Slade School of Fine Art University College London
London WC1E 6BT
Born 1981 in London and studied at The Royal College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. Lilah Fowler is an artist working in sculpture, print and installation within research themes that have involved collaborations with mathematicians, architects and computational programmers, quantum physicists and geochemists.
Fowler’s practice is informed through an interest in the design of urban and architectural space alongside a questioning of the relationship between function, form and the art object. Sculpture, print and architectural structure take on the combined form of installation and reflect long-term, converging and cumulative research areas which fuel the making and conceptual processes behind the work. Most often, an element of the installation is linked to the histories, form, design or use of the unique site.
Her work has been exhibited at world-wide venues including: The Museum Vasarely of Fine Arts, Hungary (2016), Clement&Schneider, Germany (2015), Siobhan Davies Studios, London (2013), Maria Stenfors, London (2015, 2013), kunstgalleriebonn, Germany (2013), Malgras|Naudet & The Royal Standard, Manchester and Liverpool (2013), Joshua Tree Art Gallery, USA (2013), Cosmophobia, Berlin, curated by Tom Trevatt (2012), Bold tendencies5, London (2011), Cartel, London, curated by Oliver Basciano (2012), Kunsthal KaDe Amersfoort, Netherlands, curated by Keith Coventry (2011), Hannah Barry Gallery, London (2012), Art Futures Hong Kong, China (2011), Space in Between, London (2011), OVADA, Oxford (2010), Architectural Association, London (2009), MAXIMAL MINIMAL (2009), Switzerland, Hiscox Art Collection, London (2009). She is currently working on several public commissions in central London and Bristol City Centre, see www.lilahfowler.com for further info.
Lilah Fowler is represented by Maria Stenfors and Clement&Schneider.
Research considerations include how the planning of natural and urban environments can effect social movement and interaction, alongside approaches to architectural design values. This process is situated and further informed by philosophical debates that examine the intricate complexities of our experiences of and relationships to our surroundings. The aesthetics of Modern architecture fall into the work as an interest in modern and urban architectural approaches and the comparison of past to present, where it has become an aesthetic in its own right rather than a reaction against traditional ornament. Highway-side architecture and the iconography and syntax of road travel, and the politics of contemporary society’s increasing proliferation of ‘non-places’, are brief examples of other specific issues considered in this research.
This core set of research interests becomes a methodology for approaching a range of situations, where specific locations are interpreted within the context of their own layout and structure and are used to question our familiar experiences of our environment and how they thereby influence the way we live or exist within them. In resulting installations, the artworks are concerned with a mutual engagement with one another that matches formal layers and contrasts of texture, surface, light, weight, image and space. Their combination simultaneously references and distills a layered pattern of image and content. They are a collection of clues that shape ones own understanding of placement within natural and urban architectural space.
The works use the representational reframing of an image or object as a re-contextualising device to question those inherent values that an object contains and by which they are limited, in order to provide potential new interpretation in the shape of form and functionality. The research leading up to and subsequent exhibition and public talk at Siobhan Davies studios in 2013 revolved around themes of the purpose and function in design, art and architecture and their relating relationships with the body through movement, weight, memory and haptic responses. A questioning and understanding of the placement of boundary points that lie in objects and structures that are moved between their representation as art, design, prop, component or natural form, exploring the changing value of the interpretation of things.
Physical architectural structures are built into exhibition spaces, such as the ‘Passage and Pair’ solo exhibition at Maria Stenfors, where built modifications become a stage-framing device and also highlighted the temporary structure of the white gallery walls. The structures have a formal nature that is a response to describing and commenting on objects within and architecture of those spaces as forms of non-place. These non-places can be viewed as ambiguous, but productive and critical, gaps within contemporary society, and as a deliberate contrast to the pervasive accessibility of a growing digitized society.
More recent research themes look to the comparison of the architectural structure and materiality of the digital world with our physical real world; examining code as language and equating this to ‘real’-space, suggesting an analogy where space can be read both as text and passage.
Fowler joined Slade in 2010 and is based in Sculpture, teaching in the studios across BA/BFA & MA/MFA courses at the Slade School of Fine Art. Experience as a visiting lecturer include Byam Shaw School of Art, Central Saint Martins and University for the Creative Arts, Farnham.
How the mind comes to be furnished2016
Space in Between, London
Collaborative work with James Irwin
The Museum Vasarely of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Curated by Dora Mauer
Which pixel am I standing on?2015
Maria Stenfors, London, UK
Clement&Schneider, Bonn, Germany
Painting and Beyond2014
kunstgaleriebonn, Bonn, Germany
Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, China
Passage and pair2013
Maria Stenfors, London, UK
Just as reading a text is a journey from start to finish, the reading of an artwork and exhibition is dictated by the same process. Lilah Fowler's exhibition invites us to explore our relationship to space and our experience of it, the passage of moving through a physical space and experiencing its proportions and elements. Separate elements are disassociated from their original context, creating an unexpected pairing of matter and material. The forced arrangement of space rendering the familiar unfamiliar. Mathematically, they play with the artist's familiarity of the space, being a whole divided into a half and then a quarter, becoming a geometrical way of viewing spatial form. This is also repeated in the floor arrangements, thus becoming structures like the architectural landscape, reminding us of patterns, designs and plans for living spaces, but also the materials and components that make them up. A perpetual pairing of object and thought. The story is in the telling. Maria Stenfors is excited to present its first solo exhibition with London based artist Lilah Fowler. Fowler presents new works and installations in the gallery, reconfiguring the gallery space and our perception of that space. Broadly referencing modernist and brutalist architecture and the UK housing systems such as in Camden Council, where the gallery is located but also where the artist lives and works. Fowler's research expands across a magnitude of planning design concepts and here Albert Frey is worth mentioning as his colour scheme is resonant in the exhibition. Each unique site that Fowler intervenes in creates new responses and these factors and variants are key, and the intervention at Maria Stenfors is welcomed with excitement.
Lilah Fowler: Circles, props and edges2013
Siobhan Davies Dance Studios, London, UK
Siobhan Davies Dance had the pleasure to present an exhibition by artist Lilah Fowler, whose work explores the relationship between visual art, movement and space. Fowler created new work, which directly responded to the design and architecture of Siobhan Davies Studios. Fowler is particularly interested in the placement of artworks within the space and the way the audience navigates around them. Her work invites an awareness of the physical and psychological space, playing with illusion and perspective. Its placement encourages the viewer to explore around the objects, creating an individual sequence of movements and a spontaneous choreography. Fowler’s work is often concerned with the imprint of time upon an object and how it influences our experience of it. The ways in which an object can gradually lose its function and reason or change from its original purpose is a key idea in her work, and was reflected in the title of the exhibition. The tautology of ‘Round circles’ creates a sense of double vision and for this exhibition she created works in brass rings similar to hula hoops that propped against the building and a dance barre. They were static sculptures but at the same time they had the potential to be ‘props’ that could be picked up, used, or leaned against, inviting interpretation and reinterpretation. Fowler was also interested in the way that we react to space socially, collectively and individually, especially to planned spaces for living. The ‘edges’ in the exhibition title became synonymous with the boundaries that the encourages us to look at our building with fresh eyes.’ Alison Proctor, Programme Manager ‘After spending time in the Siobhan Davies Studios space, I became particularly aware of my movement and presence within the building, this being in terms of my relation to the architecture and objects. Rather than creating a choreographic pattern of objects in space I am taking a closer look at the architectural design of the building to echo and accentuate this by working intentionally with its designed surfaces.’ Lilah Fowler
Joshua Tree Art Gallery, Joshua Tree Desert, California, USA
kunstgaleriebonn, Bonn, Germany
The Royal Standard, Liverpool and Malgras Naudet, Manchester, UK
In Belly of Paris, Emile Zola described the artist Claude Lantier (the hero of his novel, The Masterpiece) rearranging the meat products in the window of his cousin’s butchers shop. He did this according to an aesthetic sensibility rather than a taxonomy of meat. Chops, confit and charcuterie were instinctively organised into a display that the painter Lantier described as his only true great work. Sales in the shop fell, Lantier was chastised by his cousin and he was never asked to look after the business again. The focus of artistic practice had, in fiction at least, shifted from a rendering of objects in a still life to an arrangement of them. Unspecific Objects questions the relationships between the art object and everyday objects. Without a focus on a particular medium or singular approach, the exhibition uses works by over twenty contemporary artists that contemplate the object in order to consider art’s enduring power to transform. Objects are manipulated, composed, constructed, remodelled, remade, rendered as image, placed, stacked, sculpted, painted or simply offered to the viewer. Some of the works are installed across the two sites of the exhibition; others present themselves as discreet objects. The cumulative effect of the works is a sustained focus on our relationship to things that surround us. Artists. Dan Fogarty | Sharon Hall | Rafal Topolewski | Milo Brennan | Tom Fish | Damien Meade | Kevin Hunt | Jo Addison | Laurence Callaghan | Paul Cordwell | Claire Fontaine | Lilah Fowler | Samara Scott | Caroline Achaintre | Tom Railton | Lucy Clout | Matilda Moors | Desmond Church | Benedict Drew | Andrew Mcdonald | Tom Godfrey | Michael White
