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THERE IS ONLY ONE CATCH AND THAT IS CATCH-22
A project curated by Blanca de la Torre

May 15th – June 28th, 2015.
Opening Reception: FRIDAY May 15th from 7pm to 10pm.

Y GALLERY is pleased to present “There is Only One Catch and that is Catch 22 ”,a group show curated by Blanca de la Torre at Y Gallery. It will be the first exhibition at Y Gallery’s new space in the Lower East Side in the fifth floor of a historical building located in 319 Grand St. NY 10002.* This exhibition features the work of seventeen international artists, and will be comprised of drawing, photography, video, installation, sculpture and mixed media works by:

Artemio, Greta Alfaro, Alberto Borea, Juanli Carrión, Danilo Correale, Chueca, Leonardo Herrera, Christian Jankowsky, Enrique Jezik, Ximena Labra, Antonio Vega Macotela, Detext (Raúl Martínez), Kate Newby, Alejandra Prieto, Wilfredo Prieto, Avelino Salas and Joaquín Segura

About  “There Is Only One Catch and That Is Catch 22”

Participation in the present moment implies the tacit adherence to a cult of certain contradictions. This is a world of crossed messages, symbolic traffic, and sudden transformations in which it becomes clear that there is no idea of “sense,” beyond that present in the multiple nature of this concept.

This is an exhibition that takes this basic problem as a point of departure. Catch 22 is a logic trap initially suggested by Joseph Heller in his eponymous novel published in 1961. Set during the II World War the novel develops this idea but in close relation to the operating area of ​​military bureaucracy, strict and absurd at the same time. The term later became part of the English vocabulary because of its accuracy to refer to certain unsolvable puzzles in which the only way out is denied by an inherent fact of the problem itself. Furthermore this impossible scenario appeals broadly to current circumstances such as arbitrary political decisions, militarism, and absurd bureaucracies worldwide.

The artists included in this exhibition provide works that connect to different explorations of what is considered a biconditional tautology. The works outline different vanishing points, either referring to military and political connotations of this construct; or to that section of invisibility of certain processes or social situations, as well as the efforts to maintain that invisibility.

On the other hand, the technique chosen by each artist plays a key role in representing this paradox by operating as a dialectical device that allows us to enter the circuit where the intractable political liability inherent to the material sets its own speech and takes us into the eternal dilemma of the concept before or after its formal resolution. Thus, the works venture into a double connection with the Catch-22: the conceptual approach of them, together with the hoop stress and the disorder between the material and the concept represented, which also canceled its value in use and intensifies the fetish of merchandise.

– Blanca de la Torre, 2015

Artists in this exhibition: Alberto Borea, Alejandra Prieto, Antonio Vega Macotela, Artemio, Avelino Sala, Christian Jankowski, Chueca, Danilo Correale, DETEXT, Enrique Ježik, Greta Alfaro, Joaquín Segura, Juanli Carrión, Kate Newby, Leonardo Herrera, Wilfredo Prieto, Ximena Labra

at our NEW SPACE

319 Grand St 5th floor
New York, NY 10002

www.ygallerynewyork.com

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The work by Karyn Olivier is playful yet unsettling at the same time.  The attraction to object or site, altered with an acute sense of humour or timing.  The ease of her works to create thoughts with from their first impression is incredible.  Maybe its just me and the area of interest Olivier operates within is somehow on a similar wavelength as my own thoughts.  Yet I feel it is also a sign of an artist who is intone, adept at knowing balance, able to strip a work back and not to make something look like its trying but instead for the work to operate on its own.  I am interested to see future projects that stem from Oliviers’ practice.  Click here to see more work on her webiste.

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Re:post from Hyperallergic, written by Thomas Micchelli on August 16, 2014

The exhibition takes its title from a poem by Susan Howe, and its subject is aphasia, described in the gallery’s press release as “a cognitive disorder causing an inability to understand or produce speech.” The curatorial intention, drawing on concepts developed by the Russian-American linguist and scholar Roman Jakobson, is to present aphasia “as a cypher with metaphoric and metonymic implications.”

An intriguing concept: how to create an art exhibition about the inability to communicate? That is what curator Rachel Valinsky has set out to do in Itself Not So, the current group show at Lisa Cooley on the Lower East Side, and for the most part, her selections neatly vault past the inherent paradox of the proposition.

Typically (though not necessarily) caused by a stroke, aphasia ranges in severity from an inability to find the correct words for things to the complete loss of the capacity to use or comprehend language, whether spoken, written or signed. At the same time, it does not interfere with the patient’s mental faculties, which only increases the frustration of those suffering from the disorder.

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The exhibition, according to the gallery statement, has assembled a selection of artworks that “taken together, form a polyphonic response to the fundamental rupture between thought and expression that aphasia engenders.”

