Oona Grimes  Hail the new Etruscan #4
Danielle Arnaud Venice
Danielle Arnaud Venice  

Danielle Arnaud Venice
7 May - 24 November 2019   By Appointment

Danielle Arnaud presents the first of a series of independent projects highlighting the recent work of the gallery artists, alongside conversations, dinners, impromptu encounters and performances.

Daily I would walk to Piazza Rotunda and beyond, just to be in Rome, early before the crowds; to watch the road sweepers and shop keepers setting up, to see the light changing over the city. Gradually those walks, and those films wove themselves into my dreams and my drawings. — Oona Grimes

This intimate presentation of Oona Grimes’ recent work includes selected films and drawings from Hail the new Etruscan (2018)—a body of work completed while Grimes was Bridget Riley Fellow at the British School in Rome in 2018—as well as ceramic sculptures from Grimes’ eye things series (2014-16). Made almost entirely in Italy, it is a fitting presentation to launch Danielle Arnaud’s artistic programme in Venice.

On the walls, the drawing series, ragazze e ragazzi romani (2018), sees Grimes layer images, patterns and colours in a fluid and hyper-associative way, combining, as she puts it, ‘fragments of Etruscan porn dancing with pixelated vespas and the maid from [Pasolini’s 1968 film] Teorema.’ They are dotted periodically with repair patches, mirroring the restored frescos and stone work that Grimes encountered in Rome. They, like the 'iPhone rushes', are influenced by Grimes’ long held fascination with post-war Italian cinema and the films designated as Neorealist.

On the iPad minis, Grimes’ ‘iPhone rushes’ see the artist re-enact scenes from said films, such as Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D. (1952), when the protagonist is reduced to begging in front of the Pantheon. Using 16mm film cut with iPhone clips, Grimes makes visible the language of film—both the learning and losing of it—revelling in the omissions, the discontinuity, the patches and the bad repairs. These low-tech re-enactments are a way for Grimes to ‘own the discourse’. ‘I wasn’t acting,’ she says, ‘I was drawing the moment. I saw them as studies, and just cut them together as if watching behind the scenes preparation.’

Clustered on the table or hung on the walls, Grimes’ eye things are based on simple shapes which hark back to the artist’s childhood experiences of making spectacles from cardboard tubes and string. Beginning initially as a return to the simplicity of making, the series has developed into a study of multiples—each sculpture is based on the same shapes and premise, but no two sculptures are the same. Like fetish objects, or discarded props, they exit right in singles and pairs, at once absurd and subversive.

An accompanying essay by Tony Grisoni and a film script by Renée Tobe will be available as part of the exhibition.


Oona Grimes is a born and bred London scribbler and draw-er—a devout flattist with a love of pattern and all things paper and bookish from Japanese woodcuts and Windsor McKay to graphic signage and packaging; tartans stolen from a Lorenzetti blanket or cartoon detail thieved from Roman wall paintings.

You’re lured in spite of yourself, in spite of not knowing what the shady characters and disjointed hieroglyphics represent...Isn’t this what Grimes is seeking—a way to notate a reality that can’t be determined or resolved through narrative or catharsis? —Cherry Smyth

My drawings are a celebration of the absurd, a transformation of ordinary objects and a simmering consommé of fact and fiction, an ongoing series of parallel worlds. They are an investigation into language, beginnings and ends of it, learning & losing it, neurological case studies, Alzheimer’s disease, slippage and mis-memory. —Oona Grimes

Now tanglehead has nothing to say to brickface. Characters once locked in the personalities of hierarchical position must change as the power of speech is lost. —Cherry Smyth

Grimes is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art London and The Ruskin School of Art Oxford University.

Oona Grimes, roman sKandals, 2018

Oona Grimes  roman sKandals  2018  spray paint, collage and coloured pencil  75 × 110cm  

Oona Grimes, a spritz of grrrls_07, coloured pencil 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Danielle Arnaud

Oona Grimes  a spritz of grrrls #7  2018  coloured pencil  210 x 297mm

Oona Grimes, a spritz of grrrls #03, 2018, coloured pencil

Oona Grimes  a spritz of grrrls #3  2018  coloured pencil  210 x 297mm

Oona Grimes, U.eU. (still), 2018, i.phone and 16mm rushes

Oona Grimes  U.eU. (still)  i.phone and 16mm rushes  

OG, U.eU. and Umberto d's boxset, 2018, i.phone and 16mm rushes, install - min i.pad

Oona Grimes  OG, U.eU. and Umberto d's boxset  2018  i.phone and 16mm rushes  install - min i.pad

Oona Grimes, eye things  flat, 2014-16, clay and mixed media, dimensions variable

Oona Grimes  eye things : flat  2014-16  clay and mixed media  dimensions variable

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