appears in free-form compositions which suggest a reinterpretation of the figure and bear witness to the persistence of the myth of the “Wild West” in contemporary art.
The exhibition stages a dialogue between contemporary works around this figure, which evokes countless legends as well as the wide open spaces of the American West. The cowboy presents an imaginative appeal drawing on ideas of freedom, power, mobility and a desire for justice. The character emerges very early in literature as a defender of widows and orphans.
This dimension finds a dynamic expression in paintings and photographs which stage the qualities of the cowboy, but also gives space to the surroundings through which he travels: untouched landscapes.
© Hugard & Vanoverschelde, photography