The metaphoric implications of aphasia’s “fundamental rupture between thought and expression” can be readily applied to the creative process, where the rupture between subject and form, idea and object, can often feel unbridgeable — and yet the connection must be made if the artwork is to hold together. And so how does one develop such a concept in the context of an exhibition? The curator’s answer is evidently to present works in which deliberate omissions and obfuscations are major components, as if they are confronting us with their own unmaking.

This idea is at its most conspicuous in a work like Michael Dean’s “Analogue Series (tongue) On the pronunciation of the letter L” (2014), which features a straight-back chair with a black (aphasic?) tongue in the place of one of its four legs, rendering it unusable. In a piece by Ryan Gander, which bears the impossibly long title, “Associative Template # 23 – (And all that chatter around your career) *Debit and Credit by Dan Fox, first published in Frieze, Issue 119, Nov-Dec 2008” (2009), aphasia’s gaps in comprehension are suggested by the holes left in a large, handprinted photograph from which sizable sections have been laser-cut and placed on the floor beneath it.

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The sensation of halting, unclear thoughts is visualized to striking effect in Fia Backström’s “An-alpha/pet-isms…” (2014), an installation consisting of sheets of clear vinyl film hanging from five standing steel frames, upon which letters of the alphabet float like obscured, distorted ghosts amid inky clouds, blurs and blots.

And there is “I Hate” (2007), a hi-def video by Imogen Stidworthy that focuses on a middle-aged man, presumably afflicted with aphasia, and his attempts to try and speak. All of these works walk the tightrope between clarity and unintelligibility in ways that are by turns visceral, heady, sensuous and whimsical.

The reason behind including some of the other works in the show is not as clear-cut, but that makes them no less engaging. There’s artist/musician Ben Vida’s “Slipping Control (pink/green/blue)” (2013-2014), an elegantly designed triptych comprised of three framed digital prints employing patterns of letters laid out in the spaces between pink, green and blue rectangles. The work is the basis for a vocal piece performed by the artist, whose repetitive, percussive soundings could be likened to aphasic stammering, but without the loss of control experienced by the patient.

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Rick Myers’s “Either side of the eye” (2010) offers two steel squares covered in lubricating flake graphite, one featuring a concave depression and the other with a matching convex protrusion. A quick glance can fool the eye as to which is which, but such visual ambiguity doesn’t seem to touch on the communicational handicaps stemming from the disorder.

Another work by Myers, “Study with BEFORE following AFTER” (2010), more successfully conveys the idea of expression held captive. The piece couldn’t be simpler — five black, vertical bands running the length of a narrow sheet of paper — but there is something compellingly dense, even layered about it. It is tempting to think that this impression is related to the work’s materials and process, which are described on the checklist as “Alcohol sealed sooted paper with etched soundwaves of the words AFTER, BEFORE, AFTER, having been spoken aloud and transcribed using a phonautograph.”

There are two other abstractions in the show, both by James Hoff, though they look like the work of two different artists. “Concept Virus #1” (2013), in enamel on aluminum, looks like hyper-pixelated video snow, while “Stuxnet No. 5” (2014), a red, white, blue and black Chromalux transfer on aluminum, is a Gerhard Richter-like smear of color. Neither seems to fit under the exhibition’s umbrella, which is also true of a conceptual piece by Julien Bismuth called “A train of thought” (2011), consisting of four sticks painted different colors on each of their four sides. In the notes for this work we are told, “The sticks are rotated daily so as to go through all 24 permutations of the four-color sequence.” Perhaps the piece’s daily evolution is meant to correspond with the slow, frustrating grind of rehabilitative therapy?

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According to its wall text, another conceptual work, Research Services’ “If You’re Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me” (2014), takes the subject of aphasia “as a social phenomenon triangulated by politics, aesthetics, and technology.” The artists, soliciting phone numbers from the viewing public, plan to interview participants via “robotic avatars” and broadcast the conversations in the gallery.

The exhibition’s remaining pieces, all text-based, perhaps have the most tenuous connection to aphasia, but they point in some interesting directions. Sophia Le Fraga’s video, “W8ING” (2014), consists of scrolling cellphone text messages chockablock with abbreviations and emoticons — which, in their disuse of language, may or may not be signs of aphasia. “W8ING” is supposedly a riff on Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, at least according to Karen Rosenberg’s review in yesterday’s New York Times, but the triteness of the dialogue makes the connection murky at best. (Le Fraga’s other video, “TH3 B4LD 5OPRANO; or, English Made Easy,” 2014, apparently applies the same treatment to Eugène Ionesco, but the piece was not available the afternoon I visited the gallery.)

