John Lindell

07.09.22 - 06.10.22

Tommaso Corvi-Mora is thrilled to present the gallery’s first exhibition of work by U.S. artist John Lindell. The exhibition will include work from the Nineties as well as new ceramics.
John Lindell settled in New York City in 1985, where he started making the work he became known for: using a set of symbols he devised - stylized depictions of male erogenous zones - he combined them in abstract- looking diagrams, which in effect described scenes of gay sex. Work from this series will be included in the exhibition.
In 1987 John Lindell joined Act Up, a political activist group working to raise consciousness about the AIDS crisis. He was one of the founders of Gran Fury, an AIDS activist artist collective working in public spaces. His art had a different dimension distinct from his work as an activist. As he explained in 1994: “What is crucial about this work is that it isn’t about gay identity but about homosexual identity and about the difference between the two. (...) Homosexual is a clinical term; gay implies some political or social self- consciousness. I can picture a lot of men who have sex with other men but aren’t gay, who think about homosexual acts but have never experienced them, or only act on their impulses occasionally, maybe for a brief period in their lives. (...) I want to promote the idea that their thoughts and feelings are useful for unsettling fixed identities. (...)”.1
The same spirit that permeates his work from the Eighties and Nineties – which prefigures the current emphasis on sexual fluidity - informs the sculpture work he embarked on years later. In 2013 John Lindell started working with clay, developing the work he is making today: vessel-like sculptures with shapes that remind those of male body parts while echoing the symbols in the earlier drawings.
His ceramics are vessels which can be viewed as having a potential for function and a connection to the everyday, the domestic; at the same time, they carry a subversive message because of their shapes. As vessels, the interior space is as important as the surface, much like the human body. Unlike the earlier symbol drawings, the sculptures are haptic experiences: vessels, like bodies, want to be held.
The exhibition will present an overview of John Lindell’s practice, highlighting its ongoing concerns and preoccupations.