Sunday, February 13, 2011
My most recent artist statement detailing the beginnings of the installation I have planned:
For my thesis, I propose a gallery installation composed of deftly integrated objects that mimic functional hardware used in the gallery space. The altered hardware will morph into bodily shapes, textures and groupings, highlighting the similarity between the corporeal body and the built environment.
The planned installation will be a continuation of my investigation on the nature of the body and its boundaries.
The gallery is a temple constructed to take us out of time and place, to make us forget, if only momentarily, that our bodies are in a continual state of decay. But if death is the absence of life, a stillness of mind and body never realized in the process of living, then it is in the process of dying that one is most alive; it is in the throes of death that entropy is most apparent. The finely crafted façade of the gallery presents us with an idealized death; a death free of entropy. Within the white walls of the gallery lies the inevitability of change. Paint chips, baseboards curl, revealing the subtle wounds inflicted by time. My thesis work resurrects the dead body of the gallery, to present this fictive space as a dying body, struggling against and yet ultimately succumbing to decay, mimicking the state of our corporeal bodies. Functional hardware of the gallery is altered, evolving into a state of dysfunction; outlet covers stretch, fold and slump like a swelling waistline. Plug tines wilt, replaced by new growth that imitates their transformed outlets. The gallery space is morphed to reflect the function and dysfunction of our lived bodies. Its unsullied trappings are peeled back in a tragic, melancholy celebration of the beauty of life as it races toward its own un-becoming.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Last week, I was graciously permitted a few hours alone in the Chandler Gallery. I spent it taking photos, messing with the lights and jotting down notes, trying to find ways to respond to a space that I will not be allowed to change in any way-- putting holes in the walls is not permitted, the use of adhesives is questionable, and anything hung from the ceiling must be less than 15 lbs. I then jetted off to balmy Boston for the weekend, taking along with me a mounting sense of panic at the task I had set myself.
But in considering my notes and looking at my pictures, I realized that significant opportunities lie in the architecture of the space; in its redundancies, points of connection, and openings. Cracks in the baseboards, chips in the paint, five stray nails resiliently clinging to the floor in a far corner like moss growing in the cracks of a city sidewalk. A group of 20 light switches on one wall, and 10 outlets spread out along the walls and columns.
Despite the general desire of curators the world over to cut off their white cubes from the realities of the outside world, we are given clues into the life of the Chandler Gallery and we are able to relate the gallery to other, more habitable spaces we encounter in everyday life.
For the last few days, I have been concentrating my efforts on creating slightly mutated outlets and plugs for installation into the space. This will be part of a larger installation encompassing the entire space. It will make use of the outlets already in the space, as well as adding around 50 more. Most of these outlets will be connected to one another via long cords (either black or white) that plug into both outlets. Some plugs will be unplugged, revealing both the altered plug and the altered outlet. Some of the altered found objects will be subtle, just different enough that their mass production seems possible. Others will be more obviously altered, as if the hardware has taken on a life of its own, evolving according to an ambiguous set of rules.
While this may seem to be a large departure from my previous ideas for my thesis show, I firmly believe that this is a more natural extension of my original idea to define, penetrate, expose and interrogate the boundaries of the body. I have consistently tried to bring a bodily aesthetic to my work, but in the last few weeks I have come to realize that the body is already present in the space. I don't need to bring the body to the work; the space IS the body.
We require predictibility from our spaces- a changlessness that we cannot find in our daily lives. when the spaces we inhabit fail to fulfill our demand for order, we are left faced with the harsh realities of the exterior world, whose lack of order is beyond our control.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I've been trying to incorporate the idea of place, of site related-ness into my thesis work. Using the logic of the space and confounding it, hopefully resulting in a strange, gradually arresting experience for the audience. I'm thinking of adding more light switches and outlets to the the space, remaking them in a dysfunctional way, while suggesting the possibility of function and possible evolution.
But I'm still not comfortable calling what I'm doing Art. Maybe, just maybe art, but certainly not Art. Part of this reasoning comes from, as I began to understand in London, the deep-seated feelings I have regarding gentle observations. Many artists today use Selection and Choice as their primary tools. Gabriel Orozco's photographs are a perfect example, as are his Yogurt Caps. (See below, Crazy Tourist, 1991).
Akin to the casual style of the above Orozco work is that of Neil Drabble. I saw a show of his work at the GOODEN Gallery in London. It was called The Great Masturbator on Holiday, and was filled with small, impromptu pieces created during the artist's recent vacation, using only materials on hand.