Side by Side
Presented by Victoria Miro and David Zwirner, Side by Side explores increasingly poignant dualities in art and society: how the digital represents the physical; how a work’s surface transmits the artist’s intentions and ideas; how to be present in an exhibition while not being there.
Primarily featuring artists co-represented by both galleries—which are longtime peers, friends, and collaborators—this online-only exhibition highlights works by each artist that exemplify the physical materiality of their practice. The multidimensionality of these works can be experienced via 3-D rendering technology on parallel platforms—online and also via the Vortic app, which presents these works in high-resolution virtual-reality versions of Victoria Miro’s and David Zwirner’s London galleries. The experience is a mirror of our world, but also not quite like it.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Acrylic and oil on panel
24 × 20 inches
61 × 50.8 cm
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, American Zip, 2019
Collage, acrylic, and colored pencil on panel
24 × 20 inches
61 × 50.8 cm
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Smooth and Good, 2019
“I may leave the paint plain or mix in mica, sand, crushed marble, iridescent charcoal. Your eyes are always activated as you move through…. I want to place viewers in this transitional space so they begin to exist in a world that expands beyond their periphery.” — Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Acrylic, oil, photographic transfers, charcoal, silkscreen ink, and collage on paper
39 × 30 inches
99.1 × 76.2 cm
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Small Refuge #2, 2011
Evoking parallel realities, Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s intricately layered figurative compositions combine painted depictions of people and places from her life with photographic transfers derived from Nigerian magazines and other mass-media sources. Her paintings are visual tapestries that vivify the personal and social dimensions of contemporary experience while expressing the African diasporic identity.
The two works at the top were created for Akunyili Crosby’s presentation at the 2019 Venice Biennale. In them, the artist returns to her earlier interest in portraiture, exploring the legibility of the body as a surface. Hair, skin, clothing, jewelry, self-presentation—these facets resonate culturally and historically in paintings whose layers become a visual map. The third work by Akunyili Crosby shown here, Small Refuge #2 (2011), is complicated by how the figure lying on the bed is revealed twice, via their lower legs and feet—which are vibrantly patterned with acetone image transfers—and as a reflection in a mirror. Its sense of ambiguity expressed using crystalline means is distinctive of many of Akunyili Crosby’s works.
Digital chromogenic print mounted on Dibond aluminum
50 × 65 inches
127 × 165.1 cm
Framed: 52 3/4 × 67 3/4 inches
134 × 172.1 cm
Edition of 5, 2 AP
Stan Douglas, Queue, 2017
Digital chromogenic print mounted on Dibond aluminum
60 × 104 1/2 inches
152.4 × 265.4 cm
Framed: 63 3/8 × 107 1/4 inches
161 × 272.4 cm
Edition of 5, 2 AP
Stan Douglas, Powell Street Grounds, 28 January 1912, 2008
Since the late 1980s, Stan Douglas has created films and photographs—and more recently theater productions and other multidisciplinary projects—that investigate the parameters of their medium. His ongoing inquiry into technology’s role in image making, and how those mediations infiltrate and shape collective memory, has resulted in works that are at once specific in their historical and cultural references and broadly accessible.
Beginning with his 2008 series Crowds and Riots, in which the artist explores crowd phenomena of the twentieth century, and continuing through his 2017 series Scenes from the Blackout, Douglas has used the photographic medium as a tool for understanding the dynamics of moments of fracture in society. Depicting events that combine the hypothetical and historical, in filmic scenes that are staged and yet seemingly kinetic, Douglas makes fact and fiction indistinguishable in both the composition and creation of his work. His “painterly shots,” the critic Michael Wilson writes about the exhibition Scenes from the Blackout, ”present scenes of isolation and camaraderie, theft and rescue, drawing on accounts of comparable events … to explore how unexpected shifts in living conditions affect our relationships with our surroundings and each other.”
Oil on canvas
24 x 22 in
61 x 55.9 cm
Alice Neel, Mother and Child, c. 1936
Oil on canvas
48 × 44 inches
121.9 × 111.8 cm
Alice Neel, David Sokola, 1973
With her signature approach to the human form, Alice Neel created daringly honest portraits of her family, friends, neighbors, writers, poets, artists, and activists, among others. “I told the truth the best I was able,” said Neel. Her bold honesty comes across in the striking portrait of David Sokola—who was introduced to Neel as a filmmaker, but really was a dishwasher—and the tender painting of a mother and child, painted shortly after the death of her own daughter. Neel’s paintings are forthright, intimate, and, at times, humorous—these sentiments and more are expressed not just in color and compositional choices but in her distinctive, responsive brushwork.
“When viewing the paintings,” observes the artist and critic Mira Schor, “I look at painterly details, the weave of the canvas, the importance of what is drawn, what is painted, what is left out, what is sketched, what is impasto. Here, my perception of her work is that of a painter: each brushstroke engages me in conversation with the specific painting and with the history of painting.”
