Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition Alex & Philippe & Willi & Zach., a solo show by Berlin-based artist Navot Miller, curated by Russell Tovey, on view at Grove Collective’s Battersea space from April 13th to May 14th, 2022. This is the first time that Grove Collective has worked with either Miller or Tovey.
Navot Miller does not shy away from colour; the opulence of his palette is intentionally striking to the viewer. This, coupled with Miller’s channeling of bricolage aesthetic to interrogate pictorial depth, can initially be disorienting: large, bright canvases beam pinks, yellows, and blues into the room, often outshining their surrounds with ease. But Miller is much more than a flashy palette. His subtle compositions and intimacy with his subject matter create an effortless bond with the viewer, inviting consideration.
Perhaps one of the most engaging facets of Miller’s work is the simultaneous proximity and distance he is able to convey – the intimacy with subjects allows the viewer to feel present in the scene, while the visual perspective of the work itself may often be that of the voyeur. This is in part due to his method of documentation; Miller is an avid photographer and videographer, often using his camera to capture lived experiences in order to refer to them later. But still, a keen sense of visual structure allows Miller to amend the chaos of life accordingly. As such, his works can appear calculated, if not architectural.
This proclivity toward calculation and clarity is expressed in the show’s title, Alex & Philippe & Willi & Zach.. Favouring a measure of frankness, the show takes its name from the figures who appear in Miller’s work: friends, lovers, and acquaintances, all figures in Miller’s life over the recent past. Additionally, Miller takes inspiration from the narrative of Hanya Yanagihara’s 2015 novel, A Little Life. A novel about – among other things – the intertwining friendships of the four protagonists, Miller uses the text to reframe his own experiences, and by extension, his work.
Taking these key components of Navot Miller’s practice into account, Russell Tovey’s curation has been designed to let Miller’s work – or perhaps more accurately, the artist himself – do the talking. Choosing a selection of five works to be hung in the gallery, along with a selection of Navot’s personal videos for screening, Tovey melds artist, process, and product into one. The videos function as both Miller’s personal ephemera and prep material, while also complementing the paintings Tovey has chosen to display, providing insight (and at times, contrast) to the final works.
For Grove Collective, Alex & Philippe & Willi & Zach. proves the product of almost six months of dialogue surrounding the exhibition, and an even longer period of friendship. Set into motion after a serendipitous re-introduction on the streets of Berlin, co-Directors Jacob Barnes and Morgane Wagner have found a fruitful dialogue with Miller, working collaboratively to present the artist’s first in-person solo show in the UK. In turn, the introduction of Russell Tovey to the curatorial fray has only heightened the sense of a collaborative enterprise: Tovey has become a valued interlocutor and co-conspirator, helping to bring the best of Navot to his London audience.