Hauser & Wirth is hosting a major new solo exhibition of works by American visual artist Mark Bradford that takes its inspiration from the mythical ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn” tapestry cycle.
“The Hunt of the Unicorn” is believed to have been woven at the turn of the 15th century in the Netherlands and depicts a tale of a band of hunters and dogs pursuing a unicorn before its eventual capture and death.
“Often considered to be an allegory for the crucifixion and resurrection from Christian theology, the tapestries portray a dense, dreamlike world populated by hundreds of plant and animal species where ecosystems of predator and prey proliferate,” read the Hauser & Wirth presentation of Bradford’s new exhibit.
“Bradford reconstructs this landscape using accumulated layers of paper and caulk processed with his signature techniques of sanding, tearing and oxidation,” continues the gallery. “As he dissects the historical legacy of one of Europe’s most beloved works of art, Bradford illuminates parallels between the contemporary world and the Dark Ages, centering on figures relegated to the margins of history who are often the last to receive aid and comfort in times of turbulence.”
Bradford is described as being drawn to medieval tapestry, something he calls “old-school comic books”, and their intrigue is brought to the modern day with his sombre and immersive installation at this prestigious Monaco gallery address in Place du Casino.
A key element of the exhibition is the site-specific work ‘The Map of Hell’, which is inspired by a Botticelli illustration depicting the ‘Divine Comedy’. It has been installed in the stairwell leading down to the principal gallery space; a journey Hauser & Wirth muses is “reminiscent for Bradford of Virgil’s descent into the bowels of hell”.
Bradford’s exhibition, entitled ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’, will be displayed in the Monaco gallery of Hauser & Wirth from 29th September until 11th May 2024.
Photo credit: Mark Bradford, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, photos by Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich