Tal R: Science Fiction

12 October - 12 November 2011
Victoria Miro Gallery II


Victoria Miro Gallery presents Science Fiction, an exhibition of new paintings by Tal R. The works in this exhibition mark a major development in the Danish artist's practice. Known for his exuberant paintings, works on paper, sculpture, textiles and installations that reflect an expansive and daring approach to subject matter, Tal R has often tempered experimentation with self-imposed restriction in terms of composition and colour palette.

The paintings in Science Fiction see a significant evolution in his methodology - both compositionally and in the application of paint. Created through a process similar to the historical use of distemper, in which pure pigments are mixed with rabbit glue, the canvases in Science Fiction glow with Rothko-like intensity. Limiting opportunity for addition and revision, this new process for the artist has resulted in a series of stripped-down compositions, which he describes as "moving from the periphery of painting to its centre."    

The results draw the viewer into a series of atmospheric spaces. Subjects for these new paintings include a figure in pyjamas wearing an African mask, a carnivalesque procession, and men riding horses. The apparent simplicity of these images is deceptive. While a sense of narrative is ever present, the artist describes these new works as speaking in two tongues: "The paintings have a very gentle surface but then there's an awkward moment in all of them, a moment when you are not sure exactly what you're looking at."

The pyjamas worn by the boy in the painting, for instance, give rise to thoughts of institutional uniforms. Furthering a sense of unease, Tal R has accentuated the verticality of this canvas by tilting the perspective of brightly-coloured floorboards, to suggest, as he puts it, that "at any moment the painting could fall out of itself." Appearing in one corner of the procession painting, meanwhile, is the ambiguous number '39', while Tal R's horse riders are painted in such a way as to make them seem spectacularly ill-suited to their task.

For the artist, Science Fiction is used in a very personal way to denote the space that opens up between events that take place in a painting and our understanding of them - spatially and temporally. In a painting derived from a nineteenth-century image, Tal R depicts a group of well-dressed gents pontificating in a bohemian interior. Thinking about their salon conversation - perhaps about science, philosophy or speculation about events to come - we witness one example of the way in which Tal R enfolds ideas of the future and the past in painting's eternal present.

As the artist says: "The magic of a painting is that you are looking at everything at once. A painting is stupid, it's flat, it's weak, but in the middle of that, it's absolutely beautiful."

Victoria Miro

16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
t: 44 (0)20 7336 8109


View map

Victoria Miro Mayfair

14 St George Street

London W1S 1FE

t: 44 (0)20 3205 8910

View map

Opening Times

Tuesday - Saturday: 10.00am - 6.00pm 

Monday: By appointment


We are also closed on Sundays, bank holiday weekends and public holidays.


All general enquiries should be sent to  

Victoria Miro does not accept unsolicited artist applications.


Staff contact details


Victoria Miro
Glenn Scott Wright
W.P. Miro
Alexandra Sara
PA to the Directors
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0903


Director of Sales - Head of Department
Direct line: 44 20 7549 0494
Elke Seebauer
Director of Sales (Currently on maternity leave)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0426
Oliver Miro
Associate Sales Director
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0496
Fabian Lang
Associate Sales Director
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0499
Anna Fisher
Associate Sales Director
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0905
Mary Eleanor McNicholas
Sales Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0498


Erin Manns
Director of Exhibitions - Head of Department
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0423
Rachel Taylor
Director of Exhibitions
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0431
Mary Taylor
Production Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0424
Catherine Turner
Exhibitions Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Isabelle Young
Exhibitions Assistant
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0431


Kathy Stephenson
Director of Communications
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0422
Martin Coomer
Head of Editorial and Digital Content
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0915
Marisa J. Futernick
Marketing and PR Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0491
Emily Summerscale
Marketing and Events Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0912
Anja Ziegler
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0428


Robert Holzberger
Director of Operations and Events
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0495
Adeline Guy
Head Registrar
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7324 0916
Emma Mee
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0487
Ellie Nearchou
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0433
Clare Rowe
Associate Registrar and Archivist
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0493
Louis Blanc-Francard
Front of House Coordinator (Wharf Road)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Philip Ewe
Front of House Coordinator (Wharf Road)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7336 8109
Vix Moore
Gallery Coordinator (Mayfair)
Direct line: +44 (0)20 3205 8910

Technical Services

David Wood
Technical Operations and Buildings Manager
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0424
Jack Fenton
Buildings Coordinator
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7324 0914
Jon Glazier
Head Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0425
Rob Phillips
Senior Technician
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492
Ross Taylor
Direct line: +44 (0)20 7549 0492