"To encounter the work of Robert Montgomery is to make a tender encounter whose tenderness is enhanced by the public, communal quality of his work. To encounter his work is to have your body filled with a sad thunder and your head filled with a sad light. He is a complete artist and works in language, light, paper, space. He engages completely with the urban world with a translucent poetry. His work arrives at us through a kind of lucid social violence. No one has blended language, form and light in such a direct way.”
BLACK & BLUE LITERARY JOURNAL
New York, July 23, 2013 — C24 Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in New York by London-based artist Robert Montgomery. The exhibition will present the largest collection of his poetic, text-based installation works gathered to date, which are most often found within the public landscape. Montgomery’s exhibition will be on view September 10 – October 19, 2013. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, September 12, from 6 – 8 PM. A conversation with the artist will take place on Saturday, September 14, at 2 PM.
The work of Robert Montgomery follows a tradition of conceptual text art that includes artists such as Jenny Holzer and Lawrence Weiner. Although linked with his London predecessors of the YBA generation, Montgomery stands out by drawing from examples of public interventionist strategies and brings a poetic voice to the discourse of text art. Essential to Montgomery’s work is the tradition of modernist Concrete Poetry, where the visual elements of words are as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme, etc. The English art historian Edward Lucie-Smith, who began his career as a poet and an acolyte of Concrete Poetry, recently said of Montgomery’s work simply, “Yes to this, and yes again.”
For the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York, C24 Gallery will present texts from billboards that appeared on the streets of Berlin, London, and Paris as well as major new light works, and a large-scale “Fire Poem.” To coincide with the exhibition at C24 Gallery, Montgomery will install a series of works on the streets of New York in order to position his practice within the urban context that emphasizes its communal elements.
As an artist coming into his own in a distinctly digital world, Montgomery’s work made a significant impact in the online and social media communities, and ahead of the curve of its recognition by institutions. The rise of his work even suggests that the Internet community now directly influences the contemporary art discourse. Critic Matilda Battersby noted of Montgomery’s work in the UK newspaper The Independent, "an artist who sneaks around London plastering verses of poetry over advertising.” Maurizio Bortolotti selected Montgomery for the Orientale exhibition at the 2011 Venice Biennale. A further testament to the power of Montgomery’s text driven work are the scores of people across Europe and America who have used his texts as the basis for tattoos.
About Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery (b. 1972) lives and works in London, UK. He has had solo exhibitions at venues in Europe and in Asia, including recently mounted, major outdoor light installations on the site of the old US Air Force base at Tempelhof in Berlin with Neue Berliner Räume, and at the 2012 Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. His work has been included in numerous exhibitions at venues including KOP, Breda, NL; Athens Festival, GR; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, FR; 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK; The Grand Palais, Paris, FR; Guido Costa Projects, Turin, IT; The Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh Scotland; and The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle-Gateshead, UK.