BB#8: Dawdle Blackboard2012
SPACE, London, UK
Maria Stenfors, London, UK
Maria Stenfors is proud to present Endogenous; a two week exhibition of works on paper by five young artists, a musical performance, and a talk on economic bubbles in relation to the contemporary art world by Professor Jan Toporowski. In an age of austerity, where is the driving force for art and artists? Is the economic structure spurred on by external benefactors, or is art created and encouraged by a more internal structure? This series of exciting events from the platform of the gallery, brief in time and set in a domestic environment, plans to achieve a space where voices and inspirations that revolve around the gallery’s ethos have the opportunity to come together. Endogenous Growth Theory is a concept within economics used to highlight that economic growth can be developed and nurtured from within, rather than externally. Key to the concept is the belief that investment in the population and human capital is key to economic growth. Opening up the gallery agora to fantastic artists and their captivating new works, a dynamic musical performance of urban life, and contemporary economic theory, the events promise to be an exuberant start to the Autumn. Key to Endogenous is a works on paper exhibition by Francesca Anfossi, Eduardo Basualdo, David Cochrane, Lilah Fowler and Alan Magee. Each artist has been in an extended dialogue with the gallery, and this show takes advantage of the opportunity to present artworks by artists whose integrity the gallery has faith in.
L'Altelier Kunst Spiel Raum, Berlin, Germany
'What is an end? One shudders perhaps. An end? Are there more than one? Is not the very question a violation of sorts? A ruthless denuding? Should death be pushed so harshly into my awareness? Can she not wait? Is it not permissible to sleep?' -Nick Land, Thirst for Annihilation. Cosmophobia is characterised by an irrational fear of the cosmos and our place within it, that the universe will impose its malicious will against us in the form of some astronomical catastrophe or other. What this exhibition attempts, is to think through the opportunity of hopelessness. The curatorial proposition is that these six young artists are best placed to respond to or be affected by the political, economic and ecological territories that neoliberalism has bequeathed to us. Starting from a zero point of nihilist speculation art must think beyond the contemporary towards a realm of collected objectiveness divorced from the humanist promise of individual freedom. Upon the death of such ideology and the dawning of an age in which politics must transform into a category capable of making the move beyond its previous neoliberal dominion, art has a renewed mandate to engender a new political imaginary. L'Atelier - Kunst(spiel)raum is proud to present it's first group show, Cosmophobia, curated by Tom Trevatt, displaying the works of International artists Adam Thompson, Justin Gainan, Iris Touliatou, Lilah Fowler, Mikko Canini and Olve Sande.
A Piece of Paper2012
Madder 139, London, UK
Space in Between , London, UK
Lilah Fowler’s practice explores ideas around the imprint of time on an object and how it influences our relationship to space and experience. Her works are often installed in response to the gallery environment and address a serendipitous and spontaneous reaction to form, space and surface. With Fowler's work there is a play between illusion and perspective. The sense of physical and psychological place within and around the works and how the body navigates them is as important as their positioning.
End of Line2011
Waterside Contemporary, London, UK
Kunsthal KaDe Amersfoort, Netherlands
Point. Line. Plane2011
Hannah Barry Gallery, London, UK
Hong Kong Art Fair: Art Futures2011
Hong Kong Art Fair: Art Futures, Hong Kong, China
Bold Tendencies 52011
Peckham Multi-story Carpark, London, UK
OVADA, (Visual Arts Development Agency for the City of Oxford and the County of Oxfordshire) curated by Launch Collaborative: Architectural Disorder, Oxford
Modal: Lilah Fowler and Dan Miller2010
Cartel Gallery, London, UK
Corn Exchange Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
Primopiano, Lugano, Switzerland
Brown, London , UK
Bank of America Corporate Arts Programme, 20092009
Bank of America, London, UK
Joshua Tree Artist ResidencyJoshua Tree Artist Residency, Joshua Tree Desert, California, USA
Joshua Tree Artist Residency (JTAR) in Joshua Tree Desert, National Park, California, USA. SIx week residency.
PURE LIGHT show catalogue, curated by Dora maker and published by Open Structures Art Society 2015
Essay by Jonathan Griffin
by Francesca Gavin