Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life

12 October to 24 November. Tues - Sun, 10am - 5.30pm

We are delighted to present Dan Colen The Illusion of Life, an exhibition created specifically for Inverleith House. The exhibition is the New York-based artist’s first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery and all of the works on display are being exhibited for the first time.

Installation view, Dan Colen, 'The Illusion of Life'. Photograph by Michael Wolchover. Courtesy of Dan Colen and Gagosian Gallery, London.

Installation views, Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2013. Images by Michael Wolchover

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Press Release

We are delighted to present Dan Colen The Illusion of Life, an exhibition created specifically for Inverleith House. The exhibition is the New York-based artist’s first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery and all of the works on display are being exhibited for the first time.

The exhibition borrows its title from the celebrated Disney Animation book, ‘The Illusion of Life’, which Colen has often used as source material for his artwork. As such his sculptures and installations are infused with magic and theatricality, and play with notions of tromp l’oeil. They delight in knowing over-exaggeration, carnivalesque thrills and a harnessing of base irrational fears.

Accompanying this sculptural work is a new series of large scale ‘flower’ paintings. Physically delicate and finely detailed, they are produced by hammering and smashing thousands of artificially dyed flowers and natural roses, onto unbleached Belgian Linen. Dye from these hyperreal flowers is transferred onto the canvas to produce constellations of colour and petal fragments reminiscent of Monet’s Waterlilies.

Artist Biography

Dan Colen was born in New Jersey in 1979. He graduated with a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 2001. Exhibitions include the 2006 Whitney Biennial, New York; “USA Today,” The Royal Academy, London (2006); “Defamation of Character,” PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island, New York (2006); “Fantastic Politics,” The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2006); “Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” The New Museum, New York (2010); and “Peanuts,” Astrup Fearnley (2011).

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Dan Colen, the Illusion of Life - Inverleith House, 2013 from Matthew Robinson on Vimeo.

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Lower Ground Floor Gallery: KARMA

To accompany Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life, independent publishers KARMA, who have worked closely with Colen in New York, have opened a temporary bookstore on the lower-ground floor gallery, presenting a selection of rare artists’ books for sale. KARMA was founded by Brendan Dugan and this is the first time KARMA has run outside of New York City. In addition, twenty-one new posters by Colen made for KARMA are being exhibited alongside a number of vintage books chosen by Colen to reflect themes relating to the exhibition.

KARMA Books, Lower Ground Floor Gallery. Photograph by Michael Wolchover. Courtesy of KARMA.


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