Martin Boyce

No Brilliantly Coloured Birds



Six colour screenprint on 315 gsm Heritage White paper

74 × 102 cm

Edition of 40 copies, signed and numbered by the artist

In stock

This edition is published by DCA

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about this work

Martin Boyce developed this large scale unique print as part of his No Reflections installation for the Scottish Pavilion of the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Continuing Boyce’s interest in the ‘collapse of nature and architecture’ and interior and exterior forms, this print references the empty wooden interior of the artist’s bird box sculpture in the vacated Italian Palazzo; the holes in which simultaneously suggest the form of a head or mask. During the development of this project Boyce drew from a short text he had written with an abandoned zoo in mind: ‘warm dry stone and palm leaves, no elephants, no giraffes, no penguins, no brilliantly coloured birds…’.

This language of an abandoned garden is continued with the text ‘No Brilliantly Coloured Birds’ that tumbles out across the image. The form of the text stems from a central structural motif that forms a core of much of Boyce’s work. This motif is derived from an early black and white photograph of four geometric concrete trees sculpted by Joel and Jan Martel in 1925.

(courtesy of Dundee Contemporary Arts)

about Martin Boyce

Martin Boyce works across a range of media including sculpture, installation and photography as well as wall paintings and fictional text. At the core of his work is an exploration of modernist design and specifically how time has affected our understanding of design objects.

In an early work for example; he deconstructed two modernist objects by the iconic designers Charles and Ray Eames, making the leg splint into a tribal mask and the L-bar into a spear. In works such as this, Boyce compares the culture in which the objects were originally produced, in this case, the optimism surrounding the post-war boom in manufacturing, to their position today as collectable art objects.

Boyce’s interest in modernist design was reinforced when he discovered a photograph of the concrete trees created by the sculptors Joël and Jan Martel for the 1925 Parisian Exhibition of Decorative Arts. This marks the departure point for his recent work. From the Martels’ decidedly cubist-inspired interpretation of nature, Boyce devised his own grid-based vocabulary of geometric shapes that he has since used as a basis for all aspects of his art. He also created his own font of angular letters, which has allowed Boyce to develop his interest in language and narrative.

(courtesy of Generation Scotland)



Other works by Martin Boyce

Martin Boyce - Suite of three prints - 2004

Martin Boyce

Suite of three prints

Martin Boyce - Brushing Against Strange Weeds (Reflections and Vibrations) - 2004

Martin Boyce

Brushing Against Strange Weeds (Reflections and Vibrations)

Martin Boyce - Brushing Against Strange Weeds (Shapes and Noises) - 2004

Martin Boyce

Brushing Against Strange Weeds (Shapes and Noises)

Martin Boyce - We Are Resistant, We Dry Out in the Sun - 2004

Martin Boyce

We Are Resistant, We Dry Out in the Sun


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