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Nicolas Party: Arches
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Nicolas Party: Arches

30 November 2018 - 24 February 2019


Opening in November 2018, M WOODS presents Arches, a solo exhibition by Swiss artist Nicolas Party. Working across painting, pastel, sculpture, video and installation, Party is renowned for a deep sense of site specificity and temporality in his projects, hand painting murals that exist on gallery walls only for the duration of an exhibition. Within these painted environments sit two and three dimensional works which, through a style and color system unique to the artist, offer a contemporary take on traditional subjects such as still life, portraiture, landscape and the sculptural bust. 

Party’s exhibition at M WOODS will be his first at a non-profit institution in Asia and his largest to date, bringing together recent works with a suite of new sculptures and murals created on site at the museum. A kaleidoscopic celebration, each gallery becomes a riot of the senses, drawing viewers into a carnivalesque arena of mysterious figures, animals and landscapes. Stemming from his background as a graffiti artist and set designer for the group Blakam, Party openly engages with the architectural spaces that frame his paintings and sculptures, creating an exhibition equal parts installation and theatre. 

Rather than drawing directly from nature, his repeated subjects, such as cats, fruit, trees and flowers, carry on a dialogue with the history of such painted imagery. Eliminating specific details—a choice informed by his work in 3D animation—Party emphasizes their eternal and trans-cultural qualities, allowing for diverse interpretations of their symbolism. With little from which to infer a cohesive narrative, his figures never betray their origins or intentions. Pure objects of imagination, they coyly stand on the precipice of the familiar and uncanny. Similarly, the juxtaposition of actual marble sculptures and trompe l’oeil marbling on walls creates a jarring effect, revealing the division between reality and our perception of it. 

As the title suggests, arches become a main architectural motif in the museum, which transforms into something akin to Italian pilazzo in both layout and design. All spaces surround a central courtyard and sculpture garden, visible from both floors. As in previous exhibitions, the physicality of M WOODS plays a distinct role in sculpting the visitor’s experience, with dramatic shifts in the atmosphere of each room speaking to Party’s overall project. With a host of programs lined up for the following months, Arches promises to leave a lasting impression of 2018.    

About the Artist

Nicolas Party (b. 1980, Lausanne) lives and works in Brussels and New York City. He has exhibited widely, his most recent institutional solo exhibitions at the Magritte Muse-um, Brussels; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Palazzo Antinori, Florence. 

With thanks to the artist, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich, and kaufmann repetto, Milan. And appreciation to NUO Hotel Beijing’s support for making this exhibition happen. 

About M WOODS 

M WOODS is a private art museum in Beijing's 798 Art District, founded in 2014 by collectors Lin Han and Wanwan Lei. Open to the public, M WOODS represents a new kind of global arts platform in China, staging major exhibitions while building a unique program of artist residencies, public lectures, and art publications. 

In 2015, M WOODS received official not-for-profit status from the Chinese government— an honor that reflected the museum’s commitment to making the arts more accessible to the Chinese public. 

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