“The minute I sat in front of a canvas, I was happy. Because it was a world, and I could do as I liked in it.” — Alice Neel
Oil and charcoal on linen
62 1/2 × 38 1/2 inches
158.8 × 97.8 cm
Chris Ofili, Juicings 4, 2019
Oil, gold leaf, and charcoal on linen
157.5 x 96.5 cm
62 x 38 in
Chris Ofili, Siren, 2019
With his kaleidoscopic paintings and works on paper that deftly merge abstraction and figuration, Chris Ofili won early acclaim for intricate and playful multilayered works bedecked with a signature blend of resin, glitter, collage, and other materials.
Ofili employs an equally diverse range of visual and cultural sources as well as literary and art-historical references to create work that “has dazzled and discomfited, seduced and unsettled, gliding effortlessly between high and low, among cultures, ricocheting off different racial stereotypes and religious beliefs,” writes Roberta Smith in The New York Times. His color palettes are lush, with strong graphic lines, patterns, and forms created using contrasting materials such as oil, gold leaf, and charcoal—a dynamic visual rhythm that shifts and pulsates. “In reproduction, Ofili’s paintings can sometimes appear merely pretty,” Scott Idrisek notes in Modern Painters, “but in person they beg you to come close.”
“I’ve got a deep interest in painting… It’s [not only] about trying to explore the possibilities of painting and to push painting and the categories within painting, but also to push paint as a material and see what it can do and still be relevant or expressive.” —Chris Ofili
68.5 x 27 cm
27 x 10 5/8 in
Grayson Perry, Triumph of Innocence, 2000
78 x 39.2 x 39.2 cm
30 3/4 x 15 3/8 x 15 3/8 in
Grayson Perry, Searching for Authenticity, 2018
Grayson Perry is a chronicler of contemporary life, using ceramics, tapestry, and printmaking to tackle identity, gender, social status, sexuality, and religion. The artist’s deceivingly beautiful ceramic pots—covered with sgraffito drawings, handwritten and stencilled texts, photographic transfers and rich glazes—are designed to seduce and disarm. “Vases have long been my signature form, a form often thought of as ‘merely’ decorative,” the artist writes. “A type of object in many ways more at home in a sitting room than an art gallery. A thought that I have long exploited.”
Up close to the detailed surfaces of these beguiling pots, the artist’s commentary becomes clear. Created in 2000, Triumph of Innocence is a highly decorated pot, whose rich glazes and layers of transfer images and sgraffito might correspond to layers of memory or awareness, as well as to conflicting thoughts about childhood and the past. Decorated with images of beaming individuals, blissfully happy at work or at sun-kissed leisure, Searching for Authenticity, made in 2018, broaches the slippery concepts of meaning and significance, life and lifestyle—what can be authentically experienced or simply acquired.
“A vase is somewhere where we traditionally have a sensuous experience. There’s something humble about a vase—it’s not a big, showy-offy thing.” — Grayson Perry
Papier-mâché and paint
15 × 29 7/8 × 18 1/8 inches
38 × 76 × 46 cm
Franz West, Untitled (Analogikum), 1986–1987
Papier-mâché, plastic, plaster, glue, paint, foam, cardboard, styrofoam, plastic vacuum nozzle, bubble wrap, wood, and metal
Sculpture: 42 × 28 1/2 × 29 inches
106.7 × 72.4 × 73.7 cm
Table: 32 1/4 × 40 1/2 × 31 3/4 inches
81.9 × 102.9 × 80.6 cm
Overall: 74 1/4 × 40 1/2 × 31 3/4 inches
188.6 × 102.9 × 80.6 cm
Franz West, Pleonasme (pleonasm), 1999
In the mid-1980s, Franz West began producing painted abstract sculptural forms that he referred to as his “legitimate sculptures.” While they were intended to be handled by the viewer as they liked, thus subverting traditional exhibition models, the sculptures shown here, which were displayed on plinths, as floor sculptures, or mural reliefs, were meant to question the aesthetic ideal of the autonomous work of art.
“There is a distinct look to West’s work that defies quick visual digestion,” observes Darsie Alexander, the chief curator of the Jewish Museum. Indeed, while known primarily as a sculptor, West’s body of work resists categorization, incorporating drawing, collage, video, and installation that used papier-mâché, furniture, cardboard, plaster, found imagery, and other diverse materials. His playful manipulation of everyday materials and imagery in novel ways resulted in objects that call attention to the way in which art is presented to the public and how viewers interact with them and with each other, redefining art as a social experience.
“To make something visually engaging yet awkward… is harder than one might think,” the critic Richard Kalina notes. “It often comes down to an innate grasp of scale—not just scale in terms of overall size, but scale as the measure of the relation of part to part, color to color, surface to surface, action to action.”
Watch the video above to get behind the scenes of the 3-D process.
David Zwirner and Victoria Miro worked with the virtual art platform Vortic to capture these works—as well as their physical gallery spaces in London—photogrammetrically with the latest high-resolution 3-D scanning technology.
Using Vortic’s software and rendering techniques, which have never before been used in the industry, this Extended Reality exhibition includes three-dimensional works including sculpture and ceramics, as well as paintings and photographic works. These works can be experienced in Virtual Reality via the Vortic Collect app.
Learn more about Vortic here.