Isabelle Plat, an artist based in Paris, France, brings a new definition of portraiture to Taos in a new exhibition at the Wright Contemporary, opening on June 10 with a reception 4-6 pm.
Isabelle Plat: Portraits d’usage in Conversation
June 10–July 23, 2023
opening: Saturday, June 10, 4-6 pm
The Wright Contemporary, Taos
The title of one of Isabelle Plat’s exhibitions in Paris was Putting Oneself in the Skin of the Other, which is an apt summation of what this highly original and surprising artist is all about. Plat, who has been reaping acclaim for shows in Europe since the 1980s, uses clothing donated by friends, human hair from styling salons, accessories such as boots and socks, and the more traditional medium of drawing to create witty, large-scale assemblages that can be considered “portraits d’usage” (“usable portraits”).
A highly articulate woman who has shown her work at the Centre Pompidou and Galerie Eric Mouchet, Plat has written about the tradition of “useful” or “usable” sculpture, which includes artists such as Donald Judd, Scott Burton, and Andrea Zittel. In its simplest form, a useful item becomes a sculpture, as in Burton’s benches for a plaza in midtown Manhattan. In previous exhibitions of Plat’s works, viewers could slip inside different elements—a coat, for example—or actually sit on her “Pants Seats.”
But in her show for the Wright Contemporary, Plat is more concerned with reconfiguring some of her signature works to create a new kind of portraiture. “I associate the human body with the bubble that everyone creates for themselves in the real world,” the artist writes. “If Cubist painting subjectively deconstructed people and objects and showed us their hidden sides, my installations conjure with the internal life—materials that bear the traces of life: already-worn clothing, agglomerations of human hair, and other traces of the living subject.”
The Wright Contemporary invites you to participate in these unusual conversations in their two main galleries from June 10 through July 23, 2023, Wednesday through Sunday, 2-6 pm, and by appointment.