Both Sue Tompkins and Christopher Knowles use typewriters to create their works. Tompkins’ handsome, 18-part “The Lost Weekend” (2014) runs in a horizontal line across two sides of a corner of the room. Incorporating typewritten designs and enigmatic phrases on letter-size sheets of newsprint, the piece’s mystery-shrouded words could be considered stand-ins for the confusion over precise meanings that aphasia can cause.

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Knowles, who received a diagnosis of autism when he was a child and came into prominence at the age of 17 when his poetry was included in the libretto for Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach(1976), has contributed two of his pattern-based, black-and-red typewriter pieces, “Designs” and “Butterfly Blocks,” both from the 1980s. At the top of “Designs,” he has repeated the words “black” and “red” in their corresponding colors. The self-evident meaning of those marks, which soon give way to complex streams and patterns of a single letter — the lowercase “c” — embodies a poignant literalism in search of human connection. There is no abstraction, no chance of a mistake: red is red and black is black, a simple truth that marks the first step in the stairwell toward a sense of surety and understanding.

The poets Susan Howe and Aram Saroyan employ their own poetry as works of art in very different, very potent ways. Howe uses another obsolete technology, letterpress, to create drifting, squeezed and fragmented shapes out of excerpts from her poems; we don’t know what to respond to first, the elegance of the designs or the music of the words (some of which are illegible). But this is an instance of neither/nor — the physical beauty of the objects creates a doubled meaning, with each element dependent upon and inseparable from the other.

Aram Saroyan, a pioneer of Minimalist poetry, is showing “Lighght” (1989), the yellow-on-white silkscreen he made from his famous (or, for some, notorious) one-word poem, “lighght,” which was first published in 1965. Like the orders of significance in the pieces by Knowles and Howe, the image in Saroyan’s print is suspended between, and compounded by, what constitutes a word and the indefinable visual resonances carried by its semiotic representation. These poets, rather than falling into the rupture between thought and expression, bring to their visual works an understanding of the limits of language and the tools — from the metrical to the symbolic to the typographic — needed to traverse them. To make art out of their poems is just another step along the continuum.

Itself Not So continues at Lisa Cooley (107 Norfolk Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) through August 29.

Having spent most of my 20’s in the mountains teaching and snowboarding.  I am often asked why I do not make work about my time in the mountains.  I hesitate to say never but rather see it as an obvious response to my life so far and could mean I only address experiences that have been.  Whilst working deeper I guess artwork is more like therapy working with ideas that are past the obvious and everyday and have less definitive conclusions.  However though I do not make works about the mountains I am intrigued when I see other artists work within this geography.  Currently Olivo Barbieri has an exhibition opening in New York at YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY.  This exhibition presents aerial photographs of climbers in the Alps.  These otherworldly photographs provide a different perspective, portraying the miniature scale of the individuals against the vast size of the Alps.

Olivo Barbieri: Alps – Geographies and People

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Olivos’ choice of palette  increases the viewers experience of these images.

The subject of ʻAlps – Geographies and Peopleʼ is how the mountain is perceived from the climbersʼ point of view – its peaks and precipices, the mirages and hallucinations in its geography. In these images, everything is true. The proportions and the forms are real. Even the people and the position theyʼre in…those, too, are real.” Olivo Barbieri

Barbieris’ use of photography to capture the different spaces is unique.  Looking at other projects expands on Barbieris’ selection process through the lens and editing.  Works below are from Cities creates new understandings of urban spaces and draws a nice link between the naturals environment and the urban sprawl.  By using the same medium but highlighting various parts of those landscapes can magnify out existence within.
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Bringing me back to how my time spent working out doors and to another extent travelling could impact on my practice.  It is interesting that Barbieri links places that I have been and my working life have taken me to.  Another artist who also brings similar questions to the table is Alex Hartley and his climbing routes specifically his LA Climbs book.

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It is motivating and reassuring to see artists combining their outdoor knowledge and passion within their practice.  I guess I will continue to not rule out working within the mountains I spend so much of my time.  It will probably happen when I am not aware or when a period of research leads me there.

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Early on when I started this blog I was inspired by a narrow house designed by the Polish architect Etgar Keret.  Recently this narrow house by Japanese Fujiwaramuro Architects (read Huh Magazines article here).  These thin houses that seem to be occurring through a desire to make use of vacant lots and avoid paying for expensive plots of land.  These house seem to inspire an inner drive to utilise spaces, even when others would pass them by for being inadequate, these spaces require architects to evaluate different forms of living.  It also makes me think of Gordon Matta-Clarks’ work Fake Estates.  His purchase of small unusable lots with NYC creating a portfolio of fifteen properties.  Some of these were inaccessible sites yet just by ownership these sites became of value.  These buildings and Matta-Clarks work feed by interest in disremebered sites and not just their loss of use but positive uses or applications of these sites.

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Gordon Matta-Clark Images taken from Cabinet Magazine click here to read the article