Genieve Figgis: Drama Party

15 April, 2023 – 4 June, 2023

M WOODS 798

Curated by Qi Yuanlin, Deng Yingying



"Painting is about pleasure. If it weren't pleasurable, I wouldn't do it."     - Genieve Figgis


Waiting, 2020, acrylic on canvas
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech
Photo: Melissa Castro Duarte


M WOODS is proud to announce the first solo museum exhibition in Asia by Irish artist Genieve Figgis (b. 1972). The exhibition “Drama Party” will present a comprehensive mid-career overview of Figgis' artistic practice from the early years of her career to the present day, featuring around forty paintings among which several new works created this year will be shown to the public for the first time.


Wedding, 2022, acrylic on panel
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech
Photo: Nicolas Brasseur


Figgis’ works often feature elaborately dressed protagonists- whether well-known members of royalty and aristocracy or generic subjects of the genteel class – engaging in leisurely activities such as feasting, country outing or attending parties in sumptuous stately manors or idyllic natural landscapes. The exhibition will be divided into six different sections: “Phantasy”, “‘After’ Series”, “the Royal”, “Interior Scene”, “Fête Galante” and “Social Portraiture”, exploring major themes and scenarios the artist constantly returns to.



Green Bathroom, 2023, acrylic on canvas
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech


Taking a keen interest in the European art and aesthetics of the 18th century such as the Rococo style and the English “conversation piece”, Figgis reinterpreted and reimagined famous paintings by the Old Masters, such as Fragonard, Boucher, Gainsborough and Goya. The artist created what she refers to as the “cover versions” of their works with her signature swirling brushstroke and fluid pigment.



























Flower Sellers after Boucher, 2019, acrylic on canvas
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech


Working flat on low tables or the floor and pouring diluted acrylic paint on canvases, Figgis lets gravity play as much role as her brush does. She enjoys immersing herself in the process with unpredictable outcomes dictated by chance. As a result, her work straddles between figuration and abstraction, in which colors mingle and forms dissolve into each other. With blurring body contours melting into exuberantly painted backgrounds where swaths of paint dribble and flow, they reveal the experimental nature of the artist's creative process.



Halloween Nuts, 2022, acrylic on canvas
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech


In Figgis’ work, the characters appear as phantom or clown-like creatures whose deformed visages and twisted expressions exude an air of psychedelic humor, creating a mysterious ambience reminiscent of Gothic literature which the artist has been particularly fond of. As if seen through the surface of rippling water, her lavish scenes with their distorted forms reveal an ethereal unreality, like a mirage or dream about to dissipate into air. Figgis’ work oscillates between fantasy and grotesque, absurdity and horror, homage and subversion.



Cult (Large), 2015, acrylic on canvas
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech
Photo: Rebecca Fanuele


Though painting has always been part of her life, Figgis chose an unconventional path of starting her family first as mother and wife before fully settling into the art world. The artist received recognition initially through social media and since then, her work has reached a wider audience and has been exhibited internationally.


About the Artist


Portrait of Genieve Figgis, 2021
© Genieve Figgis, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech
Photo: Doreen Kilfeather

Genieve Figgis was born in 1972 in Dublin, Ireland and currently lives and works in County Wicklow, Ireland. She received an MFA from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2012. Figgis’ work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and projects in art institutions such as MoMu, Antwerp; Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin; National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; Consortium Museum, Dijon, France; Aishti Foundation, Lebanon; and the Met Opera, New York City, NY. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, US; Aishti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, USA; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA and so on.



Click here to read “An Interview with Genieve Figgis”



M WOODS Museum is a registered nonprofit museum in China, with two venues:




木木美术馆798馆 
M WOODS 798

北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路2号798艺术区,D-06
798 Art Zone D-06,
No.2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing




木木美术馆人民公园馆
M WOODS CHENGDU

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Chengdu, Sichuan



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