IN(TENSION)
19 May - 30 June 2019, by appointment

Pablo Bronstein, Heidi Bucher, Rachel Whiteread.

DE LEÓN is delighted to be showing the work of three international artists, Pablo Bronstein, Heidi Bucher and Rachel Whiteread. The exhibition unpeels the domestic, architectural and urban environment and explores the inherent tension between space and place, and the imagined membrane separating positive and negative space. All of these artists exploit the language of architecture, however the media used as well as their intent differs. They act as cultural archaeologists as they uncover and preserve layers of meaning in the impermanent and often overlooked built environment. The human experience of architecture is recorded, translated and conveyed using a wide variety of materials - such as the latex and mother of pearl skins of Heidi Bucher, the concrete, resin and steel sculptures of Rachel Whiteread and the intricate pen, ink and watercolour drawings of Pablo Bronstein.

Heidi Bucher is best known for her skin-like, latex casts of items ranging from clothes to entire rooms. Like Whiteread she is interested in the traces of human presence, implied or visible, on the surface of the materials used. Her mantra Räume sind Hüllen, sind Häute (Rooms are surroundings are skins) is apparent in the first Raumhauts (Room Skins) she embarked upon when she returned from the U.S.A. to Switzerland in the 1970s. This first and important body of work was taken from Bodenhaut Borg, which was her studio in an old butcher’s shop in Zurich, and an example of which can be seen in the exhibition. Bucher was fascinated by the architecture of the 19 th century, from her grand ancestral house at Winterthur to the famous 19 th century sanatorium at Bellevue in Kreuzlingen where artists, such as Vaslav Nijinsky and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, received psychiatric treatment. Bucher explores the boundaries between the human body and its surroundings through the performative act of ‘skinning’ which she often documented on film, giving permanence to a fleeting act.

Rachel Whiteread uses industrial materials such as plaster, metal, concrete, resin and rubber to cast architectural spaces and domestic objects. Like Bucher, Whiteread addresses the significance of the home which can be a domestic object or an entire building. However, in the majority of her work, she casts the negative space that objects occupy, rather than the objects themselves. One of her best known examples of this is House, made in 1993, which is a full scale cast of a three storey terraced house in East London. In this work she filled the rooms with concrete, finally peeling away the outside structure to reveal the negative space within. ‘Set next to an old Roman road, with a view to the rising skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, House told the story of redevelopment in London’s East End’.[1]

Pablo Bronstein has always been fascinated by architectural history and he conveys this through his exuberant and finely created pen and ink drawings, as well as through his sculptures and performances. His practice references a multiplicity of design aesthetics - neo-classicism, the baroque as well as the Georgian, and through his work he examines concepts of wealth, power, and aspirations of grandeur. In his series ‘Pseudo-Georgian London’, a group of which are shown in the exhibition, Bronstein draws our attention to the appropriation and application of ‘pseudo’ or borrowed Georgian motifs taken from the past and applied to often modest homes, offices and industrial buildings of the late 20th century. In so doing he examines this new vernacular style of stick-on splendour that resonates with our desire for historical narrative. Bronstein wrote about this body of work: “My interest lies in the haphazard, cheap, desperate architecture of the everyday”.[2]


Pablo Bronstein (b. 1977 Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Solo exhibitions include:
Forthcoming: Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, UK (2020); Carousel, OGR, Turin, Italy (2019); Historic Rhode Island Decor, RISD, Providence, USA (2019); Classical Façade, in collaboration with David Kohn Architects, commission for National Trust, UK (2019); London in its Original Splendour, Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK (2018); Clocks, Cupid’s Caprice, Herald St, London, UK (2018); Conservatism, or the Long Reign of Pseudo-Georgian Architecture, RIBA, Portland Place, London, UK (2017); The Rose Walk, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, Scotland (2017); The largeness of China seen from a great distance, Galleria Franco Noero, Turin, Italy (2017); Tate Britain Commission 2016: Historical Dances in an Antique Setting, Tate Britain, London, UK (2016); Museum Triangulation (Performance), Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, DE, (2016); Haydn's Creation, Garsington Opera, Buckinghamshire, UK and Sadler’s Wells, London, UK (2016); Wall Pomp, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK (2016); Pablo Bronstein: studies in Mannerist decomposition, Museo Marino Marini, Florence, Italy (2015); The Grand Tour: Pablo Bronstein and the treasures of Chatsworth, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK and Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, UK (2015); We live in Mannerist times, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Art on the Underground Commission, London, UK (2015).
Represented by Herald St, London, UK; Franco Noero, Turin, Italy.

Heidi Bucher (b. 1926, Winterthur, Switzerland, d. 1993, Brunnen, Switzerland)
Solo Exhibitions include:
Die Wässer und Libellenlust, The Approach, London, UK (2019); The Site of Memory, Lehmann Maupin, New York, USA (2019); Heidi Bucher, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2018); Floors: Heidi Bucher and Gordon-Matta Clark, Alma Zevi, Venice, Italy (2017); The Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York, USA (2014); Alexander Gray Associates, New York, USA (2014); Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, Switzerland (2014); Rooms are skins, are surroundings, The Approach, London, UK (2013); Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France (2013); Heidi Bucher - Mother of Pearl, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland (2004); Und ziehen das Gestern ins Heute: Die Häute aus dem Bellevue Projekt, Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Switzerland (1993); Bodyshells, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, USA (1972); Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal, Canada (1971); Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, USA (1971).
Heidi Bucher is represented by The Approach, London, UK; Lehmann Maupin, New York, USA.

Rachel Whiteread (b. 1963, London, UK) 
Solo exhibitions include:
Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain, London, UK, 21er Haus, Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Vienna, Austria, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, USA (2017-2019); Place (Village), Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, London, UK (2017); Rachel Whiteread: Drawings, Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center, Los Angeles, California, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas, USA, Tate Britain, London, UK (2010); Rachel Whiteread, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts (2008); Monument, Fourth Plinth Project, Trafalgar Square, London, UK (2001); Rachel Whiteread, Serpentine Gallery, London, England, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2001); British Pavilion, 47th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (1997); Rachel Whiteread: Shedding Light, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (1996-1997); Turner Prize, Tate Gallery, London, UK (1993).
Rachel Whiteread is represented by Gagosian Gallery, London, UK, Europe and USA; Luhring Augustine, New York, USA; Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome, Italy.


[1] Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain, Tate website, 2017
[2] Pablo Bronstein, Pseudo-Georgian London, Koenig Books, London, 2017, p.13